Frisian MPs debate in their own language: ‘Skiednis yn de Twadde Keamer’ | Politics

with videoFrisian may be an official language, but it is almost never spoken in parliament. Today, a number of Frisian MPs wrote history by speaking in Frisian during a debate about the Frisian language and culture.


Walter Peer


Latest update:
08-12-22, 21:07

It can be called a historic day for the Frisian language, says initiator Romke de Jong (D66). “A debate with Frisian MPs, in Frisian, about Frisian. That is unique and it is also necessary.” Besides Dutch, Frisian is also an official language in the province of Friesland. “Skidnis in the Twadde Keamer”, said De Jong in Frisian

Frisian is extremely important for the identity of the Frisians, says De Jong. We must keep the language alive libjend halden, we say in Frisian. The language really lives in the province.” With a two-minute debate in the memmetalmother tongue, D66 member hopes to encourage Minister Hanke Bruins-Slot (Interior Affairs, CDA) to ‘dedicate herself as much as possible’ to the Frisian language and culture.

Language fan it deer

In addition to De Jong, Frisian MPs Harry van der Molen (CDA), Harry Bevers (VVD) and Attje Kuiken (PvdA) also joined the debate. “My roots are in the Randstad, my heart in Friesland,” said Bevers in Frisian. “And in Friesland, Frisian is the language of the heart.”

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Minister Bruins Slot also sees the importance of Frisian, she says during the debate. “More than 300,000 people have Frisian as their mother tongue. Your native language, you memmetalis the language fan ús deer. It’s the language you laugh in, the language you cry in. It is the language with which the nurse in the hospital reassures anxious patients. It is the language in which you feel at home, with which you feel familiar. A language helps define who you are.”

Historically it certainly was, because before this debate the longest, continuous Frisian text ever spoken in our parliament was only three sentences long. Elco Brinkman, then CDA Minister of Welfare, Public Health and Culture, spoke in Frisian in 1987 about the broadcasting time for the Frisian language and culture at Omrop Friesland. Other than that, it remains sporadic it pours oan.

It was still a little tense whether Frisian could be spoken during the debate – the rules of procedure did not clarify whether or not Frisian was allowed in the House of Representatives – but in the end even ferry sitter Vera Bergkamp tacking. ‘Tige tank foar the coming fan the minister and the meeks in the public gallery’, she concluded the debate.

The Frisian flag. Today, a number of Frisian MPs wrote history by speaking in Frisian during a debate about the Frisian language and culture. © ANP / ANP

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