Dutch Language Enshrined in the Constitution

The Dutch language will be included in the Constitution. The Cabinet decided this on the recommendation of Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ter Horst, also on behalf of Prime Minister Balkenende, Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin and Minister of Education, Culture and Science Plasterk. It will be laid down in the Constitution that Dutch is the official language of our country and that the government promotes the use of the Dutch language. A provision about the Frisian language will also be included in the Constitution.

The Cabinet is of the opinion that the Dutch language is an important part of the Dutch culture. As a result of internationalisation and the diversity of the population, an increasing number of languages is being spoken in the Netherlands. The English language, in particular, is winning ground. The Cabinet considers it important that the use of the Dutch language is not eroded. The purpose of the proposed amendment to the Constitution is to guarantee that the Dutch language will always be the lingua franca in the Netherlands. The provision in the Constitution about the Frisian language is to guarantee that the current status of the Frisian language is maintained.

The Cabinet agreed that the legislative proposal will be sent to the Council of State for its opinion. The text of the legislative proposal and the opinion of the Council of State will be published on submission to the Lower House.