The use of the English language is on the rise in the Dutch hospitality industry, even in places like Leeuwarden, the Friesch Dagblad reports. While this trend may delight many visitors to Friesland’s provincial capital, it has ignited concerns among local workers who fear being left behind if they are not fluent in English.
Kor van der Meulen of the Royal Frisian Hospitality Association acknowledges the shift. “The majority of our guests are content to place their orders in English,” he notes. “Yet, it remains essential for Dutch employees to master their native language, so that they can communicate with guests who do not speak English.”
In the bustling streets of Amsterdam, it is not uncommon to encounter menus and signs prominently displayed in English. In certain eateries, the staff may exclusively converse in English. A similar transformation appears to be unfolding in Leeuwarden, albeit on a smaller scale.
“This is indeed a trend we are observing,” Van der Meulen reflects. “However, it has not yet escalated into a pressing concern.”
Public opinion on the increasing use of English in Friesland’s hospitality industry is divided. Some see it as a natural consequence of the Netherlands’ status as a multicultural nation and a major tourist destination.
Others are more concerned. They worry that the ascendancy of English could hinder job prospects for locals in the hospitality industry. There are also concerns that it may contribute to the diminishing use of the Frisian language, which holds deep roots in Friesland.
“It poses a threat to our culture,” laments a local waiter. “We ought to take pride in our language and work to preserve it.”
The prevailing view suggests that the ascent of English in Friesland’s enterprises is an unmistakable trend demanding attention, although it remains premature to determine if it will escalate into a significant concern.
Growing presence of English
The increasing use of English in Dutch cities is a complex issue with a long history. In recent decades, the adoption of English as a communication medium has accelerated across Europe due to a number of factors, including the growth of international tourism, growing number of international businesses setting up shop in the EU, the rise of online communication, and the popularity of English-language media and entertainment.
The tourism industry in Friesland is also flourishing, and the province has made significant progress in establishing itself as a regional hub for business and education. In Leeuwarden, numerous enterprises now offer services in the English language, with select signs and menus featuring English.
The ongoing debate over the use of English in Friesland is expected to persist, but it is clear that the English language is gaining significance within the province and is poised to play a pivotal role in its future.