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Don't say cheese: Amsterdam turns against English usage in shops

Mis à jour : 27 Jan 2018

The Guardian (International edition)

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Fri 26 Jan 2018 13.32 GMT

Appeal court upholds closure order against cheese shop as use of English implies it is for tourists not locals.

Their country’s grip of the English language has long been a source of national pride for the Dutch. But some argue a line has to be drawn somewhere and, for the municipality of Amsterdam, that appears to be with the growing use of Shakespeare’s tongue by shops, restaurants and even high-end cheese retailers.

The Dutch capital last year launched an initiative to curb the number of shops targeting tourists in its historic centre in its latest attempt to reclaim it for residents. In a court case involving the Amsterdam Cheese company – which has a store on Damrak avenue, a partially filled in canal in the centre – the dominant use of English has been highlighted as a problem.

The owners say they are “Dutch cheese heads” with a mission to “preserve the traditions of the past while embracing the new” and insist that English is the most accessible language to the majority of Dutch customers.