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Van Dale

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Van Dale

Van Dale's Great Dictionary of the Dutch Language
(14th edition)
“Dikke van Dale”
Author drs. C. A. den Boon, prof. dr. D. Geeraerts (editors)
Original title Van Dale's Groot woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch
Subject Dictionary
Publisher Van Dale Lexicografie b.v.
Publication date
Pages 4464[1]
OCLC 697452253
LC Class PF625 .G44 2005
Preceded by 13th edition

Van Dale's Great Dictionary of the Dutch Language (Dutch: Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, Dutch pronunciation: ), called “Dikke van Dale” for short, is the leading dictionary of the Dutch language. First published in 1874, as of 2005 it lists definitions of approximately 90,000 headwords.[2]


J.H. van Dale (1828-1872)

Van Dale's dictionary was first published in 1874 after J.H. (Johan Hendrik) van Dale[2] started work on the New Dictionary of the Dutch Language (Dutch: Nieuw woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal, Dutch pronunciation: ) in 1867.[3] This was built upon the original same-named 1864 dictionary of I.M. Calisch en N.S. Calisch. Van Dale did not see the new work published in his lifetime, as he died in 1872. It was finished by his student Jan Manhave. Today it is published by the Van Dale Lexicografie.[2][4]

Commonly named “Dikke van Dale” (Dutch pronunciation: ), or "Fat van Dale" due to its size, the dictionary is published in three volumes (A-I, J-R, S-Z). It is usually updated every 7–8 years, and the 14th edition was published in 2005. Today there are compilations, pocket editions, electronic editions on CD-ROM and an online edition on the Van Dale website. The latter includes a free version for more common words and a subscription-based professional version which gives access to the full 90,000 word dictionary.[5]


The Van Dale dictionary is a private endeavor, to be distinguished from the official "Green Booklet" published by the government. The latter defines the spelling which is mandatory for schools and government employees. Van Dale may be used to find the official spelling of words as well, but its distinguishing feature is that it gives the meaning of words (in a short definition, to be distinguished in turn from an encyclopedia).

There have been arguments whether inclusion in Van Dale should be understood as an approval, in particular for words considered discriminatory like "neger" ("negro", but traditionally not used in a derogatory sense in Dutch). The position of the editors is clear: the actual use is decisive. Disapproved words are marked as such, but not omitted. The purpose is to inform the reader and therefore the responsibility of using certain words lies solely on them.


Edition Year Editors Notes
1st edition 1864 I. M. Calisch en N. S. Calisch Nieuw woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal; in one volume.
2nd edition 1874 J. H. van Dale, J. Manhave Facsimile-reprint 1992
3rd edition 1884 J. Manhave
4th edition 1898 H. Kuiper jr., dr. A. Opprel en P. J. van Malssen jr. New title: Van Dale's Groot woordenboek der Nederlandsche taal.
5th edition 1914 P. J. van Malssen jr.
6th edition 1924 P. J. van Malssen jr.
7th edition 1950 dr. C. Kruyskamp, dr. F. de Tollenaere
8th edition 1961 dr. C. Kruyskamp
9th edition 1970 dr. C. Kruyskamp For the first time in two volumes (A-N, O-Z).
10th edition 1976 dr. C. Kruyskamp
11th edition 1984 prof. dr. G. Geerts en dr. H. Heestermans, met medewerking van dr. C. Kruyskamp For the first time in three volumes (A-I, J-R, S-Z).
12th edition 1992 prof. dr. G. Geerts en dr. H. Heestermans Republished in 1995 with the new official spelling.
13th edition 1999 prof. dr. G. Geerts, drs. C. A. den Boon Also appeared on CD-ROM, edited by prof. dr. D. Geeraerts.
14th edition 2005 drs. C. A. den Boon, prof. dr. D. Geeraerts Used the new official spelling of 2005. New title: Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal.


Apart from publishing the authoritative Dutch language dictionary Van Dale Lexicografie also publishes bilingual dictionaries for other languages, translated from and to Dutch, and also offers language courses and translation services.

See also


  1. ^ (Dutch) Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal from
  2. ^ a b c "Structure and history of the Dutch language".  
  3. ^ (Dutch) About Van Dale on the Van Dale website
  4. ^ Sanders, Ewoud. "Johan Hendrik Van Dale (1828-1872): Maker van een half woordenboek".  
  5. ^ Sanders, Ewoud (October 17, 2005). "Nieuwe Van Dale". NRC Handelsblad (in Nederlands). Retrieved June 26, 2011. 

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