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Dutch for beginners

You will be happy to learn that according to the EF English Proficiency Index the Netherlands has claimed the No. 1 spot as the most proficient non-native English speakers out of a 100 countries.

Basically everyone can speak English and most of the time people here will switch to English if they see you struggling with the Dutch language. However to make the most of your experience in the Netherlands and to understand the Dutch culture better, it would be good to learn some Dutch while you are here. It is also important to be able to speak some Dutch if you are planning on getting a part time job in the Netherlands as some employers require it.

Tips when learning the Dutch language:

  • Immerse yourself. Watch Dutch television or films with subtitles on and listen to the local radio station.
  • Keep at it. As tempting as it is to switch to English when the person you are speaking to switches to English, do not give up. Continue the conversation in Dutch.
  • Practice makes perfect. When learning a new language you need to practice it much as you can. Don't worry about making mistakes and try to have fun with it.
  • Find a language study buddy. The ideal would be to find a native Dutch speaker and have them learn your native language. If that is not possible then try to find a person that is also new to the Dutch language so that you can learn the new language together at the same level.

The following free websites or apps can help to improve your Dutch:

LearnDutch.org – Plenty of free content to get you started at a beginner level.

Dutch grammar – The focus is on Dutch grammar and building a strong foundation in Dutch. It is free, but the website does seem a bit outdated.

Introduction to Dutch – this free course will help you to speak, write and understand useful Dutch and is offered by the University of Groningen.

Babbel - An online program to learn the basics of Dutch, funded by the European Union. The first lesson in each course is free. For full access you will need to pay a fee.

Duolingo – A free very popular way of learning Dutch with quizzes and tests along the way.

Memrise – A free flashcard platform for learning Dutch words and phrases.

Basic words and phrases to get you started

 

Communication essentials

Dutch

English

Ja/Nee

Yes/No

Alstublieft

Please

Dank je

Thank you

Hallo

Hello

Hoi

Hi

Tot ziens

Good bye

Dag

Bye

Goede morgen

Good morning

Goedenmiddag

Good afternoon

Goedenavond

Good evening

Gisteren

Yesterday

Vandaag

Today

Morgen

Tomorrow

Hier

Here

Daar

There

Wat?

What?

Wanneer?

When?

Waarom?

Why?

Waar?

Where?

 

Useful phrases

Dutch

English

Hoe is het met je?

How are you?

Heel goed, dank je.

Very well, thank you.

Aangenaam kennis te maken

Pleased to meet you (formal setting)

Leuk je te ontmoeten

Pleased to meet you (informal setting)

Dat is prima.

That is fine.

Hoe kom ik bij…?

How do I get to?

Spreekt u Engels?

Do you speak English?

Ik begrijp het niet.

I don’t understand.

Kan je iets langzamer praten?

Could you speak more slowly?

Bel de/het …

Call the…

Waar is het dichtstbijzijnde ziekenhuis?

Where is the nearest hospital?

 

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