You might have heard about a Western European country called “The Netherlands” which lies in the west of Germany. Well, it is a part of the “Kingdom of The Netherlands” which is a constitutional monarchy and people speak Dutch and Scandinavian languages. The Netherlands means “lower countries” about its low elevation and flat topography.
Before independence from the Spanish Empire, the Netherlands used to comprise the Northern Netherlands and The Southern Netherlands. The Southern Netherlands is now Modern-day Belgium. There are twelve Dutch Provinces. Each of the Dutch Province has its provincial languages.
Dutch is commonly spoken in the Netherlands and about 99% of its population speaks the Dutch Language. So, its population is collectively also called Dutch about the name of the Netherlands Official and National language.
The Dutch people have their different accents of the Dutch language according to the provinces they originate from. A large number of Dutch People can speak and understand foreign languages easily.
About 90% to 93% of the Dutch people can speak and understand English and 70% of the population knows German very well. While, 29% of the population understands and can speak French and about 5% of the population speaks Spanish.
In this article, we will answer many of your unasked but important questions about the origin of the Dutch language, similarities between the Dutch and the other Scandinavian languages, the Dutch Golden Age.
Moreover, we will discuss the evolution of Dutch from a Germanic Language of the Middle Ages, the disambiguation regarding the Dutch as a Scandinavian language and all the other important information that you will need to know.
Disambiguation About the Netherlands
The Netherlands is sometimes confused with the “Kingdom of the Netherlands” which is a constitutional monarchy with most of its population and territory in Western Europe.
A small number of its population and territories in the West Indian Islands in the Caribbean. While, ”The Netherlands” is one of the four constituent countries of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
The country is sometimes miscategorized under the Scandinavian countries and the Nordic countries because of being geographically near these Nordic and Scandinavian countries.
Other Names of The Netherlands
Well, the Netherlands sure does have other names that we would not say cause disambiguation. The Netherlands is informally referred to as Holland by the residents, the Dutch people. In the Dutch language, it is also called “Nederlands”. Now, we will move on to the Dutch language and all the details of how it originated and then reformed throughout the centuries.
The Dutch People
The Dutch people are so much like the British people, I mean why would they not be? They have common language ancestry as the British people and common social traits too. Like the British People, they have a very socialistic attitude and a very positive attitude towards refugees.
They have a very welcoming attitude. They share a warm bond with their closest friends but they can easily identify false friends and step back if they find one. And in terms of respect for women, they are not a very distinct picture of the British people.
The Dutch Language
The Dutch language is a West Germanic language that has about 29 million speakers worldwide. The National Language of the Netherlands is Dutch and though it is very different from Northern Germanic, it is the third most widely spoken Germanic Language.
Dutch is quite similar to English and German as it originated in the 6th Century from West German. It is still in use by many Germanic People especially those who live in Germanic countries.
Evolution Of Dutch as A Germanic Language
As we know, it has a style similar to that of German and English, it originated from Frankish and West German. The language evolved from Frankish was spoken from the 6th Century to the 14th Century. It is the period known as the Middle Ages. The version of Dutch people speak during that time is known as “Old Dutch”.
The use of Dutch as a language was discontinued for a short period. The language was reformed and reintroduced in the 14th Century. Middle Dutch is the version of Dutch that was in use from the 14th Century to the 16th Century.
A process of standardization had begun in the Middle Ages but it grew stronger during the 16th Century especially during the Dutch Golden Age. This initiated the use of another version of Dutch. People call it the “Modern Dutch”. Its use started in the 16th Century.
In the 17th Century, a further important step was taken for a unified language, when “Statenvertaling”, the first major Dutch translation of the Bible. The language went through reforms during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century.
In the 20th Century, Belgium and the Netherlands signed the “Language Union Treaty”. This gears up their language policy for a common system of spelling. The version of Dutch that we read, hear or speak today is Modern Dutch. In today’s World, any German-Speaking person can easily interpret Dutch.
A German-Speaking Person can well understand and speak Modern Dutch. People read, speak, and understand it on an everyday basis. Any German-Speaking person may be as fluent in Dutch as any native.
The Dutch Golden Age
The Dutch Golden Age started in 1585 during the era of the Dutch Republic. During this time, the Dutch Arts, Crafts, Trade, and Culture was at peak especially after the end of the eighty years’ war in 1648. The Dutch goods were most sought for during this time. This historical period also holds significance for the development of the Modern Dutch language which is still in use to date.
Is Dutch a Scandinavian Language?
People presume Dutch as a Scandinavian or a Nordic Language as The Netherlands is located to the south of the Scandinavian and Nordic countries. But if we see it in detail, you will be surprised to know that all this is just a myth.
I mean Dutch and all the other Scandinavian and Nordic languages do share a common ancestor but that does not mean in any way that Dutch is a Scandinavian language. Neither is closely related to any other Scandinavian or Nordic language.
Similarities Between Dutch and Other Scandinavian Languages
- The Scandinavian language “Danish” is very similar to the Dutch in terms of pronunciation as it has strong influence of Low German. Inhabitants of Germany and The Netherlands speak this language.
- Another Scandinavian language that is quite similar to the Dutch is “Norwegian Bokmal” . It is also derived from Danish in many ways. It has similarities with Danish and so, it is also similar to Dutch in a way.
- We can say that Swedish is also similar to the Dutch in some ways but it has a very different and straightforward pronunciation.
In my opinion, the Netherlands and the Dutch as a language, both are so rich in history and culture. Dutch is way too similar to German and can be easily understood, learned, read, and spoken. Dutch and Scandinavian languages have a unique history of their own. They both are somehow similar to each other but I disregard the thought that Dutch is a Scandinavian language.