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Dutch is the native language of most of the population of the Netherlands, and about sixty percent of the populations of Belgium and Suriname.

Also known as Nederlands ("Netherlandish") in the Netherlands, or in some regions as Hollands (e.g. in South Africa). The Belgian version of Dutch is on occasion referred to as Vlaams or Flemish in South Africa.

In this encyclopaedia, the term Dutch is reserved for the original language of the Netherlands and the variants of its use in South Africa.

However, it is not to be confused with Afrikaans - even though some English speakers occasionally still refer to Afrikaans speakers as "Dutch speakers".

Dutch in South Africa

The language was brought to South Africa in 1652 with the settlement of the Cape by the Dutch East India Company, and the 17th centrury Dutch spoken by the settlers gradually became the basis for the development of an indigenous form, initially referred to as "Cape Dutch" and eventually standardised into Afrikaans.

During the language struggle to have Afrikaans declared the official language alongside English, and the resistance in what has been called the "Dutch language movement" in South Africa, there was an attempt to introduce a Simplified Dutch Spelling (Vereenvoudigde Hollandse Spelling) or simply Vereenvoudigde Hollands. However this attempt to save Dutch in South Africa failed in the face of the growth of Afrikaans and eventually disappeared.


J.C. Steyn. 2017. Die laaste projek van die “Hollandse taalbeweging in Suid-Afrika”: Die Vereenvoudigde Hollandse Spelling, in Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, Jaargang 57 No. 2-1: Junie 2017[1]


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