9 Tips To Help You Learn Dutch

| Leiden International Centre

Now that we have convinced you to take on the challenge of learning Dutch for 2024, the question left is: how? Of course, like every skill, practice makes perfect! There is no better way of integrating in a culture and in the community except by using Dutch in your daily life, but we all know how difficult it is to start. So in this article, we will be listing out our top 9 tips to begin your Dutch journey.

1. Change Language of Devices

For a daily language boost you could start right now, consider switching your laptop and phone settings to Dutch. Exposing yourself to the language regularly can be highly beneficial, helping you familiarise yourself with Dutch words and integrate them into your daily vocabulary effortlessly. This immersive technique enhances your language learning experience and makes Dutch a more integral part of your daily routine.

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2. Netflix & Dutch

Here’s a sneaky tip to sprinkle some Dutch into your day: unwind with your favourite show, but this time, go for it in Dutch with English subtitles or simply turn on Dutch subtitles! You will be surprised at how much vocabulary you subconsciously adopt and remember.

Or better yet, hit two birds with one stone by watching free Dutch shows at NPO Start – both educational and entertaining!

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3. Youtube Tutorials

If you crave flexibility, dive into the world of free YouTube tutorials. Countless channels are dedicated to offering beginner and introductory Dutch courses, accommodating learners of all levels. Whether you're starting from scratch or enhancing your existing skills, these tutorials allow you to set your own pace and create a personalised learning space.

Dutchies to be - Learn Dutch with Kim video
  • Dutchies to be - Learn Dutch with Kim video

4. Use Dutch Out and About

Using Dutch in your daily life might initially seem daunting, but rest assured that many Dutch people genuinely appreciate the effort you put into learning their language. To help encourage and remind Dutch people not to switch to English, grab one of our "Praat Nederlands met Me" (speak Dutch with me) pins at our monthly Meet&Mingles or the VVV Leiden Tourist Information Office.

The next time you find yourself grocery shopping, ordering a drink at the bar, or requesting the bill in a restaurant, consider giving Dutch a try. For instance, instead of asking for "the bill," try saying "de rekening, alstublieft".


5. Language Lessons That Don’t Feel Like Homework

Language lessons offer the perfect setting to kick start your skills as you will be allowed to delve into diverse topics, have fun, and make new connections.

Our partner Taalthuis, takes language learning to an intimate level. Their classes will boost your confidence and lay down a solid foundation for speaking Dutch, with the goal of preparing you for the state exams. Make sure you act fast and book your spot for March!

Leiden University provides a range of Dutch language courses, from everyday conversational Dutch to more intensive options. Multiple start dates are available, so make sure to check their website for details.

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Looking for other settings that match up with your personal situation and language level? Then visit BuZz who has curated an overview of Dutch lessons that are being offered in the Leiden region.

For those equipped with the basics of the Dutch language, BplusC’s Language House hosts free group lessons in Nieuwstraat Library , Het Gebouw Library , Leiderdorp Library.

6. Company Language Lessons

For those venturing into the realm of business-oriented Dutch, inquire through our partners at TheSquareMile or Taalthuis who will tailor and customise the course, level, objectives, and style to your personal needs and professional aspirations.

Did you also know that your employer can receive a subsidy from the Dutch government if they invest in language classes for their employees? Additionally, The Square Mile can also help your employer with the application process.

7. Grab a Language Buddy

The organisation Gilde Samenspraak offers a hands-on approach to learning Dutch by assigning Dutch volunteers to non-native speakers where they meet for at least once every week for one hour, when and where they see fit. The duo also chooses for themselves what they want to do. The idea is to stay with your buddy for a year. This method allows you to speak Dutch as locals do while learning the language in a relaxed and informal environment.

You can fill out the form to be assigned a language buddy or visit their website, although the information is currently only available in Dutch.

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8. Sip, Chat, Learn: Language Cafés

One coffee at a time, exchange in casual conversations and practice your Dutch! From sharing thoughts on the Dutch weather to discussing the nuances of your day, these informal gatherings are perfect for exchanging everyday news and activities. In this laid-back and unstructured setting, Language Café’s become invaluable resources for also meeting people from the Netherlands and around the globe. The Language Cafés are open to everyone and for free! Just drop by during the opening hours at Nieuwstraat Library or Leiderdorp Library.

Two people drinking coffee

9. Language Apps

Turn your screen time into study time and download free language apps for your language journey. Although these are excellent resources and many of these apps are great for learning vocabulary, some features may have limitations in grammar lessons. However, we have found Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel stand out as the top-rated on-the-go companions to master the Dutch language. Perfect for when your NS train is late again!

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Starting to learn a new language can be daunting for everyone, and when it comes to Dutch, patience is key. Understand that acquiring proficiency takes time and consistent effort so don’t be too discouraged. Making mistakes along the way is how you learn – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much your language skills will flourish. You got this!