Croatian diaspora in Belgium and Luxembourg
Number of Croats in Belgium and Luxembourg and their immigration
The Croatian community in the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has around 10,000 immigrants and their descendants (in Belgium around 7,000, and in Luxembourg 3,000).
Historically there were three immigration waves from Croatia to this area. The first covers the time span of three quarters of 20th century and includes the people working in the mining and metallurgical industry sectors in Valonia and Luxembourg. The second was cuased by the war in the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 20s of the 20th century and it was dominated by Croatian people from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They settled in the area of Antwerp and mostly got the jobs in the port. The third wave occurred after the Republic of Croatia joined the EU and majority of people were employees of EU institutions in Brussells and Luxembourg and their families.
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 the same 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, but the requirement is the language competence. Luxembourg allows its citizens dual citizenship.
It is important to mention that the Republic of Croatia has concluded the Agreements on social security with Belgium and Luxembourg.
Croatian Associations and Catholic Missions
Some Croatian associations in Belgium can be singled out: the Croatian World Congress, Croatian culture society Brussels with the communication network „HRUBE“ – „Croats in Belgium“ (http://hrube.org/), the branch office of Matica Hrvatska Brussels, the Croatian culture and sport society "Croatia" in Antwerp, and the Flemish -Croatian Friendship Society in Antwerp. In Luxembourg there is the Croatian Society Luxembourg (www.hrvatska.lu).
There is one Croatian Catholic mission active in Belgium based in Brussels - Mission Catholique Croate and one in Luxembourg– HKM Luxembourg.
Croatian classes and courses of the Croatian language
Croatian language classes in Belgium and Luxembourg are the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia. Classes are attended by approximately 120 students who are tutored by two teachers. In Belgium, classes are organized in Brussels, Antwerp, Mons and Liege, and in Luxembourg at the premises of Cultural Center of Esch.
There are also exchange programs in the Croatian language and literature, within the competence of the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia, namely the Belgium “SAME-HEB,” the Institute of Translation and Translators, located in Brussels.