Dutch (Netherlands) Calendar
Days of the Week
Special Features of the Dutch Language
The West Germanic dialects can be divided according to tribe (Frisian, Saxon, Franconian, Bavarian and Swabian), and according to the extent of their participation in the High German consonant shift (Low German against High German). The present Dutch standard language is largely derived from Low Franconian dialects spoken in the Low Countries that must have reached a separate identity no later than about AD 700.
Standard Dutch started deep in the Golden Age, in 1637, when the first official translation of the Bible was completed. In that period, the Netherlands was the focus point of the world. It was the time of Rembrandt and Vondel, the age of the Dutch Republic.
Dutch is the first language of more than 21 million Dutch and Flemish people. Dutch is thus a middle ranking language, roughly the 30th largest in the world. Dutch is one of the nine official languages of the European Union.
There are 60,000 Dutch speakers in Northwest France. Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and Surinam, chiefly as the language of government and education. Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese literature has been written in Dutch. Historical links mean that Dutch is mostly used in Indonesia by lawyers, the military and historians. Seventeenth century Dutch dialects provided the basis for Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa. Dutch has also exerted an influence on other languages, particularly in the areas of shipping, water technology and agriculture.
The Netherlands’ glory faded somewhat in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but in the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Netherlands once more began to flourish and since the Second World War it has blossomed into a rapidly growing, industrially and technologically highly developed country that attracts large numbers of immigrants.