Dutch government announces English as second official language of the Netherlands

UPDATE 2/4/21: Wishful thinking, April Fools Day prank, or both? Thanks for reading guys, we’ll catchya next year 😘

The Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs has announced English will become the second official language of the Netherlands.

It comes as no surprise, with the Dutch already topping the charts as some of the best non-native English speakers in the world.

“Tens of thousands of internationals immigrate to the Netherlands every year,” said a ministry spokesperson. “It’s unnecessary to make them all learn the language if the Dutch already speak English.”

Between 90% and 93% of Dutchies claim to be able to converse in English. Expats have often been frustrated at how hard it is to practice Dutch in the Netherlands because the Dutch tend to immediately switch to English.

Official Dutch names to be converted

As part of incorporating a second official language, the government will also change the names of official bodies in order to increase accessibility for expats.

As a nod to the Dutch heritage, governmental agencies will be renamed with the Dutch royal family in mind. For example, the tongue-twisting Belastingdienst will update its name to “His Royal Majesty’s Tax Authority.”

Scrapping Dutch place names

The names of some Dutch towns and cities will also be changed to names that are easier for English-speakers to pronounce. IJsselstein will now be called Islington, Groningen will become Grantham, and Utrecht will be Youbourne. To avoid international confusion, Amsterdam will keep its name.

Ulterior motives for changing the national language

There are rumours that the government is changing the official language of the Netherlands to win favour with British and American pharmaceutical companies.

In the wake of both English speaking countries steaming ahead with their vaccination programmes, the Dutch government may want to align itself with the frontrunners of coronavirus vaccinations.

All the Dutch speak great English:

As it stands, the Dutch government is yet to make a formal declaration of this decision. Their official statement is that this is a move to further include the international community in the Netherlands.

However, sources in The Hague have said they have noticed more Pfizer and Biotech branded mugs in the parliamentary break rooms. There have even been reports of a pair of union jack underpants being found in the cabinet meeting room.

There have been no new vaccination deals as of yet, but a diplomatic gift of 12,000 kilos of Marmite has been received by the government.

What do you think of the Netherlands huge decision? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Minister-president Rutte/Flickr/CC2.0 (Modified)

Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧
Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧http://globeshuffler.wordpress.com
A British native, Chloe has a love for other languages and cultures, having lived in Spain before moving to the Netherlands. She is keen to explore the Dutch landscape, cultural spots and — the most important — food! After being here for a few months she already has developed a mild addiction to kibbeling.


  1. They should allow immigrants who stay in the Netherlands for 5 years to integrate and eligible for PR without Dutch language exams

    • One could argue those 5 years could also be used to integrate e.g. learn at least some basic level of Dutch. Even if that is not without its challenges, amongst which per the article: “Expats have often been frustrated at how hard it is to practice Dutch in the Netherlands because the Dutch tend to immediately switch to English.”

  2. Great news. Way to go 👏🏻👏🏻 Netherlands needs expats as much as expats need Netherlands.
    I hope it will be soon taken into consideration by the HR department of the companies.

  3. That’s a good one, I loved the part about renaming cities. One of the better 1st April stuff. 🙂

  4. Is it true or is it April 1st joke? (which sincerely I wouldn’t expect from a profile like Dutch Review)

  5. I think that since this is a news site that is supposed to be serious, it would be appropriate to mention at the end that this is an April Fool’s joke, as this could cause embarrassment to the inattentive or even be classified as fake news. Dutch Review disappointed me.

    • Not impressed at all. Why fool people even more in a land lack of integrity? Don’t we have enough fake news already??!

  6. The best April’s fool ever!! 🤣😂
    My favorite is Groningen’s new name!
    I vote for Gotham instead of Grantham 🤣😂

  7. I hate marmite. That said its about time. Non Dutch / English speaking patients are losing valuable mental health opportunity to be treated by native English speakers who know their cultural heritage and how to reach their issues. COVID is one that’s staring everyone in the face.

  8. For example, the tongue-twisting Belastingdienst will update its name to “His Royal Majesty’s Tax Authority.”??????
    I think it is better to update the name as “Royal Majesty’s Tax Authority” so that the name remains the same inrespective of whether a King or a Queen is on the throne.

  9. Deplorable and a bad precedent for the EU on he whole. This is just a simple excuse for English-speaking Americans and Brits to not learn a foreign language.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Certain expats can receive a Dutch driver’s licence without lessons or exams: here’s why

To make the Netherlands a more attractive destination for knowledge workers, the Dutch government has set up a programme allowing them to exchange their...

The exit polls are out: here’s who the Dutch are voting for in the European elections (so far!)

In a rare twist of fate, both leaders of the left-wing party GroenLinks-PvdA and the ring-wing PVV (Frans Timmermans and Geert Wilders, respectively) reported...

Blissful beaches and hidden gems: these unique Dutch tours will make your summer

Summer is here, which means white sand beaches, exotic palm trees, and sipping on cocktails in exciting new locations — but did you know...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.