THE HAGUE - The Netherlands wants to recognize Papiamento on Bonaire as a regional language. On Friday, the Kingdom Council of Ministers submitted a proposal to include Papiamentu under the 'European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages'.
Bonaire has pushed hard in the Netherlands for the recognition of the language. Since 1998, the Charter has officially only been valid in the European part of the Netherlands for the protection and promotion of regional and minority languages. Bonaire used the argument that Papiamento is also spoken in the European Netherlands.
The current cabinet is now looking at the possibility of extending the Charter to the Caribbean part of the Netherlands. An administrative agreement with Bonaire shows that recognition is important because Papiamentu is weakened and under pressure. Recognition of the language would 'structurally strengthen' Papiamentu. The decision is also important for Curaçao and Aruba, because the language is also spoken on these islands.