Zeelandic vanishing as fewer families speak the language

Kloetinge Zeeland Ringsteken
Two people dressed in traditional Zeelandic clothing ride around Kloetinge, Zeeland. Sept. 20, 2010 (photo: Henk de Vries / Wikimedia Commons)Two people dressed in traditional Zeelandic clothing ride around Kloetinge, Zeeland. Sept. 20, 2010 (photo: Henk de Vries / Wikimedia Commons)

Fewer people are speaking the Zeelandic language in the communities surrounding the southwestern parts of The Netherlands. In the past, one out of five children spoke the language, today that ratio has dropped to one of seven.

Jeugdmonitor Zeeland, the youth monitor office who develop annual surveys in provincial towns like Reimerswaal, Tholen and Borsele, surveyed children in grade six, or roughly nine to ten years old. In the survey conducted in 2014, which 2,026 children took part in, it was noted that 46 percent could not speak the local language, the monitor told the Zeeland Institute for Social and Cultural Development.

The survey also showed that middle class with two parents working in full time positions has increased from 65% in 2003, to roughly 72% in 2014. About one in five families have only one working parent, compared to one in three during the 2003 survey period. However the most consistent ratio from 2003 to 2014 was that one out of twenty children stated that both parents were unemployed, the institute reported on Tuesday.

The percentage of people who attend church also drastically decreased. In 2003 the amount of children who attended church stood at five out ten, of which two-thirds attended at least once a week. More recently, the ratio stands at a quarter of that.

The lack of cultural experiences Zeeland youth are exposed to in primary school is one of the reasons why the language is disappearing, the youth monitor office said.

Tags: