Frans Timmermans: the Dutch should learn more German

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An article from die Welt here in German has an interview with new Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who believes that Netherlanders should study more German. Timmermans is said to know seven languages fluently, certainly possible but newspapers have a tendency to exaggerate.

Timmermans lives in Limburg, and speaks of Germany thus:

"We come to Aachen every week, buy books and drink coffee. Germany is close to me, which is different from the Hague where the government is. Holland is more oriented towards England than Germany, even though development in Germany is more important to us. The Netherlands is a supplier to the German export industry.
On Germany before vs. after unification:

The view from Berlin is different from Bonn. The attention to Holland has decreased. But in recent years the fateful connection between the two countries has increased, especially in the Euro crisis.
And to the question: "How is it that more and more Netherlanders speak bad German, while Germany is becoming more and more important?"

I'm active with "Mach Mit!", an initiative for the German language in the Netherlands. There is a tragic misunderstanding in Europe today, where people think that English is enough...for us it means that we have no advantage over other countries in Germany if we do not know German or know too little about Germany. Many smaller German companies do not like it when you speak English to them.

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