Is Dutch a Country?

18th century dutch windmills used to pump water out of lakes to gain land

Congratulations. You have found the answer to your question. And again congratulations on wanting to find an answer to the question: ” Is Dutch a country?” For most people around the world, I guess this is quite common knowledge for a lot of other people it apparently is not since in the US alone 10.000 people a month are trying to find the answer to this question on google.

I congratulate you on your eagerness to learn and thirst for knowledge. It is totally okay you do not know the answer to this question. Especially if you are from the United States. After all, you can not help it your government educates you so poorly yet keeps telling you the country is the best in the world. It’s confusing I know. Perhaps some of you can help it a little bit by voting for someone with a bit of a brain. I’m not sure how well you did last time. I’m just kidding, although we do say every joke holds a truth. Having said that, I honestly admire the fact you are educating yourself.

The answer to your Question

Dutch is not a country, but a language. This language is spoken in a country called the Netherlands, sometimes also wrongly referred to as Holland. ( Holland is nowadays split in north and south holland, and they are provinces in the Netherlands. When people are talking about “THE DUTCH”  they actually mean the people of the Netherlands.

Is Dutch a country they ask haha. Amsterdam City Canals
The canals in the capital of the Netherlands; Amsterdam

The capital city of the Netherlands

Perhaps you would also like to know that Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. This city is more famous than the country and perhaps that is the reason why people are also often asking google what the capital city of Amsterdam is. Another important side note; Dutch people do not wear clogs. They haven’t done so for a few hundred years and even back then only a small percentage of the population did. Check here for some more info on the population of Amsterdam and the fastest-growing capital cities of Europe.

To make things even more complicated and perhaps too irrelevant for your question; “is Dutch a country” is that the Netherlands is one of few countries that does not have its political headquarters in the capital city. These are located in the city of the Hague. This city is also the location of the international criminal court where a lot of war criminals, such as Milosevic, have been prosecuted.

A more realistic picture of the netherlands than your tulip fields

Coming back to the Dutch part

Now, if you are really eager to learn, you might ask yourself;  “why is the language called Dutch when the country is called the Netherlands?” This does not make a hell of a lot of sense. This is similar to the fact that the main language in a country called the United States of America is called English rather than American, as one might expect.

After all, people speak German in Germany, French in France, English in England and Polish in Poland. The answer is closer to USA comparison than you might think. It is a mistake. A similar mistake once happened to the ” White Rhino”.

White Rhinoceros
The white Rhino which is not that white

Sidestep to the white rhino

You see, the white rhino is not white. It actually has the same color as the black rhino. The white rhinoceros was named in the South of Africa in either the modern-day country of South Africa or Namibia. During the 17th and 18th century the Dutch East India Company had trading settlements there which were later taken over by the British East India Company.

The dutch had named the white rhino in their language “wijd” or “wijde” rhino. This Dutch word sounds to English people exactly the same as the English word ” white” but in Dutch actually means wide or broad. As you might know, probably not tho considering your first question, a white rhino can be distinguished from a black one by its wide lips among other things.

Amsterdam 17th century houses

Back to the Dutch confusion

The people from the Netherlands themselves call their own country Nederland and their language Nederlands. Makes sense right? Neighboring country Germany is called Duitsland by the people of the Netherlands and Deutschland by the people of Germany. Similar right? So are the languages. Dutch and German sound very alike to foreign people such as English. Get the confusion? Deutsch is Dutch. The word Dutch should have actually referred to the German language. Language is a funny thing.

You might have actually heard of Pennsylvania Dutch. Here the same confusion has been made. The majority of people living in Pennsylvania, also the Amish, are actually of German descent and not Dutch. A few hundred years later everyone seems to have forgotten this. There are actually yearly celebrations in Pennsylvania to celebrate their Dutch heritage which does not exist. Funny right?

Then why do the English call Deutschland Germany

Perhaps we should ask why the Germans call themselves Deutschland instead. The English name for the country comes from the Roman empire. The Romans referred to the country as Germania. In the case of Switzerland, it is the other way around where the people of Swiss refer to their country as Helvetia, which was the Roman name.

So Germany is actually derived from Latin like a lot of the English language, call me if you like to know more, Deutschland is derived from the Germanic language on which the modern-day German language is actually based. “Deutsch” in the old Germanic language means folk or people. So Dutch in a sense does too.

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