Published May 17, 2018
This video was recorded by Guillem Belmar in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, where he and Sjoukje work at Afûk, a Frisian advocacy organization. West Frisian, also simply called Frisian, is spoken by as many as 470,000 people, primarily in the Dutch province of Friesland, where Leeuwarden (natively, Ljouwert) is the capital city. A Germanic language of the Indo-European family, West Frisian is the most widely spoken of the Frisian languages, which include North and Saterland Frisian; collectively, the Frisian languages are among the most closely related to English and Scots. A literary language since at least the 17th century CE, Frisian media became especially common in the nineteenth century. Thanks to a lively activist movement, it has been a regionally official language in the Netherlands since 1956, and enjoys special protection in the European Union today.