56.5% of the population in Brussels is of foreign origin. In 1961 it was barely 7.3%.
"That is an impressive and unique evolution in a European of even world perspective," according to sociologist Jan Hertogen.
According to his calculations, in 1991, 28.5% of the Brussels population was of foreign nationality, in addition to 4.5% naturalized or new Belgians. In 2005 the total number of foreigners stabilized on 26.3%, but the total number of new Belgians grew to 30.2%.
According to news reports yesterday, the "Fast-Belgian" law, which allows for naturalization after being in the country legally for seven years, allowed for 337,904 people to get Belgian citizenship till the end of 2006. The law came into effect May 1st, 2000. That's an average 4,277 a month.
In Flanders, 128,682 people got Belgian citizenship, with the following breakdown:
Antwerp - 32,580 new Belgians
Ghent - 13,395
Mechelen - 4,851
Sint-Niklaas - 2,029
Lokeren - 1,817
Brugge - 1,272
Dendermonde - 528
The Brussels Region has 114,583 new Belgians and Wallonia has 94,639.
Source: HLN 1, 2 (Dutch)
See also: Belgium: Vlaams Belang's lose accounted by immigrant vote