De Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal (Word List of the Dutch Language)
March 10, 2013
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
De Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal (The Word List of the Dutch Language) is published by the Nederlandse Taalunie. Revised every 10 years, it is available in hardcopy form as het Groene Boekje (Green Booklet), as well as online at woordenlijst.org. The list reflects the “official spelling” of Dutch words.
Not surprisingly, there has been conflict over what should be deemed “official.”
In the Netherlands, after a 2005 Green Booklet revision became law in 2006, trouble struck. According to Gerdi Quist and Dennis Strik in their Essential Dutch Dictionary, “A number of Dutch newspapers and magazines strongly criticized the revisions adopted for the new spelling—which attempted to iron out confusions, complexities, and ambiguous rules in the 1995 spelling—and founded Platform de Witte Spelling (the white spelling platform) which, together with het Genootschap Onze Taal (literally, the our language association, an organization of language experts and aficionados) devised an alternative spelling, de Witte Spelling, which was published in het Witte Boekje (the little white book).”
(That was a really hard quotation to follow. Sorry.)
Anyway, today there is green spelling and there is white spelling. The media in the Netherlands use the white spelling, while government organizations there are green spellers. Belgium is generally green, too.
A moral of this story seems to me to be, it is very hard to make people spell the way you want them to. For example, do you write “canceled” or “cancelled”?