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Multilingual The Hague


Admission requirements

A BA degree in language and/or linguistics


The Hague is known as the most segregated city of The Netherlands, while it also has more inhabitants with a non-Dutch background than either Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Its proportion of such inhabitants is currently more than 50% and growing. Yet how many languages are being spoken in the city is unknown. All this makes The Hague into a linguistic goldmine, and yet, surprisingly, multilingual The Hague has rarely been the object of scholarly research. In this course we will explore the multilingual nature of the city in as many aspects as possible. We will study its linguistic landscape, try to find out what language policy or policies operate officially as well as unofficially, and study people’s attitudes to the different languages spoken, their own and those of others, To this end, we will draw upon the Royal Academy (KNAW) document “Talen voor Nederland”, to see how the city’s multilingualism can be fully and beneficially explored. Moreover, we will, in the context of the LUCIDE project (, aim to develop a similar toolkit for The Hague as was drawn up for Utrecht, and see which of the two cities has the best qualifications for calling itself a linguistic hotspot. And finally, we will try to contribute to finding an answer to the question of how many languages are actually being spoken in The Hague.

Course objectives

This course will give students a good insight into all aspects of multilingualism in an urban context. It will do so on the basis of state-of-the-art research on the topic, and on the basis of students’ own fieldwork into a major city’s linguistic landscape and through interviewing local informants of different social backgrounds. Students’ own research will produce tools that, when made more widely available, will enable a thorough analysis of the linguistic situation of one of the major cities of The Netherlands.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

  • Time spent on attending the seminars: 26 hours

  • Time for studying the weekly background literature and doing weekly assignments: 130 hours

  • Time to prepare for making a presentation (40 hours) and writing a paper (84 hours) (including reading/research): 124 hours

Assessment method

  • presentation (including giving peer feedback) 20%

  • a final paper 60%

  • course contribution (including the writing of blog posts) 20%

To pass, no component mark should be lower than 5. Please note that weekly attendance is compulsory. Should any classes (with a maximum of two) have been missed due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, a summary of the background reading will have to be submitted. In case of an insufficient mark for the essay, it may be rewritten. There will be no opportunity to resit the presentation.


Blackboard will be used for the weekly schedule (topics and course preparation) and communication with the students.

Reading list

King, Lid and Lorna Carson (eds.). 2016. The Multilingual City: Vitality, Conflict and Change. Bristol etc.: Multilingual Matters
Smakman, Dick and Patrick Heinrich (eds.). 2018. Urban Sociolinguistics: The City as a Linguistic Process and Experience. London/New York: Routledge.
Talen voor Nederland: KNAW, 2018.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid (forthc.). The Languages of The Hague. The Hague: De Nieuwe Haagsche.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk


Please note that ordering books from abroad may take more time than expected. We will need the books listed from week 1 onwards.