States Bible (1637)
emergence of New Dutch (Nieuwnederlands)
the late sixteenth century, the Dutch and Flemish revolted
their ruler, King Philip II of Spain. Though the Flemish uprising
was quashed, the Dutch were successful in their revolt and became
independent. As a result, the South (present-day Flanders) stayed
under Spanish rule and remained Catholic. The Northern provinces (the
Netherlands) became a republic and adopted Protestantism. Especially
after the so-called Fall of Antwerp (>link)
in 1585, many Flemings fled the oppressive regime of the Spanish and
settled in Holland. By 1622, one third of the Amsterdam population
was of Southern origin. This figure even rose to two thirds in the
university city of Leyden. The arts and commerce flourished in the
new Republic, giving rise to the Dutch Golden Age (>link).
To a great extent, its splendour hinged on the intellectual and financial
capital arriving from the South. Of course these refugees brought
with them their own language and this resulted in a great influx of
linguistic features typical of southern dialects. For many centuries
Flanders had been a major cultural and economic centre, so these southern
features, by association, carried great prestige and were readily
adopted in the North.
the new Republic of the Netherlands adopted Protestantism, Latin
the language of the Catholic Church was discarded in favour
of Dutch. This move quickly enhanced the status of the native language.
Soon, the need for a Dutch Bible translation became acute.
1619 onwards and for a total of 18 years, a group of learned scholars
from different provinces worked on what was to become the States
Bible (>link) (Statenbijbel).
As the translation had to be intelligible throughout the Republic,
they were forced to find compromises and to reconcile the spelling,
grammar, and vocabulary of all the provinces in the country. When
the States Bible finally appeared in 1637, the Dutch had gained for
the very first time in their history a written standard of the Dutch
out from the Bible became a daily routine in the majority of Dutch
households, so the spread of this new standard language in the North
was unstoppable. Because of the Spanish occupation, however, the Flemish
were cut off from this standard language. This put Dutch speakers
in Flanders at a severe disadvantage.
(>link) to find out more about the
linguistic features of New Dutch.