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Abstract

Schematically one can distinguish two traditions related to ethnic statistics in Europe. In France, Germany and most southern European countries, the dominant statistical categorisations merely distinguish individuals on the basis of their nationality. In contrast, most northern European countries have been producing data on the ethnic and/or foreign origin of their populations. Belgium is caught somewhere in between these two traditions. The French speaking part of Belgium tends to follow the French tradition of refusing ethnic categorisation, while the Flemish try to copy the Dutch model in distinguishing “allochthones” and “autochthones.” This contribution offers an analysis of the construction of ethnic categories as it has been undertaken in the Dutch context and (partially) imported in Belgium.