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Belgium & Belgian Collections at the Library of Congress


French is one of the most prevalent languages in Europe, along with English, German, and Italian. French is not only considered an official language of the European Union, but it also has a higher status as a “procedural language.” Aside from France, French is an official language in Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, and Luxembourg. It is important to observe that the language is not uniformly spoken in Switzerland and Belgium. In Belgium, French is mostly spoken in the southeast region of Wallonia and in Brussels, an international city for business and European politics. Dutch is the mother tongue for most Belgians in the northern region of Flanders. In Switzerland, French is the main language of Romandy, the western part of the country bordering France. Geneva, the major city on the French-speaking side, is a global financial center and hub for international organizations like the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Contrary to popular belief, France is not the only producer of French-language literature in Europe. Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg all have their own respective literary scenes. Authors like Germaine de Staël and Georges Simenon are already commonplace names in the Francophone world. And writers like Adeline Dieudonné and Amélie Nothomb have continued to pave the way for female writers in Belgium and establish their legacies over the past couple of decades. Some important themes from the list below include gender identity, feminism, sisterhood, sexuality, and love.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional digitized versions are included when available.