Dutch Language vs the World's Big Languages
When asked about the greatness of their country and language, Dutch people will most likely tell it is beautiful, but just too small. This land along the North Sea is undoubtedly not large, but the Dutch language is certainly part of the world's biggest languages.
For sure, The Dutch are proud of their country, but they don't have the habit of displaying this patriotism, by for example flag raising or parades. There are exemptions though, at an international soccer game they tend to be very nationalistic. However, most of the time the Dutch express modest patriotism.
The same applies to the language they collectively speak. The Dutch find their language too insignificant and rather speak English or another big language. This is a bit confusing if you know the Dutch language community in the world is quite large.
According to the Taalunie (Dutch Language Union), there are 24 million people speaking Dutch worldwide. Most of them live in the Netherlands (17 million) and Belgium (6,5 million). Besides, there are another 400.000 Dutch speakers in Suriname. Taking these numbers into account, the Dutch language takes up the 40th position in the ranking of world's languages.
With an estimated 6000 different languages on the globe, this is not a bad score. Within Europe, the Dutch language even has the status of being the 8th most spoken language among native speakers. Even more than Swedish and Greek. Moreover, around 15.000 foreign students study the Dutch language worldwide.
I, myself have been working as a lecturer for a language institute in Beijing, China. I taught many students the language, but also the culture and history of the Dutch spoken areas. Perhaps, that makes me biased, but the numbers don't lie: Dutch is a world language. Period.