“Brussels is a complex city. In 2017, our city gathered 179 different nationalities. 414,139 foreigners out of a total population of 1,191,604 people. More than one out of three inhabitants is not Belgian. We wanted to understand how these different communities coexist” explained António Buscardini, the journalist and author of the reportage.
One of the driving forces behind the reportage is BNP Paribas Fortis, represented by Salvatore Orlando, an Italian expat who is in charge of the expat services within the bank.
“Expats play a critical role in Brussels. I know that being an expat in a new country can be difficult. That’s why we conducted a unique campaign, in 17 languages, to welcome them under the slogan “In a changing world, expats feel at home right at away”. This reportage gives a clear overview of what the expat life truly looks like in Brussels”.
Various people and organisations contributed to the reportage, including Huawei Brussels, WeLoveBrussels, Ginette Bar, Vote Brussels, and the Commune of Ixelles, through its new Mayor Christos Doulkeridis. “Ixelles is emblematic of Brussels’ spirit. We are a commune that welcomes more than 100 nationalities from all backgrounds. For me, Ixelles is the ghetto of nobody. Everybody feels welcomed here,” said Ixelles’ new Bourgmestre.
Vote Brussels played an important role in convincing non-Belgians to engage in local politics. Last October 14, 2018 they managed to convince thousands of expats to vote for the first time in the communal elections.
“Myths around elections persist and dissuade people from registering. According to 2013 and 2018 online surveys, the low registration rate is mainly due to the fact that non-Belgians do not receive the correct information in time. And that’s what we tried to change by raising awareness and fighting the myths that prevented non-Belgians from voting,” stressed Thomas Huddleston, Coordinator of Vote Brussels.
The full episode can be watched in this link