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Flemish can refer to Belgian Dutch, the national variety of the Dutch language as spoken in Belgium, be it standard (as used in schools, government and the media) or informal (as used in daily speech, "tussentaal "); Nevertheless, the use of Flemish to refer to the official language in Flanders is erroneous. The only official language in Flanders is Dutch.
The Flemish speak numerous dialects of Flemish Dutch, called Vlaams, which is distinct from the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands.
Regional dialect differences are characterized by vowel and consonant changes, distinct word differences, and unique expressions that refer metaphorically to regional history.
An identification of language use with culture is not possible; however, French-speaking Flemish in both France and Belgium retain traits specific to Flemish culture. In France, where the use of regional dialects has been actively discouraged and proscribed in the schools, the Flemish have developed an ethnic political movement that emphasizes the use of the Flemish language at home, practice of Flemish art forms, and training in traditional industrial skills and work patterns.