There are approximately 22 million Dutch speakers located around the world. When adding in the people that speak Dutch as a second language, this number rises to about 28 million, per 2018 estimates. Dutch is one of the Germanic languages, and it is the third most widely spoken in the world, falling behind English and German.
In the Netherlands, where it is the official language, the majority of people speak Dutch. About 60% of the people in Belgium also speak Dutch, which is one of the nation’s three official languages.
There are a total of six nations that have Dutch as their official language. In alphabetical order, these nations are: Aruba, Belgium, Curacao, Netherlands, Sint Maarten and Suriname. Dutch is also the official language in the regions of Benelux, European Union, South American Union and Caricom.
Even though it isn’t an official language elsewhere, Dutch is still spoken in other regions and countries worldwide. In Germany and France, there is a minority group of Dutch speakers. In the United States, Australia and Canada, there are about half a million speakers of this language. Dutch has also influenced other languages. The Cape Dutch of Southern Africa has become Afrikaans, a daughter language to Dutch. This is spoken by more than 16 million people throughout Namibia and South Africa.