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Dutch (Nederlands)

Dutch is a West Germanic language with about 20 million speakers mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. There are small Dutch-speaking communities in northern France around Dunkerque and Dutch is also spoken in Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, Suriname and in Indonesia.

The official or standard form of Dutch is known as Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands (ABN), 'general civilized Dutch'. It is taught in schools and used by authorities in the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. An association known as the Taalunie (Language Union) set up by governments of the Netherlands and Flanders regulates the orthography and spelling of ABN. Alternative names for ABN are Algemeen Nederlands (AN), general Dutch, and Standaardnederlands, standard Dutch.

The Dutch dialects spoken in Belgium are collectively know as Flemish (Vlaams). They differ to some extent from the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands in terms of intonation and pronunciation, and there are minor differences in vocabulary, including loanwords from French and English not found in Standard Dutch.

The Dutch language developed from the Lower Franconian (Niederfränkisch) dialect of Low German. The earliest known example of written Old Franconian appears in a 9th century Latin manuscript, the Laws of the Salic Franks, and in translations of the Psalms. Some poetry written in Middle Dutch dating from the 12th and 13th centuries survives. The Dutch translation of the Bible, the Staten-Bijbel, of 1619-1637 was one of the first major works in Modern Dutch.

Dutch alphabet (Nederlands alphabet)

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i
a be ce de e ef ge ha i
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r
je ka el em en o pe ku er
S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z  
es te u ve we iks y zet  


There is also a digraph, IJ ij (lange ij), which was once written Y y, a letter which is now mainly used in foreign loanwords.

Dutch pronunciation (Nederlandse uitspraak)

Dutch pronunciation (Nederlandse uitspraak)

Sample text in Standard Dutch

Alle mensen worden vrij en gelijk in waardigheid en rechten geboren. Zij zijn begiftigd met verstand en geweten, en behoren zich jegens elkander in een geest van broederschap te gedragen.

A recording of this text


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Dutch | Dutch phrases | Dutch colours | Dutch numbers | Dutch kinship terms | Dutch tongue twisters | Tower of Babel in Dutch | Dutch learning materials


Information about the Dutch language

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Dutch phrases

Official Dutch spelling (Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal)

Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde (Royal Academy for Dutch language and literature):

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Sites that provide words of the day in Dutch

Afrikaans and Dutch humour newsletter

Moeilijke woorden (a guide to difficult Dutch words)

Dutch Flashcards

Online Dutch dictionaries

Dutch Electronic talking dictionaries

Online Dutch radio

Online Dutch TV

Online Dutch news

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, German, Gothic, Icelandic, Low German / Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Norn, North Frisian, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Saterland Frisian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Swedish, Swiss German, West Frisian, Yiddish

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet