What is the most spoken language or dialect at home?
Most people in the Netherlands, three quarters of those over 15, speak mainly Dutch at home. One quarter use a different spoken language at home. This could be a dialect, a regional language (Frisian, Limburgish or Lower Saxon) or another language, such as English, Polish or Turkish. There are, however, major differences between the provinces.
Over 10 percent of those aged 15 and over speak one of the three government-recognised regional languages at home: Frisian (2 percent), Lower Saxon (5 percent) or Limburgish (more than 3 percent). Lower Saxon is spoken mainly in the provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe and Groningen. A dialect is most commonly spoken at home by over 5 percent of over-15s in the Netherlands and another language, such as Turkish, English or Moroccan/Berber, is spoken at home by over 8 percent. Overall, for almost a quarter of people aged 15 and over, the language of communication at home is not Dutch, but a dialect, a regional language or another language.
Dutch least often spoken at home in Limburg and Fryslân
Provinces vary widely in the language or dialect most commonly spoken at home, with dialects and languages obviously not adhering to provincial boundaries. In Limburg, less than half (46 percent) speak mainly Dutch at home, in Fryslân half of people speak mainly Dutch at home.
Among Frisians, 40 percent speak mainly Frisian at home, while among Limburg residents, 48 percent speak Limburgish. Lower Saxon is spoken at home by 31 percent of people in Drenthe, 26 percent of people in Groningen and 24 percent by people in Overijssel. Residents of Zeeland and Noord-Brabant relatively often speak a dialect at home that is not part of one of the regional languages. In Flevoland, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, 10 percent of people are most likely to speak another language at home, such as English, Turkish, Moroccan/Arabic and Polish. People are least likely to speak another language in Drenthe, at 3 percent.
Frisian and Limburgish also frequently spoken in other places
Those who speak Frisian or Limburgish at home, often also do so at other locations. A majority of the respondents said that they also speak their ‘home language’ at work or at school as well as at official offices, such as the municipality or hospital, in shops, restaurants and bars, and with neighbours or friends. Lower Saxon is spoken significantly less outside the home. Particularly at official offices this regional language is rarely spoken.
How were these figures obtained by CBS?
The figures are taken from the CBS Social cohesion and well-being survey, which was conducted among more than 7.5 thousand people in 2019. The respondents were asked the following questions: ‘What is the most spoken language or dialect at your home?’. They were given a choice of 111 languages and dialects. They could also add a language or dialect if it was not on the list. In total, 149 languages and dialects were mentioned.
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