Friday, August 08, 2008

Amsterdam Must Become Bilingual

This was the title of an article published by Dutch newspaper the Parool in both Dutch and English about a proposal by Jan Paternotte, member of the Amsterdam City Council to make English as the second language of the city, because "simply because it is the world language and a lot of American and British people live here or come over here for their holidays.'' Paternotte wants among other demands he put in front of Amsterdam City Council to follow the example of Barcelona and put up a police post in the city centre, where tourists can report a crime to the police in English twenty-four hours a day - Such a post exists in Barcelona on the Ramblas. In addition, Paternotte wants a post where police officers also speak French, German and Spanish.

Very interesting proposal, but we have to take into the consideration a number of factors: According to the Central Beaurau of Statistics, in 2007 only there have been 179 different nationalities living in Amsterdam (even New York could not match that number where it only has 150 nationalities living there). I didn't mention the Russians who showed this year an increasing interest in visiting Amsterdam, and in groups. Does this qualifies English to become the second language in the city? I think there are more Spanish than English speaking people living and visiting Amsterdam on regular basis, not only during high seasons, but around the year. Should this be the main factor to consider Spanish to be qualified to become the second language in Amsterdam?


Anonymous said...

Apart from the idea itself being somewhat weird.... most Dutch ppl speak English anyway, so, er...?

bluesky said...

A great site for ESL students is is a dual-purpose site for building an English vocabulary and raising money for under privileged children in the most impoverished places around the world.

Check it out at