Languages change constantly. Dutch has been around since the Middle Ages, but it was not until the Golden Age of prosperity in the 17th century that the Dutch language fully came into its own. The variant that came to dominate was the dialect of Dutch spoken in the wealthy province of Holland and its capital Amsterdam. At the same time, scholars from the southern Netherlands who fled to Holland from the Catholic Spanish helped to translate the great Protestant State Bible, which has left a lasting mark on the language. The variant of Dutch spoken by about 60% of the population of Belgium is often referred to as Flemish and has to assert itself fiercely against the spread of French. Over the centuries Dutch itself has spread out of Europe, spoken at times in the Caribbean, South Africa and Indonesia, for example.
Produced and presented by Marijke van der Meer.
Recorded September 23, 1991