Amsterdam commits €23 million to fight illiteracy

Dutch dictionaries (Photo: HandigeHarry / Wikimedia Commons)Dutch dictionaries (Photo: HandigeHarry / Wikimedia Commons)

The municipality of Amsterdam is investing 23 million euros into improving the literacy of illiterate people in the city with language lessons, the municipality announced on Friday. In the coming years they hope to reach 14,500 illiterate or low-literate people.

According to the city, an estimated 16 percent of Amsterdam residents have literacy problems. And as the government made budget cuts in the fight against illiteracy in the past years, Amsterdam decided to take initiative with the program Language to learn 2016 - 2018.

"Low literacy has an impact on all aspects of one's life, whether it comes to relationships, finding employment, health or debt problems", alderman Simone Kukenheim said. "Being able to speak, read and write Dutch is essential to participate. Therefore Amsterdam is investing heavily in tackling low literacy."

The program is intended to help people learn and use the language. It is aimed at both people born in Amsterdam and new comers who passed their integration program and test.

Earlier this week the Court of Audit revealed that a massive 2.5 million people in the Netherlands can be considered illiterate.