The Dutch Language Union

Nature

The Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) is the international organisation in which the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium) and Suriname combine their strengths to support the Dutch language at home and around the world in order to keep the language as dynamic and vigorous as today. The actual baseline is: “Taal schept kansen” (language offers opportunities).

Mission

The Taalunie stimulates people and parts of society to use Dutch in the most effective and efficient way possible, in order to increase their own opportunities. Therefore, the Taalunie proactively develops language policies, products and services. This way, the Dutch language stays an attractive and vivid language, both within and outside its own language area.

History

The Taalunie was founded in 1980 by the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium). The Republic of Suriname became an associated member in 2004. Since 2007, there are framework agreements for collaboration with Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten. The Taalunie also signed a letter of intent for closer cooperation with the Republic of South Africa in language-related contexts.

Developments

1980: Academy for the Dutch language (Treaty on the Dutch Language Union)
⇒ focus on the standard language, literature and academic study

1993: Project organisation to support the Dutch language and its users around the world
⇒ focus on language services, language technologies and language education

2013: Policy and knowledge organisation for the Dutch language in a multilingual world
⇒ focus on the status, the corpus and the acquisition of the Dutch language itself, but also on its role within and added value to society, technology and culture

Policy and activities

Status & Society: Language Policy (Taalbeleid)

  • Dutch in multilingual societies (research, knowledge, expertise and advice)
  • Dutch in international contexts (focus on the EU via EFNIL and ad hoc coalitions)

Corpus & Technology: Language Infrastructure (Taalinfrastructuur)

  • Official spelling (Woordenlijst.org) and language advice (Taaladvies.net)
  • Basic data, materials and tools for science, education and innovation

Acquisition & Culture: Language Use (Taalgebruik)

  • Knowledge and expertise for the study of Dutch in every possible way
  • Support for the study of the language and promotion of the language worldwide

Did you know ?

Every year, 15,000 students outside the language area study Dutch at 180 universities in 40 countries worldwide. In the neighbouring language areas, in the north of France, the south of Belgium and the west of Germany, about 400,000 pupils also learn Dutch as a foreign language.

Video 'One language. This is what we share' with English subtitles.

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