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English language in the Netherlands: Wikis


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English language in the Netherlands refers to the use of English in The Netherlands. Research states that about 86% of the Dutch population claims to be able to converse in English [1]. According to some, the main reasons for the high degree of English speakers is the country's small size, dependency on international trade and the use of subtitles for foreign languages on television rather than dubbing [2].



Due to the small size of the Netherlands and the reliance on trading, the Dutch put strong emphasis on learning foreign languages. The Netherlands were liberated from the Germans by English speaking troops which boosted the importance and prestige of English language. In the next decades, English gradually increased in importance as a lingua franca and as a foreign language, at the expense of German language and French language. Nevertheless, German language is much closer to Dutch than English and is similar to Dutch in many respects. Germany is also the most important trading partner of the Netherlands.

Especially in Amsterdam, visitors may get the impression that it is possible to live in the Netherlands for a long time without learning Dutch.

Nowadays, most important scholarly and scientific publications in the Netherlands are in English with the exception of government related publications.

Even Dutch who have excellent knowledge of English may have great difficulty to understand certain English accents, (like Scottish English).

English language education in the Netherlands

English is compulsory on all levels of the Dutch secondary education system. In addition there is/are:

English language television in the Netherlands

In addition to the availability of the British channels BBC One and Two and the American CNN many series broadcasted on Dutch channels are also in English (i.e. anglophone tv-series, documentaries) including Dutch subtitles. English language children's programs, however, are usually dubbed.


Dunglish (called steenkolenengels in Dutch translating to coal English) is a portmanteau of Dutch and English and a name for Dutch English. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to the mistakes native Dutch speakers make when speaking English.

Linguistic anglophobia and the English disease

Anglophobia, or more accurately linguistic anglophobia, within the European Dutch language area (i.e. The Netherlands and Flanders) has evolved out of schools and companies switching to English as medium of communication and a large number of English loanwords in the Dutch language. Consequentially this has led to some anglophobia with some groups advocating to dispose of all English loanwords.

English disease (Dutch: Engelse ziekte) is a pejorative term for the effect of the English language on the use of linguistic compounds in written Dutch. It's a part of the anglicisms (and sometimes americanisms) denoting the use of English words and expressions in other languages. Examples of the English disease are:

Wrong use in Dutch English equivalent Right use in Dutch
IBM computer IBM computer IBM-computer
web pagina web page webpagina
anti-discriminatie wetgeving anti-discrimination legislation antidiscriminatiewetgeving
taxi standplaatsen taxi stand taxistandplaatsen


See also

External links



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