General Information (in English)
Dutch is an official language in the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname and also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. About 22 million people speak Dutch as a mother tongue.
The Netherlands is virtually 100% Dutch-speaking. In 1980 the cooperation between the Netherlands and Flanders in the field of the Dutch language policy was confirmed by founding the Nederlandse Taalunie - or the Dutch Language Union.
Belgium is a multilingual country, with Dutch being spoken in the northern region (Flanders), French in the south (Wallonia) and a small German-speaking area in the east. Brussels, the capital, is officially both French and Dutch-speaking.Flanders is one of the two fouding partners of the Nederlandse Taalunie.
In Suriname, South America, Dutch is the sole official language and more than 60 percent of the population speak it as a mother tongue. Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975 and has been an associate member of the Nederlandse Taalunie since 2004. The lingua franca of Suriname is Sranan Tongo.
- Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, all islands in the Caribbean, are independent countries that belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are 'special municipalities' of the Netherlands. Dutch is one of the official languages. It is the mother tongue of only a small group of the population. The lingua franca of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao is Papiamento, a creole language. The population of the three northern Antilles, Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, is predominantly English-speaking.