A quarter of the population in the Netherlands speaks a language other than Dutch at home. Many parents want their children to integrate into Dutch society but also to speak the home language well. Heritage language (HL) programs – also called "mother tongue schools" – are often non-profit, grassroots initiatives operated by parents from a non-majority language community in order to maintain the language and culture of their children’s heritage.
HL programs provide invaluable education to multilingual children that the mainstream school is not able to provide. HL programs can face persistent challenges such as finding volunteers, teachers, funding, locations, and lesson materials for a unique student population.
Heritage Language Education (HLE) Network's mission is to improve and increase opportunities for multilingual children to develop the language they speak at home. By working closely with local and international partners, we bring HL programs together, give voice to the common issues faced by these groups, and raise public awareness about the societal benefits when multilingual children develop all the languages they speak.
Our mission is in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals to ensure inclusive education that promotes a culture of peace, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity.
Join us each November for networking and workshops at our annual conference with international partners.
the heritage language of the princesses
Did you know that the three princesses of the Dutch royal family can speak Spanish because Queen Máxima passed the language on to them as one of their mother tongues? We know that this took dedication from the queen, who even enlisted the help of Argentinian nannies. Read more about this in JAN Magazine from May 17, 2022 and Beau Monde from May 15, 2022.
photo: Patrick van Katwijk Getty Images