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Limburgish in the Netherlands

Language designations:

  • In the language itself: Limburgs 1)
  • ISO 639-3 standard: lim

Language vitality according to:

Linguistic aspects:

Language standardization

There have been several different orthographies for Limburgish. “Vereniging Veldeke” has published the first official “Veldeke-spelling (orhography)” for Limburgish in 1952. The second orthography followed in 1983. However, in 2003, the third orthography, ‘Spelling 2003’, was published and officially accepted by ‘De Raod veur ’t Limburgs’. This document has some guidelines for the orthography of all Limburgian dialects2).


Language Area

Limburgish in the Netherlands is spoken in the province of Limburg 3). Limburg is situated in the southern part of the Netherlands. The map below shows the province of Limburg.

Source: 4)

However, Limburgish is also spoken in Belgium and Germany 5).

Speaker numbers

In 2001 there were around 700.000 speakers of Limburgish in the Netherlands 6).

Education of the language

History of language education:

On the 19th of Oktober 1995, the Secretary of State for the Interior agreed with the addition of Lower Saxon and Yiddish to the list of languages to be protected by part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages 7). However, this did not include Limburgish. So, a working group was set up and, on the first of March 1996, the working group “Werkgroep Erkenning Limburgs als Streektaal” published a recommendation to add Limburgish to the list of languages to be protected too. They stated that Limburgish in principle does not differ form Lower Saxon and therefore had to be added to the list 8). On the 20th of September 1996, the Ministry of the Interior adopted this recommendation and on the 20th of February 1997, Limburgish became listed under part II of Charter 9).

Legislation of language education

The listing of Limburgish under part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages facilitates its promotion across different layers of society such as education. Beside, there is a law, ‘De Wet op het Primair Onderwijs’, in which it is stated that Dutch is the medium of instruction, but, in places were the dialect or regional language is vivid, this language may be used as medium for instruction too 10).

Institutional support for education of the language:

For elementary school, the ‘Road veur ‘t Limburgs’ and ‘het Bureau Streektaal Nederlands-Limburg’ developed some teaching materials up to grade 5, which were published in 2005 11) 12). These materials mainly concern attitudes towards different languages, including Limburgish, and only to a lesser extent learning the Limburgish language 13). The materials are available in different dialects of Limburgish and in Dutch.14)

For grade 6 and higher there is a teaching brochure called 'Limburgs op de kaart'15). It explains the different characteristics of the varieties in Limburgish. Its aim is to make the pupils aware of the differences between varieties in Limburgish and contributing to a positive attitude towards Limburgish16). Online, there is also some inspiration material available for teachers.

For secondary education materials exist for grade 9 and directed at all the different educational levels present in the Netherlands (Vwo, Havo and Vmbo). The materials were developed for both Limburgish as well as non-Limburgish speaking pupils 17).

The Province of Limburg subsidized a course developed for Higher Vocational Education. This course was named “Limburgs Dialect” or” Liergank Limburgs”. The aim was to make Limburgish also accepted during administrative meetings 18).

Language learning materials:

Elementary school: 'Dien eige taal' and for grade 6 and higher there is a teaching folder called 'Limburgs op de kaart'

Secondary education:'Wiejer in dien taal'

Higher Vocational Education: the course 'Limburgs Dialect’ or ‘Liergank Limburgs’

Education presence

It's unclear how many hours in class are spent on Limburgish, nor on the extent to which above-mentioned materials are used in class.

Online learning resources

Online, there is a course to learn Roermonds 19). Roermonds is one of the varieties of Limburgish. The course is for everyone who speaks Dutch and wants to learn some Limburgish20). You can find it here: Learn Roermonds!. However, it is very basic and without examples of the correct pronunciation.

If you are able to speak Limburgish but you also want to learn how to write in Limburgish, You can use the website: to practice and find information on writing in Limburgish. You can also use the website to practice the various sounds in Limburgish words.

A document on Limburgish orthography ‘Spelling 2003’ is available online and can be used to learn to write in Limburgish. The pdf-document can be found here: Spelling 2003

Pierre Bakkes, Herman Crompvoets, Jan Notten and Frans Walraven, Spelling 2003 voor Limburgse dialecten (2003),
7) , 8) , 9)
Sjaak Kroon and Ton Vallen, ‘Dialect in Limburg’, Studie in Meertaligheid, 5 (2004), 11-32 (p. 29
Sjaak Kroon and Ton Vallen, ‘Dialect in Limburg’, Studie in Meertaligheid, 5 (2004), 11-32 (p. 32
11) , 13) , 14) , 15) , 16)
Limburgse Dialecten. (n.d.). Educatie. Limburgse Dialecten.
12) , 17) , 18)
Sjaak Kroon and Ton Vallen, ‘Dialect in Limburg’, Studie in Meertaligheid, 5 (2004), 11-32 (p. 31
languages/limburgish_in_the_netherlands.1583751882.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/03/09 12:04 by ydwine

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