Croatian diaspora in Belgium and Luxembourg
The Croatian community in the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has more than 8,000 immigrants including their descendants (in Belgium around 6000, and in Luxembourg 2,000).
Croatian expatriates are more numerous in the Walloon part of Belgium (as a result of their arrival to the mining and metallurgical industry sectors between two world wars, especially in the towns of Liege and Mons. In Flanders (including Brussels), there are significantly less Croats (between 1.000 and 2.000). The first settlers were mostly uneducated immigrants doing menial jobs. The second and the third generations of Croats acquired higher education, and the fourth almost completely assimilated. A large number of them have college degree and enjoy respect in their communities.
Croats living in Luxembourg came mainly came from Lika and Kordun, and it is not rare to come across fifty people of Croat descent with the same family name.
Status of Croats in Belgium and Luxembourg
Some special laws on the rights and obligations of immigrants do not exist. Foreign nationals are entitled to same labor laws and enjoy same social treatment as the citizens of the host country. There are certain laws regulating immigration, admission to citizenship, permanent residence, temporary residence and asylum.
Belgian citizenship can be acquired after residing in the country for at least three years. Belgium allows its citizens dual citizenship.
Luxembourg citizenship can be acquired after residing in the country for at least seven years, with the acquired skill to use the language of Luxembourg. Luxembourg allows its citizens dual citizenship.
Croatian Association and the Catholic Mission
Four Croat associations in Belgium can be singled out: the Croatian World Congress, Belgium and Belcro in Liege (http://users.teledisnet.be/web/nno17565), the Croatian cultural and sport society "Croatia" in Antwerp, and the Flemish -Croatian Friendship Society in Antwerp, as well as the Croatian Society Luxembourg. In Belgium there are two Croatian Catholic Missions; in Brussels and Liege. There is also one in Luxembourg.
Classes and programs in the Croatian language
Croatian language classes in Belgium and Luxembourg are the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia. Classes are attended by approximately 120 students who are tutored by two teachers. In Belgium, classes are given in Brussels, Antwerp and Liege, and in Luxembourg at the Cultural Center of Esch.
There are also exchange programs in the Croatian language and literature, which is in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia, namely the Belgium “SAME-HEB,” the Institute of Translation and Translators, located in Brussels.