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Do you speak Dutch?

Hi everyone,

It is widely agreed that speaking Dutch is essential for a successful integration in the Netherlands. Do you agree? Share your experience!

Do you speak Dutch? If so, where did you learn this language? Where can one attend a language course in the Netherlands?

If not, how do you cope with daily activities? Is it easy to communicate in a different language with Dutch?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

For the majority of people, speaking a second language is difficult, not because they can't do it, or are stupid, but mainly because they lack confidence and are embarrassed to make mistakes in front of others.

The Dutch language is not easy for English speakers and most of us "buitenlanders"
will never speak it perfectly; the sentence construction is different and sometimes there is no logical reason for doing something, they do it because that's a special rule and their mum taught them (you'll often hear Dutch mums correcting their kids).

I learnt Dutch from my wife (she's Dutch), her mother (also Dutch and contrary to popular opinion, was one of those Dutch people who couldn't speak a word of English) and at a Taaleninstituut where I paid for a one month course (so I could understand the Grammar).

My message; I speak Dutch (not perfectly), I make lots of mistakes, but I get by, so day to day is fine; I can talk to my Dutch friends, walk out of a shop with what I went in for (I'm not going to tell anybody the story of how I once went into the post office for a stamp, and walked out with a lottery ticket, or how my first visit to the Dentist went).  Learn the language, it's not easy, but definitely doable.

Getting a job is different; it is true that there are multi-nationals in Holland that work in English, I would not recommend anybody to come to Holland hoping to get one of those; if that's what you want, get it before you move there.  The majority of the reasonably paid jobs are in Dutch, but there are plenty of Dutch people looking for those.  Life around you is in Dutch, the bus-timetable, posters in your doctors surgery, the letter from your daughters school giving the details of the next school trip will be in Dutch; if you can't speak it, you'll never get everything you could do, had you learnt the language.

It amazes me how people will consider uprooting their family and take them to Holland (normally in search of a "better life") without a job to go to and not one of them speaks any Dutch at all.  Life without Dutch is low-paid temporary work and miserable.

I've been living here in Middle Limburg in Netherlands for a year and a half now. Although we hear from many that everybody speaks English here, let's say not everybody is willing to do it. Maybe only in BIG CITIES where there are many tourists.

I am living in a town where everybody speaks dialect. I am learning the main language and they are confusing me with their dialect.

I have read a lot about living here since my day 1; to start off with the insurance, IND for immigration information, city or town hall for documents, the taxes, DUO for integration etc. The information everywhere is in Dutch. Now, I see they make some pages available in English (finally!), but the tax office as the last time I have seen, they say the phone calls are only in Dutch. During my appointments before, they did not explain it to me in English but they rather explained it to my partner in Dutch. It was frustrating and a lot of headaches. But yes, you have to learn Dutch if you plan to stay and work here.

I am not against the integration but it does need more smart people to fix the rules because right now, i think it is unfair.

I attended lessons from volunteers so I can speed up my integration. I also went to school since I have to get materials and learn well for my inburgeringsexamen. If you want to loan money from Education Department here called DUO, you can go to their website and see the affiliated schools. It can be very expensive up to 5,000 euro. Yes, it's a business. I started in A2 level in school and finished it in 3 months.

It is not easy to find a job here in office if you cannot speak fluently in Dutch unless you are highly skilled. They require it. 

Until now, I am still on job hunting. I do miss working and I do not know when will I be comfortable in speaking Dutch. I am hoping for some doors to open or just a miracle haha I can speak Dutch a little and understand. I can understand SOME words and then just get lost in the middle of the conversation like my head just stopped functioning. I can better write it than speak it. The accent, the grammar, it's just crazy.

I live now in Holland for 4 years. Have done NT2-II, have worked in a home-for-the-aged, became a dutch citizen  last year, and still my dutch isn't perfect, but im not scarred to speak it anyway.

im a foreigner, but i made out my mind that i will make it here in Holland. thats why i set my goals.  one is to learn the language. and i say, it did not fail me. when u speak the language, it helps your life a bit easier. you wouldnt be looking clueless when dutch is spoken around in your social group, better yet youll not be looking stupid when someone is actually picking on you.

im still Filipina at heart but im really learning and embracing the dutch-everything in it, good or bad, knowing that there is no perfect culture.

It's not essential at all. It's a kind of discrimination. If you go today in any office in the Netherlands they want you to speak Dutch otherwise they say that you cannot be served. I personally find it very mean, kind of apatheid, rough and discriminating
Thank you

Ecneme Aviz :

It's not essential at all. It's a kind of discrimination. If you go today in any office in the Netherlands they want you to speak Dutch otherwise they say that you cannot be served. I personally find it very mean, kind of apatheid, rough and discriminating
Thank you

Hi Ecneme and welcome to the Forum. :)

Although many Dutch people can speak English, not all can.  Life around you is in Dutch and you will be expected to speak it (or at least try); there is absolutely no requirement for anybody in Holland to speak to you in English.

