Flanders is located on the crossroads of three cultures: the Germanic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon. As a result of this realization, Flemish people easily allow foreign influences, both at cultural, culinary, social and professional levels. Many expatriates think living and working in Flanders is a luxury and they enjoy the openness and accessibility of Flanders and its inhabitants. More than 5% of Flanders’ inhabitants are foreigners holding more than 50 different nationalities.
Flemings are polyglots. This is chiefly due to the quality of the Flemish educational system. The system prepares young people to perform optimally in a quickly changing and increasingly internationally focused society. The excellent reputation of Flemish education is justified and is confirmed by the results of the PISA research project. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA, an OECD initiative) measures the reading skills, the problem-solving capacity and mathematical and scientific knowledge of 15-year-olds. Flemish students obtain one of the best scores in mathematical literacy. Flemish students also speak more languages than their peers in other countries. Pupils from the second and third stages of general secondary education speak 2.5 languages on average, while pupils from other countries of the European Union speak 1.5 languages on average.
Flanders is known for its high-quality and extensive welfare services and health facilities. The excellently organised social security system has more than once served as a model for other countries. It indeed contributes to the poverty risk in Flanders being one of the lowest in Europe. Moreover, as a result of the combination with sufficient, well structured and affordable child care and schools, men and women find their place on the labour market. As a consequence, the standard of living in Flanders is one of the highest in Europe.