It is on behalf of the executive committee and the staff of the Stellingwarver Schrieversronte that we welcome you on our website. As you may have gathered, the Frisian language is spoken in the greater part of the province, but in the south-east people have a different native tongue; similar to the regional languages of Drenthe, Groningen, Overijssel and Gelderland, which as a whole, are recognised as Low Saxon (‘Nedersaksisch’), under part two of the European charter for regional and minority languages. It is since 1972 that the Foundation Stellingwarver Schrieversronte focusses its activities on the inhabitants of the region formed by the burroughs East- en and West-Stellingwarf. The region has a population of about 52.000. Stellingwarfs is also spoken in the region of Steenwijkerland (province of Overijssel), in a part of the municipality of Westerveld in Drenthe and also in the village of Smilde and surroundings, also in the province of Drenthe. Stellingwarfs has become a minority language, also in the region itself.

It is typical for the minority languages to have a long oral tradition. The written Stellingwarfs appers for the first time in 1840 in the Frisian Almanac. There is only a small group of Stellingwarvian writers who can be counted in the literature of the nineteenth century: Steffen Lammert Brug, Geert L. van der Zwaag, Jan Prakken and Linze de Jong.

Around the turning of the twentieth century publisher and amateur historian Jan Hendriks Popping from Oosterwolde played also an active part in the area of the Stellingwarvian language. He published his own open air play called Uut het leven (‘Real life’) in 1918, and it was performed in Oosterwolde as well as in Appelscha, that same year. After Popping, Hendrik Johannes Bergveld became a well known writer. Apart from producing poetry and proze he commenced a collection of words, wrote religious works and promotionverses. Two volumes were issued after his death: ‘De Oolde Pook’ and ‘Klaeterjaegers’. In 1952, and also written by Bergveld, ‘De Stellingwervers en hun dialect’ (‘The Stellingwarvians and their dialect’) was published. After the second world war and a stay in a concentrationcamp Bergveld started writing again. The young Martinus Bakker was since his debut in 1949 going to play an important part in the Stellingwarvian literature too. It is whith regard that we remember also Lamkje Hof-de Boer. Apart from her poetry and proze, she also wrote revues.

It was in 1972 that a group of active young people was formed in order to come to a more structural approach concerning the improvement of the Stellingwarvian language in various dominions. Up till then the native language was mostly spoken within the family and in rural area’s. In 1977 the first policy document was presented with the titel ‘Veerder mit et Stellingwarfs’ (‘Further with Stellingwarfs’). It was handed to the president of the Dutch Chamber of Deputies: Prof. dr. Anne Vondeling. In the mean time the Stellingwarver magazine ‘De Ovend’ was on the go, courses for adults were given, and books in the regional language were issued. To benefit the Stellingwarver dictionary, in twenty five villages groups of people were formed which were to meet once a month over a period of twenty years. Every month sixty chips with questions had to be answered. The project was leading to the publication of a four volumend dictionary, of a thousand pages each, Stellingwarfs-Dutch. The project was finished in 2004. In 2005 a one volume, smaller dictionary was published: Stellingwarfs-Nederlands Verklarend Handwoordenboek. The lemma’s represent merely words which are quite different from corresponding words in Dutch. The author and editor, dr. Henk Bloemhoff was since 1991 associated with the Stellingwarver Schrieversronte institute and a member of the staff of the foundation, up till february 2009.

Apart from linguistic research and general vocabulary the institute occupies itself with the research of fieldnames and technical varieties of the language. There are also plans to come to an authorised grammar and to publish a dictionary Dutch-Stellingwarfs.

Annually about six books are published in the Stellingwarvian language, and the history of the region, cd’s and calendars are on the market as well, and every year 24000 copies of the bookpaper ‘Twie pond ’n stuver’ are delivered to almost every house in the region. This paper is financed by the business community. Once a year in september over fifty volunteers are occupied with selling door to door books, calendars, cd’s in their own language. Of course, the books are also for sale in every regular bookshop all the year round. The Stellingwarver Schrieversronte provides further an extensive documentioncentre in the domains of the Stellingwarvian language, literature, folklore and history.

Three literary prizes (for complete works and to stimulate new talent) are established by the local authorities. The Stellingwarver language is regularly used by amateur stage-companies. There are some cabaret / revue groups theat perform in their own native language. It is not very often, but sometimes church-services are being held in Stellingwarfs too. There are weekly programmes on the local radio, and the newspapers feature stories and news in the Stellingwarvian languages.

At primary schools a lot of attention is payed to the regional languages within the subject of local history, and has taken the place of compulsary Frisian. Since 1988 Sietske A. Bloemhoff, also director of the foundation, has developed special lessons material in the sense of papers for pupils, books etcetera.

Five people are working for the institute and it is subsidised by the province of Friesland and the authorities of East- and West-Stellingwarf in a structural way. Apart from that the board tries to draw incidental means for projects, singel activities and publications. Especially private funds and business supply an important financial contribution.

The foundation is housed in a former bank in Oldeberkoop, in the middle of the region of Stellingwarf. President of the board of the Foundation Stellingwarver Schrieversronte is Mr. Ype Dijkstra from Oosterwolde. The daily management of Stellingwarver Schrieversronte is in the hands of a director, mrs. Sietske A. Bloemhoff. The institute as a whole makes sure that a lot of events are taken place in the various language area’s.

The foundation has about 1300 members. Up till now 151 books have been published. Johan Veenstra is one of the most fruitful authors. He wrote 21 books in the Stellingwarvian language; volumes of poetry, short stories and romans too. De Ovend, the periodical of the foundation, is in its 40th year of publication. Koosje Hornstra-van Elselo, Jimmy Visser and Jannes Westerhof with help of Sietske Bloemhoff are the editorial staff.

We hereby thank you for your attention. Please look around on our website and gladly we invite you for a visit in the offices of our organisation if you are interested and when you are just passing our region. Please make an appointment by phone: 0516-451108, or by e-mail: info@stellingwarfs.nl.


Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation Volume 3 contains a.o. descriptions on the phonological, morphological and syntactic level of Stellingwarfs and the other Dutch Low Saxon varieties. One chapter focusses on today’s Low Saxon sociolinguistic patterns.
Publisher’s description:
This handbook aims at a state-of-the-art overview of earlier and recent research into older, newer and emerging non-standard varieties of Dutch. The discussion concerns theoretical embedding, potential interdisciplinary connections and the methodology of the studies at issue. It presents general concepts and approaches in the relatively broad domain of Dutch variation linguistics and the main actual developments in different varieties of Dutch.
Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation. Volume 3: Dutch; Edited by Frans Hinskens & Johan Taeldeman. De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 978-3-11-018005-3; e-ISBN 978-3-11-026133-2; ISSN 1861-5090.


New (2020, september), very informative: Introduction to Dutch Low Saxon. Language and Literature. Assen: Koninklijke Van Gorcum. ISBN 9789023257462. Authors: Henk Bloemhoff, Philomène Bloemhoff-de Bruijn, Jan Nijen Twilhaar, Henk Nijkeuter, Harrie Scholtmeijer. This book is a translation by Hans Veenkamp of Nedersaksisch in een notendop. Inleiding in de Nedersaksische Taal en Literatuur. Assen, 2019. This 'Introduction' contains linguistic descriptions of all Dutch Low Saxon regions: Groningen, Drenthe, Stellingwerf, Salland, Twente, Achterhoek and Veluwe. Chapter 8 describes the Low Saxon literature, from Old Low Saxon till today's situation.

(laeste keer bi'jwarken: 29-9-2020)