U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

4. Minority groups: To what extent are minority groups in this country disadvantaged by their language?

The unemployment rate in the Netherlands is highest among low-skilled and unskilled workers. Migrants are over-represented in these two groups. The employment prospects for ethnic minorities and people with a low level of education remained poor, despite the sharp drop in unemployment. Language is a barrier to education, training and to workplace communications.

Consequently it is only the most menial work, for which no native employees can be found, that is available to the migrant worker. Often it is hard, dirty and monotonous work, such as in the steel industry and the cleaning sector, and at unsocial or irregular hours.

Updated (December 2002)


In 1999 and 2000, a study was carried out on the use of Frisian in Friesland as a teaching language at primary schools in connection with the performance of children. Frisian children had lower scores in core subjects (Dutch, Arithmetic) compared to children from other parts of the country.

The research also revealed that only a few schools in Friesland have a language policy for Frisian. With the exception of the 1st and 2nd grades, Frisian is not frequently used. The research showed that Frisian used as a teaching language slightly improved the scores of Frisian-speaking children while the scores of Dutch-speaking children were slightly worse as a result.

Source: Mercator Education, Regional Dossiers, the Frisian Language in Education in the Netherlands, http://www1.fa.knaw.nl/mercator/regionale_dossiers/frisian_nl.htm

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