Languages of the Netherlands
The official national language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by almost all people in the Netherlands. Dutch is also spoken and official in Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Suriname. It is a West Germanic, Low Franconian language that originated in the Early Middle Ages (c. 470) and was standardised in the 16th century.
There are also some recognised provincial languages and regional dialects.
- Frisian is a co-official language in the province of Friesland. Frisian is spoken by 453,000 speakers
- English is an official language in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius (BES Islands). It is widely spoken on Saba and Sint Eustatius (see also: English language in the Netherlands). The municipality of Amsterdam also recognises English as an official language but on a lower status than Dutch, meaning that communication with the municipality can be done in English, but Dutch remains the language of publications, meetings, and administration. A large majority of primary and secondary education in Amsterdam remains in Dutch only, but there are some bilingual Dutch-English schools. On Saba and St. Eustatius, the majority of the education is in English only, with some bilingual English-Dutch schools.
- Papiamento is an official language in the special municipality of Bonaire.
- Several dialects of Dutch Low Saxon (Nederlands Nedersaksisch in Dutch) are spoken in much of the north-east of the country and are recognised as regional languages according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Low Saxon is spoken by 1,798,000 speakers.
- Another Low Franconian dialect is Limburgish, which is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg. Limburgish is spoken by 825,000 speakers. Though there are movements to have Limburgish recognised as an official language (meeting with varying amounts of success,) it is important to note that Limburgish in fact consists of a large number of differing dialects that share some common aspects, but are quite different.
The Netherlands also has its separate Dutch Sign Language, called Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT). It is still waiting for recognition and has 17,500 users.
Minority languages, regional languages and dialects in the Benelux
West Frisian is an official language in the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân in West Frisian). The government of the Frisian province is bilingual. Since 1996 Frisian has been recognised as an official minority language in the Netherlands under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, although it had been recognised by the Dutch government as the second state language (tweede rijkstaal), with official status in Friesland, since the 1950s.
- Westlauwers Frisian
Low Saxon dialects
- Gronings-East Frisian
- Noordenvelds (Noord-Drents)
- Vriezenveens (this is actually a separate dialect because of Frisian influences)
Low Franconian dialects
- West Frisian
- Mainland West Frisian
- Insular West Frisian
- Zealandic-West Flemish (including French Flemish)
- Coastal West Flemish
- Continental West Flemish
- East Flemish
- South Guelderish (Kleverlands)
- North Limburgian
- Northwest Brabantian
- Central north Brabantian
- East Brabantian
- Kempen Brabantian
- South Brabantian
- West Limburgish
- Central Limburgish
- Southeast Limburgish
- Low Dietsch
Central Franconian dialects
Note that Ripuarian is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands.
Dialects fully outside the Netherlands
Luxembourgish is divided into Moselle Luxembourgish, West Luxembourgish, East Luxembourgish, North Luxembourgish and City Luxembourgish. The Oïl dialects in the Benelux are Walloon (divided into West Walloon, Central Walloon, East Walloon and South Walloon), Lorrain (including Gaumais), Champenois and Picard (including Tournaisis).
- Wet op de Friese taal (in Dutch)
- Wet op het gebruik van het Engels in communicatie met de overheid (in Dutch)
- Wet op het gebruik van het Papiamento in communicatie met de overheid (in Dutch)
- The oath in English and Papiamento
- European Union
- Streektaal.net over Fries
- Streektaal.net over Nedersaksisch
- Streektaal.net over Limburgs
- Rapport "Meer dan een gebaar" en "actualisatie 1997-2001
- European Union
- "English in the Netherlands: Functions, forms and attitudes" p. 316 and onwards
- "Gemeente Kerkrade | Kirchröadsj Plat". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- "Cittaslow Vaals: verrassend, veelzijdig, veelkleurig". Retrieved 9 September 2015. The PDF file can be accessed at the bottom of the page. The relevant citation is on the page 13: "De enige taal waarin Vaals echt te beschrijven en te bezingen valt is natuurlijk het Völser dialect. Dit dialect valt onder het zogenaamde Ripuarisch."