Thursday, August 25, 2016


WATCH: Nick Clegg Speaks Dutch (The Horror! A Eurocrat In Downing Street)


As if the Spanish wife wasn't enough. This will be proof for many that Nick Clegg is indeed a latte-sipping, windsurfing, arugula-munching Euro-snob.

Check out this video of him segueing from English into Dutch (it's around the two-minute mark). He also speaks German, French, and Spanish.

Last week, writing in "The New York Times," A. A. Gill rather uncharitably said that Clegg "speaks five languages but can’t say boo in any of them."

-- Luke Allnutt

Tags: Clegg

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Snurf from: UK
May 13, 2010 11:57
Not really surprising is it, given that his Mum is Dutch?

by: Gerard Leahy from: Horsham
May 13, 2010 12:38
Yes but did A.A. Gill apologise for for diluting the wit of Dorothy Parker as he plundered it ?

"That women speaks 18 languages and can't say no in any of them."

by: stuart lambert from: london
May 13, 2010 12:43
Nice to see that casual xenophobia is live and kicking on websites like this. "...a latte-sipping, windsurfing, arugula-munching Euro-snob." Really?

In Response

by: sal from: boston
May 13, 2010 16:11
good to see the British haven't lost their sense for irony.

In Response

by: Chris from: Cambridge
May 14, 2010 10:01
I'll send you a link to the definition of 'sarcasm' when I get time!

by: Martin04 from: London
May 13, 2010 12:43
how refreshing to have a leading British politician who can speak other languages
In Response

by: Shaun from: Huddersfield
May 17, 2010 02:47
Tony Blair could speak French I believe. I don't know if David Cameron does, but I wouldn't be surprised considering his educational background.

by: Steve from: South East - UK
May 13, 2010 13:14
Good for you Nick! I feel a great sense of pride that our deputy PM is so in touch with our neighbours!

I love immigrants. I love our diverse society. I love Europe.

by: Jay Barratt from: Poole
May 13, 2010 13:42
What the hell's wrong with windsurfing?
In Response

by: A B C from: Oxford
May 13, 2010 21:08
I think windsurfing is a reference to John Kerry. When he was running for US president, the right wing press used the fact that he windsurfed as proof that he was a snob.

by: William Boyd from: Penygroes
May 13, 2010 13:45
Quite fluent but rather hesitant and elementary Dutch. Bilingual obviously but I doubt he can be literate in the language. This is the mistake people always make about bilingual ability - it rarely extends to even a basic secondary school standard of literacy in the lesser used language simply because a school education on the lesser language hasn't been received. Good examples of this phenomenon can be found in the middle classes of Arab families who send their children to Anglo-American international schools and who are often essentially illiterate in both English and Arabic.
In Response

by: van Buscher op Vollenbroe from: London
May 13, 2010 14:40
His Dutch is way better than elementary
In Response

by: Chris from: UK
May 29, 2010 19:51
I agree. Its far more than elementary and remember its not a language he speaks every day ... or probably not even every week.

by: Chris Wilson from: Dublin
May 13, 2010 14:59
I am proud to have supported Nick in the UK election, and I hope that he will be a civilising influence on those Tories. Delighted he can talk to my fellow Europeans.

by: Kevin from: Preston
May 13, 2010 15:59
Go easy on poor old Nick Clog's Dutch! He's multilingual - French, Spanish and German as well as the Dutch. Impressive stuff.

by: Elizabeth from: London
May 13, 2010 16:05
As a Dutch person I can say that his Dutch is well beyond the elementary level that people accuse him of below. He uses phrases and expressions that only a native person would know, and is thus well beyond the level of the textbook!!! More than that, he actually sounds like a Dutch person, rather than an English person trying to speak Dutch (no offense meant here - it is just that you can always tell by the accent!).

How this makes him a Euro-snob, I cannot see. I suspect this is more a hint of jealousy/bigotry on the part of the person who posted this?
Comments page of 2

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Most Popular

Editor's Picks