It’s common for foreign nationals to feel overwhelmed by aspects of life in the Netherlands. It takes energy and tenacity to find your feet in a different country and culture and come to terms with a new workplace, home, school or local neighbourhood. For some, it can be hard to imagine grappling with the language as well. You will, however, be pleasantly surprised to learn that so many Dutch people speak English. In the Netherlands, almost everyone can speak it. The Dutch take pride in this, though they may feign modesty when asked about it.
Nevertheless, the Dutch very much appreciate it when you try to communicate in their language. They can see that you are taking their culture seriously and are making an effort. The ability to speak some Dutch also increases employment and study opportunities and can help you connect with the locals and build a life here.
There are many opportunities in Utrecht Region to learn Dutch. Find an overview of the different opportunities below.
The municipality of Utrecht doesn't offer any free Dutch language courses but they subsidized some courses to make them more available. They are:
- The NL Training offers courses to practice your Dutch. It is possible to do an exam and get an official diploma. You need to meet the criteria: older than 18, not having to take the "inburgering/citizen" exam and live in certain areas in Utrecht Region. The course takes 40 to 60 weeks and you will have a class twice a week (in total 6 hours). The fee is 2 x 45 euros. Please note: these courses are very popular.
- Volksuniversiteit Utrecht offers subsidized courses for well-educated citizens, living in either the municipality of Utrecht or the municipality of Stichtse Vecht. They offer a discount to a maximum of 11 studetns. Meaning that they only pay 200 euros for moldue 1 to 4. Find more information on their website.
Utrecht Region has many different language schools. Some ask a fee and some of them are run by volunteers. Find some of them listed below. Please note: most websites are in Dutch, use a translation tool to translate the page.
- Radboud in'to Languages offers courses at different levels, from beginner to very advanced.
- Taalinstituut Doe Taal offers private lessons or lessons in groups of two at a price of 40 euros an hour.
- LestBest offers various types of language courses for highly skilled internationals.
- Babel offers various types of language courses at different levels.
- Flowently teaches Dutch by exposing you to real life situations out and about in the city. They offer both offline and online courses.
- Taalthuis Utrecht is ideal for those who want to learn how to speak Dutch while learning about the country they are living in.
Online opportunities without a fee
There's several options to practice your Dutch grammar, sentence building, vocabulary and more with videos, podcast and excercises. Have a look at Learn Dutch, The Online Dutch Acadamy, and the Introduction to Dutch by the University of Groningen.
Taalcafés are accessible meetings where newcomers get together to practice speaking dutch. The idea of a language cafe is to practise your language skills by talking to native speakers and other learners, informally, over a coffee or tea. There are no teachers present and you are welcome to participate on a regular basis or drop in when it suits you. Most language cafés are free or charge a small fee. Here are a few of Utrech Region's taalfcafés: the Language Café Utrecht (in collaboration with the library), TaalDoetMeer taalcafé, De Voorkamer Language Café, NL Cares Taalcafé and SPEAK.
The Dutch government has developed an examination system known as the NT2, which will give you an officially recognised diploma upon successful completion of the exam course. It serves as proof that you have achieved a solid command of the Dutch language. Depending on your residence status or goals, completion of this course may be required and may even be subsidised in your integration process.