Queen Rania visits the Technical Institute of the Holy Family in Brugge

May 19, 2016

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Brugge) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah visited the Technical Institute of the Holy Family on Thursday, while accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah II on a state visit to Belgium, focused on strengthening ties between the two countries.

Belgium’s Queen Mathilde joined Queen Rania at the institute situated in Brugge, the capital of the Flemish region of Belgium.

The Institute, which is one of the Catholic schools in Flanders, is a school for vocational, technical, art and basic Dutch language education for pupils who have newly arrived in Belgium, including immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

In a meeting with the Flemish Minister of Education Ms. Jilde Crevits and institute faculty, Principal Mr. Erik Kempinck briefed Their Majesties on the school’s reception class for newcomers, OKAN. The goal of the OKAN education program is to integrate non-Dutch speaking students into the Belgian school system.

Her Majesty Queen Rania attended part of an ongoing lesson at the library, where she met with refugee students from Syria, Iraq and Libya.  She also dropped by several other classrooms, where hairdressing, ceramics, and kitchen training lessons were being taught.

Of the Institute’s 1,320 students, 76 are enrolled in the newcomers’ reception classes, which last for up to one academic year. Most come from Syria, Afghanistan, Nepal, Romania, and Italy, and receive 26 Dutch language lessons each week, in addition to their vocational and technical training.

After visiting the institute, Her Majesty joined Queen Mathilde on a guided bus tour of the old part of the city of Brugge. They also visited the Sint Jans Museum, where the Hans Memling art collection is displayed.