ACCESS NL > Education in the Netherlands > Learning Dutch > General questions on learning Dutch > Is it important to learn Dutch? I am in doubt as to whether I should learn Dutch as everyone here seems to speak English.

General questions on learning Dutch

I am an expat. Are there any government subsidised Dutch language courses available?

Is it important to learn Dutch? I am in doubt as to whether I should learn Dutch as everyone here seems to speak English.

If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for several years, it is advised that you consider learning Dutch. Although there are jobs advertised for non-Dutch speakers, increasingly more employers in the Netherlands are now looking for people who are competent in speaking Dutch as well as another language.

Learning at least some Dutch will help you to better manage your everyday life, e.g. going shopping, visiting places of interest, reading notices and understanding simply written Dutch communications, being able to converse with your neighbours and to communicate with Dutch native speakers who may “not speak English so well”. Most Dutch classes also introduce various aspects of Dutch life and culture into their content, which gives you the added benefit of gaining an insight into living in the Netherlands, by joining a language class you will most likely be with other newcomers, what better way to make friends than through bonding over some of the weirder pronunciations for Dutch words.

Learning the Dutch language to a more proficient level will provide the additional benefit of making it easier to integrate into Dutch society. You will find it easier to participate in Dutch sport/society clubs, understand the latest news and current events through the various media such as Dutch newspapers, TV, local radio and on social media. You will be able to read formal correspondence, e.g. letters sent by your utility suppliers, your bank or insurance company or from the local government. You should not set your language goal to be 100% proficient in six months. Think of learning Dutch as a gradual process of new words entering into your conversation This will give you a better idea of what is being said in the workplace amongst your Dutch colleagues or in the shops without feeling like an outsider.

What is the most effective way for me to learn Dutch? I am not a natural linguist, so I might find it hard to learn Dutch.

It is not compulsory for me to learn Dutch but I would like to learn it. Can you suggest some good language institutes and learning centres for me?

Who can attend classes at a volksuniversiteit?

Can I teach myself Dutch?

Is there any organisation that can help me practice my Dutch and help me feel at home?