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What is the difference between Dutch and Flemish?

My best friend is from the Netherlands and she says Flemish is like and old fashioned version of Dutch is this right? Is there also a difference in the accent?

November 28, 2015



Flemish is spoken in Belgium. It's basically dutch but with a much more softer accent, for example the ''G'' that is pronounced differently. Flemish also has a more french influence than Dutch.

There are also some differences in vocabulary, like the use of the same word that has a different meaning in each dialect. And the words they have on their own.

  • 2083

I believe the situation in the Dutch language area is similar to that in other languages. Like German, Dutch is a dialect-continuum, with a number of dialects in both Belgium and Holland. Because Belgium (Flanders) and Holland are different countries, there has been a centralising tendency. This means that there is a Netherlands and a Belgian variant of standard Dutch, and that the language used in the street also developed independently. In the Netherlands, the Hollandic dialect (The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) is generally becoming a de facto standard. In Flanders this is what is called the 'Tussentaal' (an intermediary dialect or mesolect inbetween dialects and standard Dutch), and which is mainly based on Brabantian dialects.

I think you will find that the difference in accent, grammar and vocabulary is similar to that between Hoch Deutsch, Austrian or Swiss German.


But some institutions consider Flemish as a language, I was applying for the IELTS and saw that you can put Flemish as your native language


I'm flemish and I don't see it as a different language, I can perfectly understand people from the netherlands without any effort

  • 2083

They're wrong.


(You would think that the IELTS knows something about languages, wouldn't you?)


Uhm yes, they are. Flemish isn't 'old fashioned Dutch'.

[deactivated user]

    It's probably more of a political correct thing to do...

    • 2083

    To the contrary, most Flemish people will see it as derogatory if you insist that their language is called 'Flemish' and not 'Dutch'.

    During the 19th and the first 50-60 years of the 20th century, the Belgian Dutch speakers were discriminated against by the Belgian French speakers. There has been an effort to replace Dutch by French in Flanders. One of the arguments of the French-speakers was that the Flemish people didn't speak proper Dutch, but Flemish, mere dialects of lesser value than French (the language of Voltaire!).

    And then there are the Dutch, who insist that Belgian Dutch isn't proper Dutch, but a quaint (and cute) dialect.


    In Belgium, what is the 'dutch' version of the Dutch language if FR/Francais stands for French over there?


    What a load of nonsense. Those historic references do not reflect the current sentiment or perception of the Flemish language. In fact, it strengthens the argument that Flemish is it's own standalone language.


    My belgium friends disagree. They embrace it being called Flemish, because it is pretty different than Dutch when it comes to how "aggressive" it is between one another.

    • 2083

    CosmoKaiza, yes, the ISO also has Flemish as a language. This is the West Flemish spoken in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, between Dunkerque and Lille. The European Union has a law about the rights of minority languages. France has sort of recognised this 'Flemish' as a minority language and therefore it is now officially a language. This is more a bureaucratic than a linguistic thing. In the Dutch language area, however, it is seen as a dialect of Dutch.

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