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This website focusses on the 'other' original languages of the Netherlands. Besides Dutch, there are three other languages that are officially recognized as regional language.

This recognition is according to the European Chapter for Regional or Minority Languages. The European council took this initiative to protect the smaller languages within the European Community. The are two levels of recognition. Frisian has the highest level of recogniton (level III). This means that the Frisian provincial government is obliged to support the use of the language. In Friesland, this means that names of towns and villages are also presented in the native names. Inhabitants of the province of Friesland can choose Dutch or Frisian as their official first language (350,000 out of 600,000 chose Frisian).

Low Saxon and Limburgish each have level II of recognition. This means that the government acknowledges the fact that these are not dialects of Dutch, but the inhabitants of those areas can't choose their official first language. There are no clear regulations of how the government should support the use of these languages. If the provincial governments wish to actively support the languages, they can always request a level III recognition, which gives more regulations and opportunities to do so.

Besides those languages, there are a lot of dialects in the Netherlands (and Flanders). The Foundation Dutch Dialects (Stichting Nederlandse Dialecten, also active in Belgium) recognizes about 3 dialects per province. The western provinces (Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland) are not included, because those dialect have too much in common with standard Dutch.