To get into Holland as a citizen of Zimbabwe, you must have gone through the MVV process, part of which includes a Dutch language integration exam in the previous 12-months, so you can speak Dutch, you just need to practice it. :)

Sorry I don't buy your argument and I will never agree with you.
Don't write or post anything with this Expat thing to me again

Ecneme Aviz :

Sorry I don't buy your argument and I will never agree with you.
Don't write or post anything with this Expat thing to me again

Sorry to have offended you; it wasn't my intent, just to point out to you the reality of what you've already discovered.  You don't have to agree with me; it's a Forum where people are entitled to comment on what you say.

Best of luck in your journey. :)

Yes I speak dutch, it took me two years to go from zero to fluent. And I was having discussions with customers in Dutch, so that gives some idea of the level I achieved in that time.  I learnt Dutch in two ways,

1 Ceran Lingua - a language school in Spa Belgium.   I did two weeks intensive learning there. It was about €3500/ week including food, accommodation and all learning materials. It was a fantastic experience and they're a great team.  It's hard work and tiring but very rewarding.

2. I spoke Dutch at work every day.  Also stressful when you do not really understand what is being said but you have to make decisions.

I would say to integrate fully it is net essential to learn Dutch.  The English speaking ability in holland is exceptionally high. However, it's certainly better when you CAN speak Dutch.
If you live in the west, then for sure it's very international and cosmopolitan and it won't be too much of a problem if you do or don't speak the language.

I wish you all the best and good luck.
Ik wens jou veel succes

Hi!
Yes, I agree that to truly become a part of any society/country, it is much easier if you know the local language.
In case of Netherlands, people are really helpful especially when you are an expat who has been transferred here and you experience the sudden culture and language shock. Google Translate is another App which has really made life easier for everyone around the world, struggling to adjust to a new country and society. But, personally, yes I did a basic language course in Dutch and it is really useful when I have to do my basic tasks like filling forms at the Geemente, hospital, insurance, bank etc. We should appreciate that as compared to many other European countries, Dutch people do go out of their way to help us when we get stuck somewhere with language issues. Besides, learning any new language or skill for that matter is an added advantage for an individual as it stays with you all your life and widens your way of viewing the world and people around you; making you more accepting and humble. I am trying to add to my vocabulary by watching Dutch news/programs etc; but still need more confidence to really go out and speak in complete sentences in Dutch. It would be great if anyone else could also share tips or ways that worked for them. Happy learning and speaking!  Tot zeins!🙂

Misschien een app zoals Memrise proberen! Ik heb deze gebruikt om mijn Franse niveua op te peppen, en ik gebruik hem nu om Spaans te leren.

Maybe try een app like Memrise! I have used it to give my French a boost, and I am using it now to learn Spanish.

-speaking dutch essential to daily basis activity. Work, trading, resume, banking, consultation, jobhunting, bargaining,

-go to Gemente and Bibliotheek . Find information for free lessons everyweek from different group in many locations.

-speak dutch by practising to speak & learning with closest person. Husband, colleagues, families.

-watch television kids programme for easier understanding basic dutch.

- find group of facebook, forum about integration exam . Usually they share tips or results or sets of questions.sometimes have meeting or reunion for beginner dutch.

-pay school for learning dutch . Haagsetaalplein, taal in de buurt, capabel , sagen ect.

-buy books for basic mvv like naar nederlands.

-hire private teacher for speaking dutch mostly €15 per hour . Or buy books learn at home . Most of it have self-teach paket material.

MOST IMPORTANT TIPS:
I learned more faster with colleagues speaking than sitting in the class!

Hi how are you? Yes i do speak dutch and i did learn it in holland
Hani

Hi,

I lived in Holland for one year and my knowledge with Afrikaans did help me well, perhaps not the same accent but I do understand and speak Dutch, besides, most people in Holland do speak English, so I have never had any communications problems.

To study the language contact your local municipality and let them know that you would like to integrate into the Dutch society and they will arrange language courses for you.

It is a lovely and very friendly country, which I would like to go back to one day.

Ecneme Aviz :

Sorry I don't buy your argument and I will never agree with you.
Don't write or post anything with this Expat thing to me again

Your reaction on Cynic is kind of rude and so your general comment too.
So you think that the Dutch or the community is rude and unfair if they don't want to speak in Dutch or the announcements are not in English?

Well, let me tell you something: its your choice to come to the Netherlands and every country has its own language. If you want to stay here on a long term it is fair that you speak Dutch.
You have to adopt to the country where you are in, not the other way around.

chazym26 :

Misschien een app zoals Memrise proberen! Ik heb deze gebruikt om mijn Franse niveua op te peppen, en ik gebruik hem nu om Spaans te leren.

Maybe try een app like Memrise! I have used it to give my French a boost, and I am using it now to learn Spanish.

Apps are great and fun to begin with and have a basic knowledge of grammar but to really speak the language you need people around you who speak with you only in the language and not to afraid to correct you.
Most people are afraid of failing which is understandable but you learn so much from mistakes.

