Papiamento on Bonaire now officially recognised under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages

Papiamento is officially recognised by the central government. To this end, expertise and input was provided from the Public Entity of Bonaire. The central government hereby wants to further protect and promote the position of the language for current and future generations. 

Papiamento is an important part of the identity of residents of Bonaire The increasing pressure from other languages on the island, like Dutch, Spanish, and English, may lead to unwanted oppression of Papiamento. By signing 'The Administrative Agreement Papiamento on Bonaire' in March 2021, the then Minister for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Minister for Education, Culture and Science, the Minister for Basic and Secondary Education and Media and the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations expressed their intention of recognising Papiamento under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (hereinafter: the Charter).

The Charter is a Convention of the Council of Europe for the protection and promotion of minority languages traditionally present in the territory of a state. Previously, the Charter was only applicable to the European Netherlands. Therefore, to recognise Papiamento on Bonaire under the Charter, the scope first had to be extended to the Caribbean Netherlands. This was given parliamentary approval by the States General last December. On Monday the 22nd of January 2024, the extension to the Caribbean Netherlands came into effect at the same time as the recognition of Papiamento in Bonaire under the Charter.

A language can be recognised under two parts of the Charter. A Part II recognition is a general recognition of a language. It commits a state not to introduce barriers to the use of the language in legislation or regulations. With a Part III approval, the protection and promotion of a language in specific domains like education, culture, media, administrative traffic, administration of justice, socio-economic life, and international cooperation. Papiamento on Bonaire is recognised under Part III.