Dutch language disappearing abroad; funding falls far behind other EU countries

Dutch dictionary by Van Dale
Dutch dictionary by Van Dale. (Photo: jarretera/DepositPhotos)

The Netherlands and Flanders spend much less money on foreign education in Dutch than other countries do no their language. As a result, Dutch is falling behind internationally, and that could have consequences for trade and diplomacy, the Taalunie concluded in a study.

The Netherlands and Flanders spend only 7.5 cents per resident on teaching Dutch abroad, according to the Taalunie. Other European countries spend much more. Sweden spends 11 cents per resident and Hungary 15 cents. Portugal and Germany even spend 2.80 euros and 5.30 euros respectively for teaching their languages abroad. Other, non European countries are even "proactive" in the promotion of their language abroad, often having this managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instead of the Ministry of Education. 

The Netherlands has a more passive approach, only wanting to offer support if there is interest abroad. The Netherlands should examine whether this can be handled differently, the Taalunie advised.

According to the language institution, the Dutch university education abroad is mainly focused on education and research on the language itself or the Dutch culture. But there are many opportunities that are not being exploited. Teaching Dutch abroad can also play an important role in economic, cultural and diplomatic contacts, and thereby strengthen the internationalization policy of the Netherlands, the Taalunie said. 

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