Learn Dutch in the Netherlands

Taking the time to learn Dutch during your stay in the Netherlands will prove to be a rewarding experience. Not only this will facilitate your integration with the locals, but you’ll gain insight into the Dutch culture, customs, and traditions. So whether you plan to stay in the Netherlands for a short period of time or for the long haul, knowing and understanding the Dutch language will open up for you a world of possibilities.

The benefits of learning Dutch as an English speaker

Almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English. Not only, the locals are very understanding towards non-Dutch speakers, but they’ll also answer you in perfect English to ease things up for you. 

So, is there any point to learn the Dutch language at all? The answer is yes, as getting to grip even a little of the Dutch language in the Netherlands can be very useful. You’ll get a better understanding of the culture you’re in, its qualities and its nuances. Also, you’ll feel more acclimated and will build a stronger connection with the Dutch people. 

Moreover, if you want to do an internship or work part-time in the Netherlands, speaking Dutch may be part of the requirements. In the field, you’ll get a full immersion experience, speaking and hearing Dutch 24/7. And after graduation, your capacity to navigating another language will always be advantageous on your CV, both in the Netherlands or elsewhere. 

Last but not least, it’s a sign of respect to learn your country host’s language, the locals will undoubtedly appreciate the effort. So, if not for the benefits mentioned above, in the case you plan to remain in the Netherlands for a few years to come, you might as well try! Our advice is to start learning Dutch before your arrival in the Netherlands. 

Learn Dutch for beginners in the Netherlands: where to start? 

To begin with, you can already start to learn Dutch before you leave your home country to the Netherlands. The Dutch embassy or the Nuffic Neso office (if there’s any) in your country is a good start. Also, before you leave, you can also inquire about the student life in the Netherlands and why not learn some basic phrases that might be useful. 

Upon your arrival in the Netherlands, there are a few ways you can find a Dutch language course: 

  • Through your university’s international office
  • By searching for summer courses, evening classes, or even free online courses

There is also the option of joining language cafés or even finding a language buddy to put in practice what you’ve learned. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that Dutch, although it might seem difficult, is unexpectedly easy to grasp for people who are proficient in English or German. 

How long does it take to learn Dutch in the Netherlands?

There’s no typical answer to that question, since it depends on a few factors. How motivated are you? How much time are you ready to invest? Also, if you were brought up as a bilingual child or already speak more than two languages, it will certainly be a shorter route for you. 

Your knowledge of English and German also can be determinant in how long it will take you to learn Dutch. And lastly, if you really want to speak Dutch, you need to put on the necessary effort, take a language course and be consistent in your learning.

Here are the steps to take to land the best Dutch language course for you: 

Decide whether you’ll take a group class or private lessons

The Netherlands has a network of language schools offering Dutch courses to foreigners. You can look for these courses at the city hall of your locality. They are called NT2 – Nederlands als tweede taal – meaning Dutch as a second language. 

Attend an interview

In order to join a NT2 in the Netherlands, you’d have to pass an interview, assessing basic facts such as: the diplomas you have, the type of school you went to, if you have interacted with many Dutch people. This also will determine if you’d have time to attend classes and do your homework. 

Take a placement test

Dutch language classes have different levels: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The placement exam will determine which level you should pursue. The school will then suggest you the course format that meets your need. 

Best Dutch language schools in Netherlands

There are many language schools you can check out to learn Dutch in the Netherlands. You can start by checking the database of Study in NL, where you can find many learning platforms, whether you want to learn the language to further enrollment at Dutch-taught classes or for the purpose of learning to blend in the culture of your host country.  

INTT – Institute for Dutch Language Education at the University of Amsterdam

The INTT offers a wide range of Dutch language and culture courses for non-Dutch students. They even accept those who don’t plan to pursue any study program at the University of Amsterdam. What stands out with these courses is their placement test that puts you at the exact course level you need to be. The INTT also provides preparation courses for the NT2 exam for students who plan to enroll in programs taught in Dutch. 

Learn more on the website of the University of Amsterdam.

Language and Training Centre (LTC) at Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Language and Training Center provides regular and intensive Dutch courses starting from beginner’s level. If it happens that you settle in Rotterdam while studying in the Netherlands, this is one of the best places to learn the Dutch language as they offer a substantial discount to international students. There are 4 intakes per year for the Dutch courses: October-December, January-March, April-June and Summer courses. 

Learn more about this language school


Nedles is another Dutch language learning center in Amsterdam known for their personal and flexible approach. Offering non-Dutch speakers to learn the language in a very welcoming atmosphere, Nedles offer intensive day and night evening courses in classes and online. Another aspect that distinguishes their approach is their principle of doing in class what you cannot do at home: conversation, listening exercises, explanation, Q&A. 

Learn more on the website of Nedles


Fourth in our list of language schools where you can learn Dutch in the Netherlands is Flowently. Their approach consists in booking a local private tutor the student will meet in a café in town. There they will learn practical Dutch skills that they can use right away. The benefit of this approach is that while you learn you get to immerse in the local culture and learn to navigate the Dutch daily life. 

Find out more on Flowently’s website


At Taalthuis students learn to speak, read and write Dutch in small groups, using stories, texts and games and learning about the life in the Netherlands. Offered at different levels, courses take place either in class or online. Moreover, they have lesson locations in 7 cities in the Netherlands: Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Den Bosch, The Hague, Haarlem, Leiden, Utrecht, and Hilversum. 

Learn more on the language school’s website

Read also our review of the best student cities in the Netherlands.

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