Is Dutch a useful language to learn? - Learn Dutch Online (2024)

Is Dutch a useful language to learn?

Is Dutch a useful language to learn? - Learn Dutch Online (1)

As an online teacher I get many e-mails from people who are thinking of studying Dutch. For some that is online, others think about joining a course at the Summer School or Winter School.

A question I get a lot is: Is Dutch a useful language for me?

My answer usually is: What is your situation? I think usefulness very much depends on who you are, what you want and what your goals are.

In this blog I will explain the different answers to this question.

YES – Learn Dutch if you are moving to the Netherlands

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and the mother tongue of the Dutch people.

So yes, then learning Dutch is really useful.

Okay, you can survive with just speaking English, but…

Not only is it important for dealing with official institutions in the Netherlands or learning about Dutch culture:

You will need Dutch in daily life.

Think about explaining your broken sink to your Dutch speaking plumber. Or socializing in your new sports team with your team mates. And don’t forget, there is a world outside Amsterdam. It’s not so certain that in smaller towns you will get away with English.

YES – Learn Dutch when working in the Netherlands

You might think, that English is enough then… But these people (expats in the Netherlands) came to a different conclusion!

Even if English is the official language in your workplace, you still benefit from learning Dutch. Learning Dutch becomes more important if you stay here for a longer period.

Also, if you’re searching for a job in the Netherlands, you will definitely increase your chances on the job market by learning Dutch.

YES – Learning Dutch makes you smarter

Learning Dutch trains your brain and makes you smarter. It’s a fact! This goes for any language, by the way…

When memorizing new words, you are not only learning Dutch. You are training your brain to be good at memorizing in general. There’s a good chance you will remember your shopping list better after studying your Dutch lessons.

Not only memorizing skills, but also study skills in general are improved by learning Dutch.

YES – With Dutch you learn more about culture

Learning Dutch will put you in touch with Dutch culture. It makes a big difference when you speak Dutch because then you really start to connect with the people.

And this contact lets you see you how we do things in Netherlands, like food, parties and traditions.

Sometimes it’s not useful to learn Dutch

Yes, as an online Dutch teacher, sometimes I advise against learning Dutch. Here are two situations when I don’t recommend learning Dutch.

NO – Everybody speaks English

If you are visiting the Netherlands for a holiday, you don’t need to learn Dutch. It is possible to spend some time in the Netherlands without speaking any Dutch.

Also, when staying here for a couple of months for study, like Erasmus, it’s too hard to learn Dutch just for these couple of months. Besides that, the universities are increasingly teaching in English.

I’ve had students at the Summer School who have lived in Amsterdam for more than 10 years without speaking more than 10 words of Dutch!

NO – You can speak it in only 6 countries

Around 25 million people speak Dutch, and it’s an official language in 6 countries. This makes Dutch lower than 50th place on the list of languages that are most spoken worldwide.

Is Dutch a useful language to learn? - Learn Dutch Online (2)

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School

Is Dutch a useful language to learn? - Learn Dutch Online (2024)


Is Dutch a useful language to learn? - Learn Dutch Online? ›

YES – Learn Dutch if you are moving to the Netherlands

Is Dutch a useful language to learn? ›

2. Learning Dutch Helps with Practicalities. In addition to knowing basic words and phrases to live your new life somewhat independently, there are a few practical reasons too. For instance, knowing some Dutch makes reading restaurant menus, road signs, newspapers, and ingredient lists much easier.

What is the most effective way to learn Dutch? ›

Immerse Yourself: Immersion is a potent technique for learning any language rapidly. Surround yourself with the Dutch language as much as possible. Watch Dutch TV shows, movies, and listen to Dutch music. Change the language settings on your devices to Dutch and try to read books, news articles, and websites in Dutch.

Is there a point in learning Dutch? ›

Learning Dutch opens a new world

You'll do fine in English here, but all Dutch conversations will pass you by; a whole new world opens when you understand and speak a bit of Dutch. People will appreciate your effort, and making friends and contacts will be far easier.

Is learning Dutch from Duolingo good? ›

The world's most popular way to learn Dutch online

Whether you're a beginner starting with the basics or looking to practice your reading, writing, and speaking, Duolingo is scientifically proven to work.

How long will it take to learn Dutch fluently? ›

The Foreign Language Institute recommends a total of 24-30 weeks or 600-750 hours of Dutch language learning to reach fluency. Tobian Language School personally recommends 20 – 30 lessons for A2 level with a minimum of 2 weekly lessons. And B2 learners? You'll need to strive for 40 – 50 lessons or up to 50 hours.

Why is Dutch hard to learn? ›

Tricky Pronunciation. Many new learners find Dutch hard to pronounce. Even the most fluent foreign Dutch-speakers struggle with this, as the language has the weirdest combinations of letters. For example, there are consonant combinations like: nk, sch, ng, and nk.

Is it better to learn Dutch or German? ›

It's also the official language of several countries, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Both Dutch and German have their challenges, but Dutch is generally considered easier to learn than German. However, your decision should ultimately be based on your goals and interests.

How many hours a day to learn Dutch? ›

Class twice a week is more effective, together with learning for 45 – 60 minutes per day. Be it by listening to native speakers, watching TV, or studying with e-learning or a textbook – whenever you make your brain work on a new language, new things will transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory.

Are the Dutch good at math? ›

Mathematics is the Netherlands' strongest subject. Some 73 percent of students attained at least Level 2 proficiency in mathematics, well above the OECD average of 69 percent.

Should I learn Dutch if I move to Netherlands? ›

Even though 90% of the country speaks English, speaking Dutch will allow you to be open to many opportunities during your stay in the Netherlands, like finding friends or getting a job more easily.

How good is Babbel for learning Dutch? ›

Luckily, Babbel is designed by a team of language experts, educators, and designers who know all about what it takes to get the most out of learning a new language — so you are guaranteed a top-quality Dutch learning journey that's capable, engaging, and fun. Test first lesson of every course for free!

Is Dutch language tough? ›

Dutch is probably the easiest language to learn for English speakers as it positions itself somewhere between German and English.

Does Rosetta Stone teach Dutch? ›

Learn Dutch | Rosetta Stone® Learn Dutch with lessons that teach you how to learn Dutch phrases and words. Start learning Dutch with Rosetta Stone.

Why is it important to learn Dutch? ›

It is much easier to connect with Dutch people if you speak the language. Even though many people speak English, we prefer to speak Dutch with each other. Dutch people appreciate it very much when people make the effort to learn their language.

Should I learn Dutch or French? ›

For English-speakers with no background in either language, Dutch will be easier to learn than French. Because Dutch has Germanic roots, like English, it will come easier to English speakers. That said, if you have background in a romance language (like Spanish or Italian), French may actually be easier to learn.

Why are the Dutch so good at learning languages? ›

Movies, TV-shows and other forms of entertainment are generally consumed in their original language, with Dutch subtitles, whereas other European countries tend to dub the content. This allows for the Dutch populace to be exposed to foreign languages (mainly English) in everyday life from a very early age.


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