There are two official languages in the Netherlands: Dutch and Frisian.
The Dutch language is principally spoken in the Netherlands, Flanders and Surinam. Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch, which is still spoken by South Africans. The Dutch language policy is managed by the Committee of Ministers (Comité van Ministers), comprising the Dutch and Flemish culture and education ministers and a representative from Surinam. The Interparliamentary Committee (Interparlementaire Commissie) monitors the language policy, while the Dutch Language and Literature Council (Raad voor de Nederlandse Taal en Letteren) advises policymakers. Dutch language policy is developed and implemented by the Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie).
The Dutch Language Union is an intergovernmental organisation, founded by the Dutch and Flemish governments (see chapter 4.1.8). To emphasise their mutual cultural interests, a cultural treaty was signed in 1995. In 2004, the Flemish-Dutch House (Vlaams-Nederlands Huis deBuren) opened in Brussels. The aim of the house is to promote Flemish-Dutch culture in Europe and to hold debates on culture, science, cultural diversity, society and politics in an increasingly unified Europe.
Surinam joined the Dutch Language Union as an associate member in 2004. The union also cooperates with the Caribbean islands that have Dutch as an official language: Aruba, Curaçao, Saint Martin (countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands), Bonaire, Saint-Eustache and Saba (municipalities within the Kingdom of the Netherlands). For these municipalities, Papiamento and English are also official languages, which can be used in contact with the government.
In 1996, the satellite and cable television channel the Best of Flanders and the Netherlands (BVN) was founded. The international channel is a joint venture of a Flemish and a Dutch public broadcaster and airs Dutch spoken television programmes.
The Frisian language is recognised as the second official language in the province of Fryslân, both in Dutch law and through the European Charter for Regional Minority Languages.
The province of Fryslân and the central government made agreements on the development of the Frisian language and culture. For the period 2013-2018, an Administrative Agreement on the Frisian Language and Culture was developed. The Fryske Akademy determines the spelling in the Frisian language and preserves the cultural and literary value of the language-related Frisian heritage. In 2016, an update of this administrative agreement regarding media in the Frisian language was signed. The agreement has been renewed in December 2018 with the Administrative Agreement on Frisian Language and Culture 2019-2023, which aims to increase the use of Frisian language in the education system.
The Netherlands has recognised Limburgish (since 1997), Low Saxon (since 1996), Romani/Sinti and Yiddish (since 1996) as regional or non-territorial languages under the European Charter for Regional Minority Languages. This recognition enables provinces and municipalities to create policies for these languages. The Limburgish and Low Saxon languages are recently recognized as official regional languages. The government has made objectives in collaboration with the representatives of the Limburgish and Low Saxon language by means of covenants.