Difference Between Dutch and Danish

Main Difference – Dutch vs Danish

Dutch and Danish are two Germanic languages, falling under the Indo-European language family. However, Dutch belongs to the West Germanic language, along with German and English whereas Danish belong to the North Germanic languages Norwegian and Swedish. This is the main difference between Dutch and Danish. Although many people assume that Dutch and Danish are very similar since they are both Germanic languages, they are not mutually intelligible. There are many differences between Dutch and Danish, based on their phonology, syntax, morphology, and vocabulary. This article looks at some of these differences between Dutch and Danish.

This article covers,

1. What is Dutch – Facts about Dutch

2. What is Danish – Facts about Danish

3. Difference Between Dutch and Danish – A comparison of important featuresDifference Between Dutch and Danish -infographic


What is Dutch

Dutch is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Netherlands. Dutch is also spoken in Belgium and Luxembourg. It is used as a first language by about 23 million people, and another 5 million people speak it as a second language.

Dutch shares some similarities with German and English since all three of them belong to Western Germanic language branch.  In addition, Dutch is said to be more or less between English and Dutch. Dutch grammar is very similar to German, especially in relation to syntax and verb morphology. Dutch vocabulary mostly contains Germanic words. Dutch has not undergone the High German consonant shift; it no longer uses use of the subjunctive and case system.

Main Difference - Dutch vs Danish

Dark Blue – official and contemporary use, yellow – no longer used, blue- spoken in the minorities, green square – a small community of Dutch speakers, Brown -Afrikaans, a separate language derived from Dutch.

What is Danish

Danish is a North Germanic language which is mainly used in Denmark. It is spoken by around six million people. Danish also has a minority language status in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany. In addition, Danish-speaking communities can be found in countries like Sweden, Norway, Spain, the United States, Brazil, and Argentina.

Danish is a descendant of Old Norse. It had no standard variety or spelling conventions until the 16th century, and a standard language was developed with the Protestant Reformation and the introduction of printing.

Danish is sometimes considered to be a difficult language to learn and understand since it has a  large vowel inventory and unusual prosody when compared with its neighboring languages. It has a very large vowel inventory comprising 27 phonemically distinctive vowels (12 long vowels, 13 short vowels, and two schwa vowels). Danish is also characterized by a prosodic feature known as stød.

Difference Between Dutch and Danish

Difference Between Dutch and Danish

Native Speakers

Dutch is mainly spoken in Netherlands and Belgium.

Danish is mainly spoken in Denmark.

Germanic Language

Dutch is a West Germanic Language.

Danish is a North Germanic Language.

Neighboring Languages

Dutch is somewhat similar to German and English.

Danish is somewhat similar to Norwegian and Swedish.


Dutch has sixteen vowel combinations.

Danish has twenty-seven phonemically distinctive vowels

Writing Script

Dutch uses Dutch alphabet.

Danish uses the Dano-Norwegian alphabet.


Dutch vocabulary is influenced by Germanic and Romance languages.

Danish vocabulary is influenced by Old Norse, Low German and English languages.


Dutch has a subjunctive form although it is rarely used.

Danish has no subjunctive form.

Image Courtesy: 

“Dutch Language Spoken” By Red4tribe (talk) – self-made,  via  

“Danish Dialect Map” By Zakuragi – Self-made; Base map from  (Public Domain) via  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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