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Nederlandse Taalunie
Official languages Dutch
Executive secretariat Bert Anciaux (since 2008)
Established 1980
Member states  Netherlands
Flanders Flemish Community in Belgium
Associate member states  Belgium
Candidate member states  Aruba
 Netherlands Antilles
Special partners  South Africa
Headquarters The Hague, the Netherlands
Official site
The Union's member states (not to scale)
Where Dutch is spoken

The Dutch Language Union (Dutch: About this sound Nederlandse Taalunie , NTU) is an international institution for discussing issues regarding the Dutch language. It was founded on 9 September 1980 by the Netherlands and Belgium (in respect of the Flemish Community). Suriname has been an associate member of the Taalunie since 2005.


Common Dutch

Standard Dutch (Standaardnederlands or Algemeen Nederlands, often abbreviated to AN) is the standard language as it is taught in schools and used by authorities in the Netherlands, Flanders, Suriname, Aruba as well as the Netherlands Antilles. It is the Dutch Language Union which defines what is AN and what is not. Since efforts to "uplift" people came to be considered rather presumptuous, the earlier name Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands ("Common Civilized Dutch") and its abbreviation ABN have been replaced with Algemeen Nederlands and thus AN. The implicit insinuation that people speaking dialects or with an accent were not civilized was thus removed.

Word list

An important change that was carried out by the Dutch Language Union was the modification of the Dutch orthography in 1995, regarding in particular the writing of the interfix -n in many compounds. Among the Union's publications is the well-known Word list of the Dutch language (Woordenlijst Nederlandse taal), commonly known as the "Groene boekje" ("Green booklet", because of its distinctive green colour). The green booklet is the official orthographic and grammatical reference of the Dutch language. It is laid out like a dictionary, including plural forms and spelling but without actual word definitions.

The most recent version of the Green Booklet appeared in 2005, including a somewhat controversial spelling reform which was not received well in general because a part of the spelling reforms of 1996 was changed again. In December 2005, most of the Dutch mainstream media announced a boycott. In August 2006, they released a 'White book' as their own, subtly different guideline. Currently these two spellings are both in use, sometimes confusing people; the 'green' one is used by schools and officials, the 'white' one by papers, magazines and television stations.

In Belgium, on the other hand, the spelling reform was generally accepted without protest.


The Van Dale dictionary is commonly accepted as the official Dutch dictionary. The Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal (nl), often called Dikke Van Dale ("fat Van Dale", referring to its size) is split into three tomes (A-I, J-R, S-Z) and is usually updated every 7–8 years. The 14th edition was published in 2005.


The organization is also competent for the external linguistic policy of the Netherlands and Flanders, and is active in Indonesia and South Africa, two countries with historic links with the Dutch language. Nevertheless, cooperation with South Africa is not limited to the Afrikaans language, but aimed at fostering multilingualism.

The purposes of the organization are limited to Dutch language and Dutch-language literature, and are hence not as wide as those of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Francophonie or the Organization of Ibero-American States.

The Treaty on the Dutch Language Union foresees the possibility that the Kingdom of the Netherlands extends application to NTU member's parts outside Europe (i.e. the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) but this has not happened, although the Netherlands Antilles has signed a "Framework Agreement" in 2007. The organs of the NTU are its Committee of Ministers (composed of the ministers of education and culture of the Dutch and Flemish Governments), its Secretariat-General, an Interparliamentary Committee (composed of members of the States-General of the Netherlands and the Flemish Parliament) and a Dutch Language and Literature Council (composed of twelve independent experts). There are specific arrangements for the participation of Suriname in the organization's inner workings.

See also

External links



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