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Dutch belongs to the West Germanic family of languages and comes from the Frankish language, which also influenced Old French. The first known piece of written Dutch dates back to the 6th century in the form of a Salic law-book. A 12th-century poem is another famous example of Dutch.
It is a language spoken by 28 million people, 22 million of whom are native speakers. It is the official language of the Netherlands and Belgium and is also spoken in the Antilles and Suriname.