What countries speak Dutch?

What countries speak Dutch?

Are you curious about the countries where Dutch is spoken? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the various nations where Dutch is an official language or holds a significant presence. Discover fascinating insights into the widespread usage of Dutch and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural and linguistic significance around the world. Whether you are a language enthusiast, traveler, or simply intrigued by the Dutch language, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need. Let’s dive in and uncover the countries that embrace the Dutch language!


In a world where communication and cultural exchange are becoming increasingly important, it is essential to have an understanding of the languages spoken around the globe. Dutch, a West Germanic language, is one such language that holds significant importance in the linguistic landscape. This article aims to explore the countries where Dutch is spoken, shedding light on the widespread presence and influence of this language beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Whether you have a passion for languages, plan to travel, or simply want to expand your knowledge, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the global reach of the Dutch language.

European Countries that Speak Dutch

The Netherlands

The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe. Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and is spoken by the majority of the population. Dutch is not only spoken by the native Dutch people but also by various minority groups living in the country. The Dutch language has a rich history and is an important part of the Dutch culture and identity.


Belgium, a country in Western Europe, is another nation where Dutch is spoken. Dutch is one of the three official languages of Belgium, along with French and German. The Dutch-speaking region of Belgium is called Flanders, and it covers the northern part of the country. In Flanders, Dutch is the predominant language and is used in education, government, media, and everyday life.


Suriname, a small country located on the northeastern coast of South America, is an unusual addition to the list of European countries that speak Dutch. Suriname was a former Dutch colony and gained independence in 1975. However, Dutch remains the official language of Suriname due to its historical ties with the Netherlands. While Suriname is not located in Europe, it is considered a Dutch-speaking country and maintains strong linguistic and cultural connections with the Dutch language.

These three countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname – stand out as European nations where Dutch is spoken. Each country has its own unique history, culture, and dialects associated with the Dutch language. Whether you’re planning to visit these countries or simply interested in language diversity, exploring Dutch-speaking communities in Europe and beyond can be a fascinating experience.

Other Countries with Dutch Speakers


Aruba is a small island located in the southern Caribbean Sea and is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch is one of the official languages spoken in Aruba, alongside Papiamento and English. Although Papiamento is the most widely spoken language on the island, Dutch is still used in official government proceedings, education, and business transactions. With a population of around 110,000 people, Aruba has a significant number of Dutch speakers.


Curaçao, another constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a beautiful Caribbean island known for its vibrant culture and stunning beaches. Alongside Papiamentu, English, and Spanish, Dutch is one of the official languages spoken on the island. Curaçao has a rich history that has influenced its language diversity, with Dutch being commonly used in government, education, media, and commerce. With a population of approximately 160,000 people, Curaçao is home to a considerable number of Dutch speakers.

Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, is also a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although English is widely spoken on the island, Dutch is recognized as an official language and holds importance in various sectors such as government, administration, and education. Sint Maarten has a population of around 40,000 people, and while English is more prevalent, Dutch remains an essential language for communication and official purposes.

These three countries, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and have Dutch as one of their official languages. While each country has its unique cultural influences and languages, Dutch plays a significant role in their societies and is important for various aspects of everyday life.

Former Dutch Colonies


Indonesia, formerly known as the Dutch East Indies, was a significant Dutch colony where Dutch was once spoken. The Dutch East India Company established its presence in the archipelago in the 17th century and gradually gained control over most of the region. Dutch became the official language during the colonial period and continued to be widely spoken until Indonesia gained independence in 1945. Today, while Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia, traces of Dutch influence can still be found in the country’s vocabulary and place names.

South Africa

South Africa, particularly the Western Cape province, has a historical connection to the Dutch language. In the 17th century, the Dutch established a settlement known as Cape Colony, which later became a British colony. During Dutch colonial rule, the Dutch language was spoken by the settlers and was also used for administrative purposes. However, as British influence grew in the region, English gradually replaced Dutch as the dominant language. Today, Dutch is still spoken by a small minority, mainly among the Afrikaans-speaking population, who are descendants of the Dutch settlers.


Guyana, located on the northeastern coast of South America, was once a Dutch colony known as Dutch Guiana. The Dutch arrived in the region in the 17th century and established plantations for sugar and other crops, bringing along the Dutch language. However, in the 19th century, British forces took control of the colony, and English became the official language. Today, English is the primary language spoken in Guyana, but influences from Dutch colonial history can still be seen in some local traditions, names, and cultural aspects.

These former Dutch colonies represent a part of the historical influence of the Dutch language beyond the borders of the Netherlands. While Dutch is no longer widely spoken in these countries, its colonial legacy has left its mark on their history and culture.


In conclusion, Dutch is primarily spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium, making them the main countries where the language is spoken. However, Dutch is not limited to these two countries alone. Surprisingly, the Dutch language has managed to establish a presence in various parts of the world, thanks to its historical influence and colonization.

Dutch is an official language in Suriname, a former Dutch colony located in South America. Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975, but Dutch remained as one of the official languages due to its significant impact on the country’s culture and administration.

In addition to Suriname, Dutch is also spoken in the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. These islands are known as the Dutch Caribbean or the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean, and Dutch holds an official status alongside other languages.

Furthermore, Dutch-speaking communities can be found in several other countries around the world. In Germany, particularly in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, there is a significant number of Dutch speakers. This is due to the proximity between the Netherlands and Germany, leading to cross-border interactions and cultural exchange.

Similarly, in the French region of French Flanders, which borders Belgium, there are pockets of Dutch speakers. This linguistic diversity adds to the cultural richness of the region and reflects the historical ties between France and the Low Countries.

Outside of Europe, Dutch is spoken in small communities in countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, and South Africa. These communities are often formed by Dutch immigrants or their descendants who have preserved their language over generations.

Overall, while Dutch is mainly concentrated in the Netherlands and Belgium, its influence extends beyond these borders. The historical legacy of Dutch colonization, cross-border interactions, and immigrant communities have contributed to the spread of the language to various parts of the world.

The Dutch language, also known as Nederlands, is primarily spoken in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which includes the European countries of the Netherlands and Belgium. Additionally, Dutch is spoken in some parts of Suriname, the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, as well as in the former Dutch colonies of Indonesia and South Africa. With over 24 million native speakers worldwide, Dutch holds significant importance not only as a national language but also as a means of communication within various communities across the globe.

Share This Post: