Bilingualism Matters opens in the Netherlands

Dr Maaike Verrips opens the new branch of Bilingualism Matters in the Netherlands

The latest branch of Bilingualism Matters has opened in Amsterdam, as part of the major EU AThEME project.

The new branch of Bilingualism Matters is based in the Language Studio, who already host a successful language information website ( The branch launch was held to coincide with the Drongofestival , an annual festival celebrating the diverse languages and cultures in the Netherlands.

Valuing the home language

Dr Maaike Verrips, the force behind the Drongo festival and the new Director of Bilingualism Matters in the Netherlands, explained why such initiatives are needed.

“In the Netherlands, many ethnic minority parents attribute a low status to their home language. As a result, the families can end up communicating in a restricted mixture of limited home language, and limited Dutch. When parents and children don’t have a word in common, how can they communicate that concept between themselves? other parents, even the most well-educated, often worry (mistakenly) that speaking a second language will result in developmental delays in their child – completely the opposite of what research tells us. The Dutch branch of Bilingualism Matters can help make sure that when people make decisions about the language education of their children, they do so based on what we know from the scientific study of bilingualism.”

Professor Antonella Sorace travelled from Edinburgh to give a keynote address at the opening event, in which she also stressed that promoting bilingualism should not mean that we promote English above all other languages. The full video of her speech can be viewed on this youtube link , courtesy of the Drongo Festival team. An English transcript of the video is available as a pdf file: Bilingualism Matters in the Netherlands launch_Antonella Sorace

For more information about Meertalig and the Dutch branch of Bilingualism Matters, visit their website:
For more information on branches of Bilingualism Matters around Europe, visit our branches page: Bilingualism Matters branches