The Dutch language is an ancient and vibrant language spoken across the world. It is rich in history, with many interesting facts to explore.
Dutch is one of the oldest languages in Europe and is spoken by around 23 million people. It has roots in the West Germanic language family and is related to English, German, and Frisian.
Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, as well as the language of education in Flanders and the Netherlands Antilles. It is also the official language of the European Union.
Dutch has three dialects; Dutch Low Saxon, Dutch Frisian, and Dutch Afrikaans. Other languages, such as French, Italian, and Spanish, have also heavily influenced it.
Dutch boasts a rich literary history, with many notable writers such as Multatuli, Anne Frank, and Chris Van Allsburg. It is a popular language for poets and authors in plays, comedies, fables, and more.
There are three primary forms of Dutch; Netherlandic Dutch, Belgian Dutch, and Curacao Dutch. Despite minor differences, all three forms of Dutch are mutually intelligible.
Dutch is widely used in science, thanks to the influence of the Netherlands during the Enlightenment. Many scientific terms originated from Dutch; there was even a period of significant input from Dutch-speaking scholars.
Dutch spelling often follows phonemic rules, making the language easier to learn than other European languages. However, it does have exceptions, such as the letter ‘y’, which often stands for two different sounds.
Dutch is home to many unusual words, such as ‘hoi-jakkes,’ meaning ‘a friendly greeting,’ and ‘boobiebabbelaar,’ telling ‘someone who talks about nonsense.’
Dutch has a rich tradition of sign language. Nederlandse Gebarentaal is the official language of the Netherlands’ deaf communities and -- recognized in both Flanders and the Netherlands Antilles.
Dutch has changed significantly over the years and continues to evolve. Many loanwords from other languages, including English, French, and German, can be found.