Amsterdam Schiphol Airport as a caricature of The Netherlands language situation.
An article appeared today in Neerlandistiek about the language situation at the airport to point out some of the challenges the Dutch language faces there, and in the world in general. The article in Dutch is quite easy to read.Nieuwe opleiding: BA Schiphol Studies
The title of the article references the recent issue of the discontinuation of the Dutch language degree at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The article basically says that Schiphol is a microcosm of world languages and could be the subject of language research and a degree called International Schiphol Studies
From my point-of-view, having lived in the Netherlands for six years and been to Schiphol many times, Schiphol and the Netherlands in general share these characteristics:
1. Many languages are being spoken.
2. Native Dutch speakers are too busy and too impatient to endure your L2 Dutch.
3. Dutch-language books are very expensive.
4. There is every incentive for Dutch speakers to speak English and very little incentive for L2 Dutch speakers to speak Dutch.
5. Dutch natives are bewildered as to why foreigners would want to learn or speak Dutch.
6. The Dutch have to learn to speak English to prosper at the airport and in the world.
7. Foreigners learn a few Dutch travel phrases but soon forget them outside the airport or the country.
8. Most of the signs and announcements are in English.
9. People assume you can speak English.
These comments are not meant as criticisms. But the Dutch, well known for their frankness, will understand these comments as simply the way it is.