Languages in the Netherlands other than Dutch

languages in the Netherlands

Languages in the Netherlands other than Dutch

(Last Updated On: April 5, 2018)

The Netherlands is home to around 17 million people and although Dutch and English are probably the most spoken languages, there are other languages in the Netherlands, some of them being official languages as well (Frisian in the north of the Netherlands and Papiamento in the Caribbean).

When people ask a Dutch person where they come from they tell the Netherlands. Everybody is saying oh yes. But when you say Amsterdam, they all say, oh of course AMSTERDAM. When you tell you come from Holland they do not understand why Holland is the same as the Netherlands. As long as you tell them you are from the Netherlands, they understand and they know from which part.

Language spoken in the Netherlands

Dutch is a Low Franconian, West Germanic language that originated in the Early Middle Ages (c.470) and was later standardized in the 16th century. As most of the people use it, Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands. However, about 90 to 93% of its population can converse in English, 71% in German, 29% in French and 5% in Spanish.

what languages are spoken in the Netherlands

What languages are spoken in the Netherlands?

Dutch is the official language in Amsterdam and other places including Belgium, Aruba, Saint Maarten, Curaçao, and Suriname. But there are some other recognized languages in the Netherlands as listed below, therefore the need for translation services:

  • North of the Netherlands: Frisian is another official language in Friesland province. It’s spoken by about 453,000 people.
  • The Caribbean: In Saba and Saint Eustatius, English is their official language. A majority of schools use the English language mainly, with just a few bilingual English-Dutch schools. This is different from the schools in Amsterdam. Amsterdam recognizes English as the second official language after Dutch. People often use English in communicating, but when it comes to official meetings, publications, and administration, Dutch is used. Hence, most of primary and secondary schools use Dutch only. Although, there are bilingual schools also.

More languages in the Netherlands

  • Papiamento is also spoken on the Caribbean islands of the Netherlands, particularly on Saba and Saint Eustatius, and on St. Maarten, by immigrants from Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Papiamento is a Creole language containing elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, as well as Arawakan and African languages. It is spoken by about 330,000 people in Curaçao, Bonaire and Aruba, which were formerly known as the Netherlands Antilles.
  • According to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, some dialects of the Dutch Low Saxon are used in the Northeastern part of the Netherlands. These places recognize them as part of the country’s regional languages spoken by approximately 1,700,000 speakers.
  • In the Southeastern part of Netherlands, Limburg has another dialect called Limburgish which is also a Low Franconian dialect. It is used by about 800,000 speakers. However, current movements of recognizing Limburgish as their official language have not yet been fully successful. This is because Limburgish is made up of many different dialects which may share common features, but still quite different.
Language spoken in the Netherlands
What language is spoken in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is an international city with all nationalities live and meet each other. The number one language is of course Dutch but everybody also speak English.

Why is the language of the Netherlands or Holland called Dutch?

In Old English, Dutch simply meant “people or nation.” (This is why Germany is called Deutschland in German.) Over time, English-speaking people used the word Dutch to describe people from both the Netherlands and Germany. However, there are certain differences in culture and language but they have similarities.

Is Dutch and German the same language?

NO, they are not. There are similarities but there is a difference in spelling and pronunciation, although Dutch, German and English have the same root; West Germanic languages.

The Netherlands has a wide variety of speaking dialects. A lot of them are closely related to each other. For instance, both Limburgish and Low Saxon fit in the Dutch-German dialect continuum because they spread across the Dutch-German border. Besides these dialects, the Netherlands has a separate Sign Language, too. However, it is yet to be recognized. This language is called Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT) with roughly 17,000 users.

Although the Netherlands is mostly known for its flat landscape, its canals, windmills, tulip fields and cycling routes, there is much more to that which makes it a great country to visit, including the languages in the Netherlands. Its diversity of languages, cuisine, its culture and historical sites (Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and many more) make it a lot more interesting and a perfect holiday destination.