Sign Language of the Netherlands


A language of Netherlands

Alternate Names
Dutch Sign Language, NGT, Nederlandse Gebarentaal, SLN

20,500 in Netherlands, all users. L1 users: 15,000 in Netherlands (2019 EUD). Population estimates vary widely, in part because they count different things: 15,000 Deaf sign language users (2019 EUD). 10,000–13,000 deaf or severely hard of hearing (Dovenschap brochure). 16,000 sign language users, deaf and hearing (Crasborn 2001). 45,000 deaf, 495,000 hard of hearing (2005 National Hearing Foundation). 86,500 deaf (2014 IMB). L2 users: 5,500 (1997 Commissie Nederlandse Gebarentaal). Total users in all countries: 20,500 (as L1: 15,000; as L2: 5,500).



Language Status

5 (Developing).


Groningen, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Brabant, Standard. In addition to the standardized variety, five dialects developed around the original five deaf schools (Stoop 2014), and there is a seventh associated with the unique home for deaf elderly people.


One-handed fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl].

Language Use

Vigorous. Deaf schools. Deaf associations. Used by all.

Language Development

TV. Theater. Dictionary. Grammar. Agency: Deaf Association of the Netherlands.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

499 working sign language interpreters (2019 EUD). Organizations for SLN teachers and interpreters. A sign center (Nederlands Gebarencentrum) develops NGT teaching materials and studies NGT lexicography. Research on NGT done at University of Amsterdam and Radboud University. Although NGT recommended for official recognition by a special committee, the Dutch government has not recognized the language (Schermer 2012). Taught as L2 (e.g. parents of deaf children). Teachers at deaf schools and interpreters have official college-level training. Secular, Christian.

Also spoken in:

Expand All
Collapse All
Page Views Left: