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Minister Spies in hot water over Lower Saxon language rights

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ASSEN The eastern and north-eastern Dutch provinces are not satisfied with the answer to their request for an upgrade to the current status of the Lower Saxon regional language, now generally considered a dialect. Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland as well as the south-eastern Frisian municipalities of Weststellingwerf and Ooststellingwerf say that Internal Affairs Minister Liesbeth Spies has to come with more solid arguments to clarify her refusal for the language status upgrade, which she defends because it would incur higher costs in a time of restraints. The provinces seek the same rights neighbouring Friesland (spelled Fryslan in the Frisian language) has held for years. These Frisian language rights predate the grounds upon which the provinces seek those for the Lower Saxon tongue, namely Section III of the European declaration for regional languages, while the Frisian language rights are protected in the Dutch constitution.