Difference Between Dutch and German

Main Difference – Dutch vs German

Both Dutch and German belong to the West Germanic language of Indo-European language family. Since they share common origins and are used in the same geographical area, there are marked differences between these two languages. Both German and Dutch speakers often find it easy to learn and understand the other language due to these similarities. However, each language has its own unique features, and so do German and Dutch. There are certain differences between Dutch and German based on pronunciation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. The main difference between Dutch and German lies in their grammar system; Dutch has abandoned the subjunctive form and the case system, unlike German.Difference Between Dutch and German- infographic

What is Dutch

Dutch is a West Germanic language that is spoken in the European Union. The majority of the population of the Netherlands and about sixty percent of the population Belgium speak it as the first language. About 23 million people use Dutch as their first language, and another 5 million people speak it as a second language.

Dutch is closely related to both German and English, and it is said that Dutch is more or less between English and Dutch. When we consider aspects like syntax and verb morphology, Dutch is grammatically similar to German. But its vocabulary mostly contains Germanic words; there are more loan words from Romance languages than German but fewer than English. Dutch has not undergone the High German consonant shift; it has also mostly abandoned the use of the subjunctive and case system. Dutch also uses the Latin script.

Difference Between Dutch and German

What is German

German is a West Germanic language that is largely spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol, and Liechtenstein. German is one of the major languages of the world. It is the most widely spoken native language in the European Union; it is also the first language of about 95 million people around the world. About 80 million people use it as their second language.

German has several standard versions; Swiss German, Pennsylvania German, and Austrian German are some of these varieties.

German vocabulary is mostly influenced by the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Many German words are borrowed from Latin and Greek; few words are also borrowed from French and English. German language has more inflections than English; it has four cases and three genders, and the verbs are conjugated according to person and number. German has the same letter system as Dutch, but certain letters are pronounced differently. For example,  K in German is aspirated, and the G in Dutch is guttural.

Main Difference - Dutch vs German

Difference Between Dutch and German


Dutch is mainly spoken in Netherlands and Belgium.

German is mainly spoken in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol, and Liechtenstein.

Native Speakers

Dutch has fewer native speakers than German.

German has more native speakers than Dutch.


Dutch is not as popular as German.

German is one of the most popular languages in the world.


Dutch is regulated by Nederlandse Taalunie. (Dutch Language Union)

German is not regulated officially.

Case System

Dutch no longer uses the case system.

German has four cases.


Dutch does not use subjunctive form.

German uses a subjunctive form.


Dutch vocabulary is influenced by Germanic and Romance languages.

German vocabulary is more influenced by Germanic languages.

Image Courtesy:

“Map Dutch World scris” (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

“Continental West Germanic languages” By Rex Germanus –  uploaded by Electionworld (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasa

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