At the moment I learn Italian trough an app (Duolingo) but has not everything and is nice until a certain level. Due the fact I have to learn through English I boots my English as well grammar wise.

And Arabic? Well..... that's a total different story  :cool:

i never had a problem with it when the dutch ppl speak back in english and nothing blocked me goals in the netherlands, even in work not,  its better that , the dutch ppl learn english insteed we dutch

Shame on us!

Dizzy1949 :

Shame on us!

Can you please explain why you are shamed?

In response of:

It's not essential at all. It's a kind of discrimination. If you go today in any office in the Netherlands they want you to speak Dutch otherwise they say that you cannot be served. I personally find it very mean, kind of apatheid, rough and discriminating
Thank you

Dizzy1949 :

In response of:

It's not essential at all. It's a kind of discrimination. If you go today in any office in the Netherlands they want you to speak Dutch otherwise they say that you cannot be served. I personally find it very mean, kind of apatheid, rough and discriminating
Thank you

Interesting opinion (that it's not essential at all); how are you coping if you are not being served?

My experience is that you're right in that the Dutch expect people who come to live in Holland to speak their language; that became very obvious to me within a couple of weeks and is the prime reason that drove me to learn it.  Learning Dutch is one of the integration conditions for everyone who enters Holland and the Dutch Government offer support to enable people to learn Dutch.

As for the rest (apartheid, rough and discriminatory); I don't agree, they are like that to everybody, not just you. :)

Sorry to hear that you experienced this.
But it's not common. But imagine that the person who helped you or want to help you,  not capable to communicate in English?
I can turn it around: I find it disturbing, harsh and rude to expect that a whole nation or at least the people around them, must adept/change to comfort them instead.

Perhaps i did not understand correctly what Ecneme Aviz mentioned with being in an office that Dutch employees did you or here to speak Dutch otherwise she could not being helped.
That is shamefull for us Dutchmen.
Born in Amsterdam, living in The Hague, Indonesian roots, never been there.

Many Dutch people understand English, not so many speak it to a standard where they are comfortable dealing with a native speaker, some don't speak it at all.

I recall my daughter telling me of a situation where a visiting VIP to her place of work (from the US), made a speech to the Dutch workforce, where he kept mentioning a "lull" in a process; the non-English speaking staff found it hilarious, to the extent the entire audience began laughing ......... it all went downhill from there. :)

Getting a job without speaking and writing fluently it's not easy at all. I heard lots of people complain they learnt Dutch but they are criticised about their accent. They say the foreigner do not speak fluently. That's a real problem. Many are just receiving the state benefits because they say their Dutch is not enough fluently. Also when someone call for a job offer they say they need English or other languages but at the end of the interview they ask if we speak Dutch...whether speaks with accent or not fluently they just do not offer the job.

Hey Priscilla,
You can't do without dutch and riding a bike in Netherlands they are twins.
I did the inburgering with my hubby as my teacher and i thank God I passed in less than a month I did the exam. Then I met a friend who introduced me to duolingo it's awesome. It's free and you just practice like 5 minutes per day and you can hear the pronounciation and practice at your own speed but I would advice you do it after your inburgering exam.
Hope that satisfys your soul.
Keep well
Kools

Cynic :

Many Dutch people understand English, not so many speak it to a standard where they are comfortable dealing with a native speaker, some don't speak it at all.

I recall my daughter telling me of a situation where a visiting VIP to her place of work (from the US), made a speech to the Dutch workforce, where he kept mentioning a "lull" in a process; the non-English speaking staff found it hilarious, to the extent the entire audience began laughing ......... it all went downhill from there. :)

Oh oh, that is awkward. I'm laughing now because I know what "that"means haha

Nederlanders do respect and appreciate any foreigner who (even trying) to say something in dutch!
The Netherlands is a small country; not much speak dutch globally...

The tricky difficulties in prenouncing good dutch are the short and long a-aa e-ee i-ie ei-ij o-oo & u-uu
also the G is hard to say by most sweet expat-troaths :-)

Tip : to say a good GG (as in Gezellig) then practise first as if "you have a score-throat and wants to upload all slime to spit out" (sorry lady's)
So: "inhale into your nose and then 'Grchle' in your throat as to make a fat slimy snot to spit out your mouth" That 'Grchle' thrill is the specific place to create a wonderful dutch Gg!
Geweldig Grandioos Goed Gelukt!
(Amazing Wonderful Great Result!)

oh, and watch children-tv-program Sesamstraat; easy way to learn to count 1 2 3 4 and (hands-up) 5 "Vijf" !
and more simple dutch. koekiemonster is already 2 dutch words!
koekie = biscuit / computer-cookie / be drunk /
monster = huge ugly animal / little test-ampul

and: at last: copy or print the Aap-Noot-Mies and hang up above your bed to learn perfectly 'Haarlems-Nederlands'! (it's a saying that people in Haarlem speak the most beautiful dutch)

"And as final Touch; God created the Dutch!"
"Have the Guts to be Dutch!"
Hahahaha :-D

xxx Hugs from Holland xxx

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