Kosher Dutch. The Ups and Downs of Yiddish in the Netherlands
(Hilde Pach) The Low Countries - 2008, № 16, pp. 127-134
It is to be feared that most of the Dutch are ignorant of a language which is officially recognised by their own government. That is largely because previous, nineteenth-century governments were not very sympathetic towards Yiddish, in which they were following the lead of King William I who acceded to the throne in 1813 and believed that all his subjects should speak Dutch. That included the Jewish population, for whom Yiddish had until then been the main language of communication. His policy bore fruit; within a few decades practically every Jew in the Netherlands spoke Dutch, and Yiddish only survived in various words and phrases. This article takes a look at how the language first arrived in the Netherlands and how it developed there. Along with the growing interest in the history of Eastern European Jewry, the Netherlands is also showing an interest in the legacy of Dutch Yiddish. In short, although a true revival is most unlikely, Yiddish is still far from being forgotten.