What Is the Difference Between Dutch and Danish?

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Dutch and Danish are two different Germanic languages that may seem similar. Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands and Danish is spoken in Denmark.

Although Dutch and Danish are both classified as Germanic languages, the similarities end there. Dutch is the main language of the Netherlands and is also spoken in Belgium and Luxembourg. Danish, spoken in Denmark, is also spoken in Finland, Norway and Sweden. Aside from being considered a Germanic language, it is also classified as a Scandinavian language. Both languages are also spoken in other countries although they are not as common. Danish is spoken in Germany and Greenland. Dutch speakers also live in Aruba, Curacao and Suriname.

Many non-Europeans, including Americans, are confused about the differences between these two languages and the countries in which they are spoken. Because of the similarities between the countries, the confusion is understandable. The Netherlands and Denmark are both small countries located in northwestern Europe. Danish speakers may, with some effort, be able to understand people who are speaking Norwegian or Swedish. However, there aren’t enough similarities between Danish and Dutch for a Danish-speaking person to understand someone speaking Dutch. Denmark and the Netherlands may also be confused with Norway and Sweden by people who are not familiar with European geography. This would be comparable to Dutch and Danish people not knowing the difference between Iowa and Idaho or Maine and Maryland.