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Dutch language to be enshrined in constitution

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE Dutch caretaker cabinet Balkenende has agreed that the Dutch language needs to be enshrined in the constitution as the main language of the Netherlands. The proposed change will include that it is the responsibility of government to promote the use of the Dutch language. The objective is that in an age of globalization people always will be able to deal with the government in the Dutch language. This may be seen as a stretch at the moment because in seaports and at airports as well as in trade, English is increasingly the main language. Some other sectors are not far behind. Frisian is the second language in the Netherlands, while Limburgs and Nedersaksisch function as regional languages. Other official languages in parts of Dutch territory are Papiaments on the Antillian island of Bonaire, and English on Sint Eustatius and Saba. The total number of Dutch speaking people is estimated at 30 million people. If those who use Dutch as a second language are included, the number rises to 44 million. There is also a monument to the Dutch language in faraway Burgersdorp, South Africa.