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

say cheese

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. The shop, whose slogan is “Say cheese to life”, was ordered to close late last year, losing their first – but not their last – appeal at the Amsterdam district court this week. The company’s advertising, products, pricing and use of the English language were said by the court to be clear indicators that the shop – one of five in the city – was there for the benefit of tourists rather than local consumers. “The official language in the shop is English,” the judge said in summary.(theguardian)…[+]