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(wŏlo͞onz`), group of people living in S Belgium who traditionally spoke a dialect of French called Walloon, but who today for the most part speak standard French. The Walloons, numbering some 3.5 million, reside mostly in the provinces of Hainaut, Liège, Namur, Luxembourg, and Walloon Brabant, in contrast to the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the northern provinces. The movement for reviving Walloon literature centered in Liège in the 19th cent.; today the language is considered moribund. The periodical Wallonie had considerable influence. Since medieval times the economic and social background of the Walloons has differed radically from that of the Flemings, and the cleavage became even more pronounced with the Industrial Revolution. The Walloon part of Belgium contains major mining areas and heavy industries, while the Flemings engage mainly in agriculture, manufacturing (particularly textiles), and shipping. Tension between Walloons and Flemings has long been a critical political issue. In 1970 a plan was approved that recognized the cultural autonomy of Belgium's three national communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemings of the north, the French-speaking Walloons of the south, and bilingual Brussels. The name Walloons was also applied to Huguenot refugees in America by the Dutch, who made no distinction between French and Walloon Protestants.


See H. H. Turney-High, Château-Gerard; the Life and Times of a Walloon Village (1953).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a people that make up about half of the population of Belgium. The Walloons number more than 4 million people (according to the 1970 census). They live in the provinces of Hainaut, Namur, and Liège, as well as in Luxembourg and in the departments of Nord and Ardennes in northeastern France. They speak the Walloon dialect of the French language. Religious Walloons are Catholic. Walloons are descendants of Belgic Celtic tribes, and since the first century A.D. they have undergone strong romanization and felt some influence from Germanic tribes, particularly the Franks. In terms of their language and ethnographic characteristics (for example, dress and living quarters), they are noticeably distinct from the Flemings who live in the same country. The majority of Walloons are employed in industry (mainly as workers), and in southern Belgium (Ardennes) they also raise livestock.


Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Where the UK has national newspapers, the Flemish and Wallonians tend to read different papers in different languages.
However, monolingualism in Wallonian or Flemish schools only refers to the language of instruction, not to the background of the pupils.
A second Belgian business group organized by the Wallonian Business Union (UWE) also visited Cuba and toured its eastern nickel mining region to explore trade opportunities.
RW (Rassemblement Wallon), the most successful Wallonian party, competed (at times in association with the FDF) during the 1970s, but has since disappeared as an electoral force.
The three major parties in Belgium tacitly agreed to avoid conflict over ethnic issues and to include Flemish and Wallonian representatives in all government cabinets.
The Flemish and Wallonian regional councils and their executives were given a limited responsibility in economic policy.
The dominant Wallonian Socialist Party advocates a fusion of regional and community responsibilities within the French language area, akin to the territorial fusion already operating in Flanders, where region and community are effectively governed as a single entity.
The relationship between Articles 30 and 36 and environmental protection arose again in the Wallonian Waste case.(21) The case dealt with a decree issued by the Walloon Regional Executive prohibiting the storage, tipping or dumping of waste in the Belgian Region of Wallonia.
In the list were included the names of three entirely imaginary nationalities: Danirean, Pirenean, Wallonian. It was found that on the average there was as much prejudice directed against the "none-such" groups as against any other.
He said the Canadian trade deal with the EU took seven years to negotiate and "got stuck in the Wallonian parliament".
The Wallonian authorities are no longer in the Commission's bad books as they now state that natural stone from other countries can be used for public works.
There he joined Belgian collaborator Leon Degrelle's SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadierdivision-Wallonie (SS Wallonian Volunteer Grenadier Division) in November 1944.