languages spoken in indonesia

Do you know that the Dutch language is spoken in Indonesia?

Do you know that the Dutch language is spoken in Indonesia?

(Last Updated On: June 29, 2023)

The colonial history of Indonesia

Indonesia has a long history of foreign rule, with the Dutch occupying the country for over 300 years. In the 17th century, the Dutch began to colonize Indonesia and established Dutch East India as a company. They brought their language and culture to the region, eventually known as the Dutch East Indies. Dutch speakers were the majority in Indonesia during this period, with English speakers and native Indonesian speakers being a minority. By the 19th century, the Dutch presence in Indonesia was solid, and many of its languages had been adopted by the region’s people. Dutch was widely spoken and the primary foreign language, while the native Indonesian language, Malay, was also popular. The Dutch also introduced their Latin alphabet to the region and taught it to many Indonesians, who then used it to write their native languages. The Indonesian independence movement of the 20th century saw a gradual shift away from the Dutch language. The movement sought to liberate the country from colonial rule. As part of this, Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language) was promoted as a national language to replace the Dutch language. This effort was successful; today, Indonesian is the nation’s official language. While Dutch is no longer an official language in Indonesia, it is still spoken by some people in some regions of the country. Many Indonesians have some knowledge of Dutch due to its historical presence in Indonesia, and it is also still used in East Timor, Sint Maarten, and other regions with ties to the Netherlands. Additionally, there are still Dutch people living in Indonesia today who speak the language as their mother tongue. However, Dutch is no longer considered a popular or common language in Indonesia, with most Indonesians speaking only Bahasa Indonesia.

indonesian languages

The Indonesian Independence movement

Indonesia was a Dutch colony for centuries, with the Dutch people significantly influencing the country’s culture and language. When Indonesia gained independence in 1945, the native Malay language became the country’s official language. However, it was still common for some Dutch people to remain in Indonesia and use the Dutch language as their primary language of communication. This caused Dutch to become an unofficial regional language. Although Dutch wasn’t widely spoken in Indonesia, it remained popular among specific communities. This is especially true among those living in Indonesia before the independence movement or those born to Dutch parents or grandparents. Today, there are still some native Dutch speakers residing in Indonesia, but the majority of them are either elderly or children who have been born to Dutch parents or grandparents. The Indonesian government has also tried to ensure that the Dutch language is not lost. For instance, they have established several institutions to help promote and maintain the use of Dutch as a regional language. Additionally, Dutch language classes are offered at some universities in Indonesia, allowing students to become fluent native speakers of the Germanic language.

indonesia language spoken

The Indonesian national language

Indonesia has a long and complex history. It comprises several provinces, each with its culture, customs, and language. After Indonesia’s independence in 1945, Indonesian became the nation’s official language. Indonesian is derived from the Malay language and is widespread across the archipelago. Although Indonesian is the primary language spoken in Indonesia, several other languages are widely used. In some areas, a Dutch Person might be able to communicate effectively in their native language. This is because of Indonesia’s long history of colonialism. The Dutch East India Company had a presence in the area since 1602, and Dutch was one of the most popular languages during this period. However, Dutch is not as widely spoken as it once was today. However, some Dutch words are still used in the Indonesian language. Additionally, many people who live in coastal areas still use Dutch words to communicate with fishermen and sailors.

Here you can get more information about the Dutch language and Indonesian.

The Dutch presence in Indonesia today

The Dutch established a presence in Indonesia in the early 1600s when the Dutch East India Company established trading posts throughout the area. For more than 300 years, the Dutch colonized Indonesia and influenced its culture and language. In 1945, following World War II, Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands. Today, the Dutch are still present in Indonesia, although the scope of their influence has changed drastically. The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian, with no official regional languages like Dutch or other native languages. However, Dutch still plays a vital role in some areas. Most Dutch-speaking people living in Indonesia today are descendants of Dutch settlers who remained in the country after it gained its independence. There are also people living in Indonesia who have been educated in Dutch schools or universities. Despite these small pockets of Dutch speakers, most Indonesians do not speak Dutch as their primary language. Instead, they communicate primarily in Indonesian or their local dialect. However, many Indonesians have some familiarity with Dutch through television and radio programs that broadcast in the language. As a result, some words and phrases from the Dutch language are commonly used in everyday conversations.

Is Dutch still spoken in Indonesia?

