Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders) and Suriname. Dutch is also an official language of Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten.
The Dutch are the people who live in the Netherlands, or those that come from the Netherlands. Often the Netherlands is called Holland, but this is only part of the Netherlands.
Kingdom of the Netherlands
|Kingdom of the Netherlands Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Dutch)|
|Countries (non‑sovereign parts)||Aruba Curaçao Netherlands Sint Maarten|
|Government||Devolved unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces but many people use “Holland” when talking about the Netherlands. The two provinces of Noord- and Zuid-Holland together are Holland. The 12 provinces together are the Netherlands. Holland is often used when all of the Netherlands is meant.
Even after the provinces of the Netherlands united, Holland was still the dominant region. The cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague are in the Hollands.
Specifically the phrase High Dutch referred to people from the mountainous area of what is now southern Germany. Low Dutch referred to people from the flatlands in what is now the Netherlands. Within the Holy Roman Empire, the word Netherlands was used to describe people from the low-lying (nether) region (land).
The Netherlands is not part of Germany but is an independent country. They are however neighboring countries, and the languages of both countries are based on the West Germanic language. In the past, the Netherlands and Germany were both parts of the Holy Roman Empire.
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest.
When it comes to the language spoken here, Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German, while the Netherlands only has one – Dutch. The Netherlands is a unitary state, whereas Belgium is a federal state. That's definitely one of the biggest differences when it comes to the Netherlands vs Belgium.
The most obvious difference when talking with or listening to speakers of Dutch and Flemish is the pronunciation. Even to the untrained ear, the two dialects sound very different. While Flemish tends towards French pronunciations, Dutch in the Netherlands has more of an English feel.
Dutch is a unique language with a lot of interesting features. It's most notable for being within the same language family as German but closely similar to the English language. In other words, it's the link between the two languages. Dutch, however, can't be described as the mixture of German and English.
Belgium is one of those special countries that have three official languages: Dutch, French and German. That's right, Dutch (and not Flemish) is one of the official Belgian languages! ... So, the terms 'Flemish' and 'Belgian Dutch' actually refer to the same language.
Most Dutch people do understand German, as 71% of the Dutch people claim to speak German to a certain extend. This is because German is taught at school in the Netherlands. As well because Dutch and German are both originated from the West Germanic language, which gives them quite some similarities.
The lexical similarity between German and Dutch is roughly as similar as that between Spanish and Italian. While German and Dutch are quite similar in terms of vocabulary, they do differ significantly grammatically. This is because Dutch has evolved to have a 'simpler' grammar structure for a learner.
In the Netherlands, the English language can be spoken by the vast majority of the population, with estimates of English proficiency reaching anywhere from 90% to 93% of the Dutch population.
Officially no part of Germany speaks Dutch, although the language in the border region is a bit of a hybrid between the two languages. Germans living close to the Netherlands can definitely understand Dutch.
The Dutch language is a West Germanic language that is the national language of the Netherlands and, with French and German, one of the three official languages of Belgium. Dutch is also called Netherlandic or Dutch Nederlands; in Belgium it is called Flemish or Flemish Vlaams.
Like Frisian and English, Dutch is another West Germanic language that developed from Proto-Germanic. Because of this, Dutch possesses many words and phrases similar to English and has a similar grammatical structure.