Governance agreement to protect Papiamentu on Bonaire

Today, the governance agreement for Papiamentu on Bonaire was signed by the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), Kajsa Ollongren, and the Commissioner of the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB), Nina den Heyer. Minister Ollongren also did this on behalf of the Ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education, Culture and Science), Arie Slob (Primary and Secondary Education) and the State Secretary for BZK, Raymond Knops.

Minister Kajsa Ollongren

Papiamentu is the native language of Bonaire. Because more and more languages are being spoken on Bonaire, the protection of Papiamentu is of utmost importance. The discussions that were carried on about this between the Central Government, the OLB, the Foundation SPLIKA and the Fundashon Akademia Papiamentu led to this governance agreement.

All parties involved thus want to protect and promote Papiamentu on Bonaire. For the people of present and future generations. To accomplish this, ambitions were expressed to, among other things, analyse the level of Papiamentu and guarantee that the language is not just spoken, but that school leavers can also actually read and write it. It was also agreed in the governance agreement that the parties shall examine the incorporation of a joint organisation. The said organisation should commit to the preservation and the further development of Papiamentu as well as the culture that is connected to the Papiamentu language. To this end, contact is also sought with the countries Aruba and Curaçao where Papiamentu is also spoken.  

Minister Ollongren: “Language is important to all of us. It also defines who we are. Thanks to our language we belong to a certain country or a certain group. Papiamentu is under pressure of the other languages on Bonaire. That is why this agreement is important. It represents an important addition to existing legislation.”

Commissioner Den Heyer: “The Papiamentu language is an important part of the cultural heritage of Bonaire, because the rich history, culture and identity of Bonaire are archived and are developed further in it.

Multiple languages are spoken on Bonaire, but Papiamentu remains the language that connects all groups of the population together. It is a memorable moment in the history of Bonaire.”

To make sure that all ambitions are also actually realised and to monitor the progress, consultation regularly takes place between the parties. The governance agreement does not stand alone. Namely, at the OLB and the interest groups, the foundation SPLIKA and the Fundashon Akademia Papiamentu, the desire is present to also have Papiamentu recognised pursuant to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Minister also wants to examine this together.