Second languages and dialects are widely spoken in Dutch homes

Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

Around a quarter of everyone over the age of 15 in the Netherlands speaks a language other than Dutch at home, according to new data from national statistics agency CBS.

The research, based on information from 2019, covers regional languages such as Fries and Limburgish as well as ‘foreign languages’ including English, Polish and Turkish.

Around 10% of the survey participants spoke one of the three regional languages recognised by the Dutch government, 5% used another dialogue and 8% another language.

There are strong regional variations. In Limburg, for example, just under half of respondents communicate mostly in Dutch at home, with 48% speaking Limburgs and the rest other languages or dialects. Some four in 10 Frisians speak Fries at home, while in Noord and Zuid-Holland, other languages dominate.

Some 18% of households with low skilled parents speak another language at home, compared with 11% of households where the parents have university degrees.

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