Grand Dictation of the Dutch Language

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The Grand Dictation of the Dutch Language (Dutch: Groot Dictee der Nederlandse Taal) is a televised spelling test for adults organized by the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant and the Dutch public broadcaster NTR.[1]

The Grand Dictation is held annually since 1991 in December and televised on Dutch and Dutch-language Belgian television. The Dictation is presented and read by Dutch former anchorman Philip Freriks. Since 2005 Freriks presents jointly with Belgian anchorwoman Martine Tanghe, except in 2011 when Tanghe was recovering from breast cancer.

The dictation takes place in the plenary hall of the First Chamber in The Hague. Each year there are about sixty participants: forty from the Netherlands and twenty from Belgium. Half of each group consists of invited prominent figures and half of member of the public, selected from a qualifying round in De Morgen and de Volkskrant.

Since 2004, the text of the Dictation is written by prominent writers, including Jan Mulder and Remco Campert (2004), Herman Koch (2005), Martin Bril (2006), Jan Wolkers (2007), Kristien Hemmerechts (2008), Gerrit Komrij (2009), Tommy Wieringa (2010), Arnon Grunberg (2011) and Adriaan van Dis (2012).

The spelling rules adhered to are those of the so-called Green Booklet. For words not mentioned in the Green Booklet, the Van Dale dictionary applies.

Of the 23 editions twelve were won by Flemish and ten by Dutch contestants. Once, in 2011, first place was shared between a Dutch and a Belgian contestant. The Belgian newscaster Freek Braeckman is the only invited prominent figure to have won. The Walloon journalist Christophe Deborsu was the first French-speaking participant (2011).


  1. ^, accessed June 6, 2011.