The answer is a resounding yes! The Dutch language is still spoken in Indonesia today. While the country’s colonial history has resulted in a strong presence of the Indonesian national language, Bahasa Indonesia, the influence of the Dutch language remains a significant part of the culture and language of Indonesia today. Though the Indonesian independence movement gained momentum after World War II, the Dutch influence remains, especially in parts of the country where Dutch settlers initially settled. Dutch was once a common language among the upper class, and it is still spoken by some people in certain areas. There are estimated to be around 300,000 speakers of Dutch in Indonesia. The primary reason Dutch is still spoken in Indonesia is the many Dutch expatriates living there. In addition, there are several Indonesian-Dutch individuals whose parents migrated to the Netherlands during the colonial period and who have kept their native language alive in the region.

Furthermore, Dutch is also taught in some schools in Indonesia, and a few organizations are dedicated to preserving and promoting the language. Overall, Dutch remains an integral part of Indonesian culture and language, even though it is not as widely spoken as it once was. It is still used in business dealings and other aspects of daily life, and its presence is a reminder of the colonial history of Indonesia and its close ties with the Netherlands.

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How did Dutch become a language in Indonesia?

The roots of the Dutch language in Indonesia can be traced back to the colonial presence in the region. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a trading outpost on Java in 1602 and colonized much of what is now known as Indonesia. The Dutch introduced their language and culture to the area during this period. While the government never officially adopted it, it gained widespread acceptance among the locals. The Dutch presence in Indonesia grew throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The VOC and its successor, the Dutch East Indies Company, introduced a system of government, commerce, and education based on their models. As part of this process, the Dutch language was taught in schools and gradually became a common language among the educated classes. Although the Indonesian independence movement saw a decline in Dutch influence over time, the language retained a foothold in the country. With the advent of modernization in Indonesia following World War II, Dutch was reintroduced as an official language for a brief period before being replaced by Bahasa Indonesia.
Today, Dutch is spoken by a small minority of Indonesians, primarily concentrated in pockets of communities where there are still vestiges of Dutch cultural influence. While Dutch is no longer an official language, it remains an integral part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage and is still spoken by many people in some areas.

Who speaks Dutch in Indonesia?

The Dutch language is still spoken in certain parts of Indonesia today. Though it is not a national language, it is said by a select group of Indonesians who trace their ancestry to the Netherlands, either from the colonial period or from more recent migration. Dutch remains in the country for several reasons, particularly in higher education and specific business sectors. Regarding formal education, many universities across Indonesia offer some instruction in Dutch. While it is not a widespread language taught in schools, many prestigious universities offer some Dutch classes. This includes the University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Airlangga University, and Brawijaya. In addition to universities, the Dutch language is used in specific business sectors. Many corporate offices and government agencies in Indonesia use the language for communication with foreign companies and customers.

Additionally, Dutch-owned companies based in Indonesia often use Dutch as their primary language of business. Finally, Dutch is still spoken in specific ethnic communities within Indonesia. Some Indonesian-Dutch citizens may speak Dutch at home or with friends and family. In addition, some ethnic Chinese people living in Indonesia may speak Dutch due to their shared history with the Netherlands during the colonial period. Nevertheless, the Dutch remain a presence in Indonesia today, albeit in a limited capacity. From universities to businesses to ethnic communities, there are still pockets of Dutch speakers throughout the country. Though it is not as widely used as Indonesian or English, it still plays a vital role in Indonesian culture and society.


Is it true that the Dutch language is spoken in Indonesia?

Yes, it is true. Dutch is one of the official languages of Indonesia, alongside Bahasa Indonesia, English, Chinese, and Arabic.

How did the Dutch language become an official language in Indonesia?

The Dutch colonized Indonesia for over 300 years, which led to the Dutch language being widely spoken and used in various official capacities.

Do many Indonesians still speak Dutch?

While Dutch is not as commonly spoken as Bahasa Indonesia or English, some Indonesians still speak Dutch fluently, particularly those with Dutch ancestry or who received Dutch education.

What kind of Dutch is spoken in Indonesia?

The Dutch spoken in Indonesia is often called “Bahasa Belanda” or “Nederlands-Indisch,” which has some unique vocabulary and grammar structures that differ from standard Dutch in the Netherlands.

Is learning Dutch helpful in traveling to Indonesia?

While learning Dutch to travel to Indonesia is unnecessary, it can help communicate with locals who speak Dutch or understand historical documents or monuments written in Dutch.

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