What Languages Are Spoken In The Netherlands?

"Welkom", Dutch for "welcome".
"Welkom", Dutch for "welcome".

The Official Language Of The Netherlands

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands. Almost the entire population of the country speak this West Germanic language. Nearly 23 million worldwide people speak Dutch as their first language. The language is also spoken as a second language by about 5 million people. Dutch is the world's third most widely spoken Germanic language. The language not only serves as the official language of the Netherlands but it is also spoken as an official language in Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten.

The Regional Languages Of The Netherlands

Some regional languages of the Netherlands are officially recognized. They are:


The language is a West Germanic language that is spoken by about 453,000 speakers in the country. Most Frisian speakers live in the Friesland province of the Netherlands. It serves as the co-official language of the Friesland province.


English serves as the official language of the BES Islands of the Netherlands. Most schools in the region use English as the primary medium of instruction. English is also recognized as an official language by the Amsterdam Municipality but here is has a lower status than Dutch. In Amsterdam, English can be used as a means of communication but most publications and administrative work must use Dutch.


The Papiamento is another language of the Netherlands that is recognized as an official regional language. The language is derived from the Portuguese and African languages. It is the official language in the Bonaire Municipality in the Netherlands. It is also widely spoken in some Caribbean Islands.

Other non-officially recognized regional languages of the Netherlands include:

Dutch Low Saxon

The Dutch Low Saxon includes a variety of Low Saxon dialects that are spoken in some parts of northeastern Netherlands. UNESCO classifies the language as vulnerable as the number of speakers of Dutch Low Saxon is steadily falling. The language is currently spoken by about 1,798,000 speakers.


The Limburgish is spoken by about 825,000 speakers in the Limburg province of Netherlands. The language has a large number of dialects with significant variances.

The Immigrant Languages Spoken In The Netherlands

The immigrants to the Netherlands speak the immigrant languages. Varieties of Arabic, Turkish, and Berber languages are the most common immigrant languages spoken in the country.

The Foreign Languages Spoken In The Netherlands

English is an extremely popular foreign language spoken in the Netherlands. A majority of the population of the country (90 to 93%) speak the language. German is spoken by nearly 71% of the country’s population followed by French (29%) and Spanish (5%).


More in Society