Hollandic dialect

Position of Hollandic (colour: light yellow) among the other minority languages, regional languages and dialects in the Benelux.

Hollandic or Hollandish (Dutch: Hollands [ˈɦɔlɑnts]) is, together with Brabantian, the most frequently used dialect of Dutch language. Other important Low Franconian language varieties spoken in the same area are Zeelandic, East Flemish, West Flemish and Limburgish.


Originally in the later county of Holland, Old Frisian was spoken. Low Franconian settlers did not come until the 12th century and 13th centuries, when Flemish settlers (Frankish-speaking) played an important part in draining the swamplands between the coast of Holland and Utrecht. They mixed with the original inhabitants, and a Hollandic dialect was created that was partly Franconian, partly Frisian.

In the 16th century, Dutch was standardized, the Brabantian Dutch of Antwerp being the most influential. The written language of the county of Holland, then the most urbanised province in Europe, began to imitate the Brabantish standard.

During the Eighty Years' War and especially after 1585, the Sack of Antwerp and the successes of the Duke of Parma in the 1580s made between 100,000 and 200,000 of Brabantish and Flemish Calvinist (and other) refugees and emigrants settle in the cities of Holland proper; that had the result of creating a mixture of their Dutch with the Dutch of the residents already there. The new language perhaps locally destroyed most of the original Hollandic dialects, replacing it with Brabantian influences and further diluting the Frisian influences on Dutch.

It certainly slowed linguistic change by the influence on spoken language of the very conservative written standard. As a result, Standard Dutch still has many similarities with the Brabantian of the late 16th century.

Distance from standard language

The colloquial Dutch in Holland proper (the area of the old county of Holland), particularly the Hollandic spoken in some urban areas today, is closer to the standard than any Dutch anywhere else.

Shades of other dialects

In Friesland, there are areas and cities where Hollandic is spoken, strongly influenced by Frisian. In the north of North Holland, especially in the region of West Friesland, Scheveningen, Katwijk and other coastal places, the original Frisian substratum of the Hollandic dialect is still an important part of the local West Frisian dialect group.

In Zaanstreek (central North Holland), which is an old and traditional region, the old Hollandic dialect can also still be found, Zaans, with little Frisian influence. Some words are similar because of some influence of migrating West Frisian farmers in the 13th to 15th centuries. Zaans can be seen as one of the few (together with Westfries) and oldest original Hollandic dialects and is still spoken today, like old Waterlands dialect, which is still spoken today as well in Volendam. Both Zaans and Waterlands are unintelligible for someone who does not come from that region in North Holland. However, people who speak Zaans, West Frisian and Waterlands are able to understand one another better than outsiders because all three dialects use similar words.

On the South Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee, West Flemish is spoken. In the east and south, the Hollandic dialects gradually become Brabantian forms like the South Guelderish. Utrechts-Alblasserwaards, spoken in the area immediately east of the coastal districts, is considered either a subdialect of Hollandic or a separate dialect.


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