Dutch Shares Stage With Frisian in European Parliament

Flag of Friesland of Netherlands
Flag of Friesland of Netherlands

European Parliament is dedicating a session to Europe’s minority languages, and Frisian is getting its big debut on the Parliament floor, according to Dutch News.

The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, and has about 500,000 speakers who live in the Netherlands and Germany. There are three types of Frisian (West Frisian, Saterland Frisian, and North Frisian). Saterland and North Frisian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages in Germany, while West Frisian is one of the two official languages of the Netherlands, the other being Dutch.

Jan Huitema, a Dutch politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands, is set to speak for one minute in his province’s native tongue in hopes of promoting the cultural and historical significance of the language.

Huitema, a member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, told the Dutch broadcasting foundation Nederlandse Omroep Stichting that he looked forward to Frisian having ‘its day in the sun’ despite the fact that few audience members will be able to understand what he is saying.

According to Dutch News, the meeting has been organized by a group of around 60 MEPs who represent minority languages such as Scottish Gaelic, Catalan, and Low Saxon.

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