Monday , February 26 2024

Island languages not recognized in the constitution

The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament has voted down a motion by Member of Parliament (MP) Wassila Hachchi of the democratic D66 party to secure Papiamentu and English in theDutch Constitution on behalf of Bonaire, Eustatius and Saba.

Only a minority in the Second Chamber supported Hachchi’s idea to give Papiamentu and English in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and
Saba the same status in the Dutch Constitution as for example the Frisian language in The Netherlands. Hachchi submitted the
motion in connection with the handling of the law proposal to amend the Dutch Constitution to secure the constitutional status of the
public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba earlier this month. The Second Chamber approved the law proposal, but on Tuesday
voted down Hachchi’s motion.

Initially the Dutch Government had indicated that it wanted to include an article in the law proposal to amend the Constitution about the use of Papiamentu and English on the public entities as the languages to communicate with government, similar to the Frisian
language. In 2010, the Dutch Government indicated that it would include the use of Papiamentu and English in another amendment to the Constitution to secure the Dutch language in the Constitution. However, the handling of this law proposal has not progressed
for over two years, Hachchi noted in her motion.

According to Hachchi, the Dutch Government recently did come with a law proposal to secure an exception position for the use of
the Frisian language. The MP is of the opinion that the languages of the islands deserve similar treatment in law proposals and policies concerning the public entities.

Source: The Daily Herald October 31, 2012

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  1. I would understand if Dutch should be the “first” language in a community where people speak it as a first language. But not even recognise our “first” language on the islands, may it be Papiamentu or English is kind of insulting. I just had the feeling that the guys in De Haag got their stuff together and have started to understand the islands a little bit better but obviously the sentence still stands: “if you not Dutch, you not much”. It’s really sad, since I was a child me and my family had so many good times in Holland…….50 years ago. There where so many nice, friendly and liberal people. Where are they now?

  2. Wolfgang,
    they moved to Saba