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Batavianization or Batavianisation (see -ise vs -ize) also known as Dutchification and; historically, as Belgianization, is the spread of the Dutch language, people and/or culture either by force or assimilation. In Dutch it is known as vernederlandsing or neerlandisatie.


The term Batavianization, derives its name from the Batavi, a Germanic tribe living in the Netherlands, and long regarded as the mythical ancestors of the Dutch people. The term Dutchification is mostly used in English publications by Dutch authors, less so by native English-speakers. This likely has to do with the fact that Dutch isn't a Latin-derived term and hence sounds somewhat childish to some ears in combination with the (Latinate) suffix -fication. As for Belgianization, Belgae was the standard term in Latin to refer to the Dutch (compare the Leo Belgicus, United Belgian States and Belgic Confession for example) in the Late Middle Ages. After the establishment of Belgium, its use generally shifted to mean Belgicism.

Historical Batavianization[edit]

The Netherlands[edit]

In the Netherlands, most of the Batavianization was of a linguistic and, to a lesser extent cultural nature, and was focused on the Frisian region. Beginning at the end of the migration period, Dutch nobles sought to conquer the Frisian lands, in which they largely succeeded around the end of the High Middle Ages. The conquest was gradual and moved from the West to the East. By the time the Frisian heartland (the modern province of Friesland) was conquered, many Frisians formerly living in West Frisia had already fled and the region was subsequently colonized by Dutch settlers. In the remaining Frisian territory, a ruling Dutch upper class was instituted, the legacy of which can still be found in Stadsfries. The Frisian language has since adopted large amounts of Dutch vocabulary, to such an extent that many objects or concepts originating after the Dutch conquest are nearly all calques or loanwords from Dutch.

Despite Batavianization and the general idea that Frisians were underdeveloped and rural, Frisians never were the subject of ethnic discrimination or willful linguistic or cultural oppression.


In Belgium batavianization was an essential part of the political objectives of the Flemish movement, a social movement seeking acknowledgement of the Dutch language and culture. When Belgium was established in 1830, the Francophone government oppressed the Dutch populace. Dutch was banned from higher education, politics and justice in favour of French. Hence Batavianization in Belgium largely refers to the process of replacing French as the language of education in universities and as the language of culture among the elite.

New Netherland[edit]

In the toponymy of New Netherland, a 17th-century province in North America, Batavianization is seen in many place names based in Delaware languages.

For the concept of "Batavianization" in colonial North America, see:

  • John M. Murrin, "English Rights as Ethnic Aggression: The English Conquest, the Charter of Liberties of 1683, ... suggests that "Batavianization" played as significant a role as "Anglicization" in early New York.


  • Richard C. Simmons - 1976: The American colonies: from settlement to independence -
  • Joyce D. Goodfriend: Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York City, 1664-1730 -
  • Jeremy Adelman, Stephen Aron (2001): Trading cultures: the worlds of Western merchants : essays on authority ...
  • Ned C. Landsman: Crossroads of Empire: The Middle Colonies in British North America
  • Amy Turner Bushnell - 1995: Establishing exceptionalism: historiography and the colonial Americas -


For the concept of "Batavianization" in colonial Dutch East Indies, see:

  • Gerald H. Krausse - 1988: Urban Society in Southeast Asia: Political and cultural issues -

See also[edit]