Why Don’t Many Indonesians Speak Dutch?

Long time ago, for around 3.5 centuries from around 1600 until around 1900 Indonesian was colonized by the Dutch. 3.5 centuries is a very long time. During the time, many of Indonesians interact and meet Dutch people.

However, nowadays, we can’t easily find Indonesian people, even the elder that can speak Dutch fluently. In addition, most of Indonesian people can’t speak and understand Dutch at all.

You might find this fact confusing because you might assume that Indonesian people learn how to speak Dutch during the colonization. So, why now don’t many Indonesians speak Dutch?

Why Indonesians still only able to speak using Indonesian and the local language (and English, of course for some of them)? Find the answer and complete explanation below:

Read more about origin of Indonesian language:

Not All of Area in Indonesia are Accessible for Dutch People

Indonesia is a large country that consists of thousands of islands. People in Indonesia live in the cities and rural or even in area that has difficult access.

Even, until now, Indonesian government sometimes faced a difficult access when want to visit a certain area. Imagine how hard it was for Dutch people to reach all of Indonesian people in all area. Not all of area in Indonesia are accessible for Dutch people, so most of them can’t speak and understand Dutch.

Not All of Indonesian People Have Access to Education

During Dutch colonization in Indonesia, education is a great privilege. Most of the people even struggle for only eating and sleeping. Learning and pursuing higher education is a privilege that they can’t even think about it.

Most of them can only focus on surviving day by day. As a result, they only can speak language that they already know. They don’t have the chance to learn more about Dutch language. As a result, until now, not many Indonesians able to speak Dutch.

Dutch Language Was Too Hard For Indonesian People

Indonesian language and local Indonesian local language are relatively easier language to learn for Indonesian people. Dutch language with the difficult words and pronunciation was too hard for Indonesian people.

As a result, Dutch and Indonesian people often have difficulty when talking to each other. Finally, the Dutch people choose to speak using Malay rather than teaching Indonesian people on how to speak using Dutch language.  

Indonesian People Don’t Want to Use Dutch Language

Several Indonesian people during colonization don’t want to obey Dutch people. They want to be independent as a country. They try to fight and strive for Independence of Indonesia.

One of the effort that they did was speaking using Indonesian language. They don’t want to be colonized by speaking using Dutch language. As we all know, in Indonesian Youth Pledge, they stated that the national language in Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia. As a result, until now, Indonesian people using Bahasa Indonesia as the national language.

Even though not many Indonesians can speak Dutch, there are many Indonesian words that influenced by Dutch language. For example:

  • Absen from absent
  • Peron from Perron
  • Petisi from petitie
  • Lokasi from locatie
  • Sugesti from suggestie
  • Gubernur from gouverneur
  • And many many more.

Read more about Dutch words in Indonesian:

That’s all about the answer for question “why don’t many Indonesians speak Dutch”. Thank you for reading. I hope the information will be helpful for you.