Flemish Names for Grandmother and Grandfather

Learn More About Flemish Family Life and Flemish Culture

Flemish grandmother and grandson
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The most common Flemish name for grandmother is bomma along with bompa for grandfather. Some Flemish use oma, along with opa for grandfather, as do other Dutch and German neighbors. Ending with an "i" instead of an "a" is a common variation, creating bommi, bompi, omi, and opi. 

Flemish, one of the three official languages of Belgium, is spoken primarily in Flanders, the northern part of the country. Flemish is very similar to Dutch, it is considered a dialect, and is sometimes called Belgian Dutch or Flemish Dutch. The other two official languages spoken in Belgium include French and German.

More Variations on Grandmother

A number of other ethnic names for grandmothers are used by the Flemish. Some of these include mémé/pépé, mammie/pappie, moemoe/vava, and moeke/vake.

The Flemish language does not have specialized terms that differentiate between maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents like some other languages. Flemish speakers sometimes choose different terms to help their children distinguish between the different sets of grandparents, for instance, the grandparent's last name may be appended to his or her grandparent name.

Flemish Family Life

Belgium is a small country. It is smaller than West Virginia. Many Flemish, or Flemings, continue to live near where they grew up, making it easy for them to stay connected with grandparents and other extended family members. Although young people are expected to respect their elders, the extended family is not as exalted in the Flemish culture as in some other cultures. The basic family unit is nuclear. Many young adults continue to live with their parents. Most elderly Flemings live in retirement communities or facilities for the aged rather than being cared for by family members.

More About the Flemish Language

Flemish refers to the region, culture, people, and language of North Belgium or Flanders. The land area of Flanders is slightly bigger than Rhode Island in the U.S. Within Flanders, there are four principal Flemish dialects: Brabantian, East Flemish, West Flemish, and Limburgish. 

Dutch is a West Germanic language. After English and German, it is the third most widely spoken Germanic language. It is closely related to English.

More About the Flemish Region and Culture

Belgium is home to two primary groups. Flemish in the North, and the Walloons, who live mostly in southern Belgium and speak French. Conflict and competition were once quite fierce between the French part of the country and Flanders, but that has died down in recent years. A third group, the German speakers, live primarily in the northeast, but this group is very small compared to the other two.

The Flemish are known for lace-making, glass-blowing, and pottery-making. There is a rich artistic tradition going back to the Flemish masters—Rubens, Hieronymus Bosch, the Bruegels, and others. Flemings enjoy hosting art and folk festivals. Puppets, street theater, and song enliven folk celebrations, and celebrants create giant paper-mache characters. The Flemish are also enthusiastic participants in the tradition of Carnival.

Most Flemish people are nominally Catholic, although most are non-observant. Still, major life events are celebrated with religious rituals.