After 15 years of struggle, recognition for Papiamentu as a regional language in Bonaire

KRALENDIJK – On December 22, 2009, the Island Council of Bonaire, in a historic motion, urged the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages to Papiamentu in Bonaire. 

On January 22, 2024, nearly 15 years later, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs declared to the Council of Europe that the Charter would apply to Papiamentu in Bonaire.

This makes ‘The Hague’ jointly responsible for the protection and promotion of Papiamentu, with accountability to the Council of Europe every five years. Netherlands must now take measures for primary education in Papiamentu and ensure that judges can conduct proceedings in this language.


According to Akademia Papiamentu in Bonaire, the recognition of Papiamentu demonstrates the evolution of language policy in the Netherlands, thanks to collaboration between NGOs, scientists, and local authorities. 

The organization congratulates the residents on this achievement and expresses gratitude for the support received from allies, such as the Europeesk Buro voor Lytse Talen.

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