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Although Dutch is considered an easy language for English speakers to learn, it still requires hard work and dedication to reach a proficient level. Using the right way to study can be beneficial and keep you motivated to learn. But with so many options out there, finding the best way to study can be time-consuming. This guide compiles 6 of the most effective ways to learn Dutch. There’s something on this list to fit every learning style and budget.
Dutch has over 22 million native speakers and is the 10th most spoken language in Europe. But it isn’t just spoken in the Netherlands. It’s also an official language in Belgium, Suriname, the Dutch Antilles, and is commonly spoken in Germany and the north of France. It’s also one of the most-closely related languages to English and is a gateway language to learning German and Afrikaans. No matter if you want to learn Dutch for travel, job opportunities, or to speak to friends and family, this list can help you find the best way to learn Dutch.
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It would be easy if we could snap our fingers and start speaking Dutch. But the truth is it takes time and dedication. But there are steps you can take to make the process easier and faster. One of the best ways to learn is to use a variety of resources. For example, a textbook is effective for learning important grammar topics, but taking online classes with a native tutor is much more useful for practicing speaking and conversation.
Another effective way to learn is to immerse yourself in Dutch culture. Even if you can’t visit a Dutch-speaking country, there are ways you can immerse yourself right from your home. Thanks to streaming services, it’s now easier to access tv series and movies in other languages. You can also watch a YouTube channel or read a Dutch newspaper online.
Language apps are a popular option for learning Dutch. They are interactive and often incentivize you to log in and practice every day. Apps are also convenient and let you study on your own schedule. The apps listed below, Babbel, Pimsleur, and Mondly are some of the biggest names in the language learning industry and will help you learn Dutch effectively.
Babbel is the best overall app to learn Dutch because it teaches all language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The lessons are short and interactive, and teach important vocabulary and grammar to help you navigate everyday situations in Dutch. It doesn’t overwhelm you with complicated grammar. You can try a free lesson to see if you like it, or read more about it in this Babbel review.
Pimsleur’s focus is to get you speaking quickly. The audio-based lessons focus on conversations between Dutch speakers and help teach correct pronunciation. They then break down the conversation to explain different language topics. By the end of the lesson, you’ll understand what was said and can practice along. Pimsleur offers a free 7-day trial if you want to try it. You can also read more about the app in this Pimsleur review.
Mondly is a good choice for Dutch beginners. The quick and interactive lessons teach the most important grammar and vocabulary topics. The Mondly app uses some cool technology that let’s you track your progress and even take lessons with artificial intelligence. There’s also a chatbot that helps you practice basic conversations. You can try Mondly for free with a 7-day trial, or if you’re interested, read more about it in this Mondly review.
Online learning has taken off in the past few years, and now there are tons of platforms that have online Dutch courses. There are different options that can fit your schedule and budget, such as self-directed courses or those led by a teacher. They can often be specialized and focus on the specific topic you need. UvA Talen, TaaltHuis, and Dutch First have first-rate courses with flexibility to customize them to your needs.
UvA Talen has 8 levels of Dutch courses that range from complete beginner to proficient. There are also courses to prepare you for the Nt2 exam, the official language proficiency exam of the Netherlands, as well as specialized courses like Dutch Business Writing and Academic Dutch. The classes are live and led by a qualified Dutch teacher. There are different start dates throughout the year. You can take a free level test to see what course you should sign up for.
TaaltHuis has multiple options including a self-study course and teacher-led classes. They have complete beginner classes through advanced level, and group classes have a maximum of 8 students so that you have the opportunity to talk in class. The self-study courses can be completed at any time, and the teacher-led classes have different starting dates throughout the year. You can check what level you should start at and learn more on the TaaltHuis website.
Dutch First is a language academy that offers in-person and online courses. The courses use a combination of independent learning on their virtual platform, as well as teacher-led classes that you take online. For lower levels, there is also the option to take a self-study course that you can complete at your own pace. You can check out their extensive list of classes and start dates on the Dutch First website.
Taking classes with a teacher is a very effective way to learn a language, and now it’s possible to take classes from the comfort of your home. Thanks to online learning platforms, you can connect with a tutor that lives in the Netherlands, Belgium, or anywhere in the world, to take private lessons from your home. Italki, Preply, and Verbling are 3 safe and secure platforms that can help you find a qualified Dutch tutor.
Italki is an online platform that connects language teachers and students. Once you find a teacher, you take 1-on-1 classes through the platform. It's very secure so you’re personal information and payment are safe. There are currently over 100 Dutch teachers available for online lessons. You can choose a teacher that’s a good fit for you based on their availability, price, and what languages they speak. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson. You can read more about how the platform works in this italki review.
Preply is a platform similar to italki. There are over 150 Dutch teachers that you can connect with to take online classes. You can search for a tutor that you like using different filters like availability and price. You can also choose what you want to study, like conversational Dutch, business Dutch, or Dutch for children. Preply has a happiness guarantee that lets you take as many free trial lessons as you want until you find a teacher that you like. If you’re interested, you can read more about it in this Preply review.
Verbling is another safe and secure option for finding an online Dutch teacher. Each teacher has a profile that you can view that shows an introductory video, their availability, and ratings from past students. Each teacher designs their own curriculum so you can study exactly what you want. Most teachers offer a free trial lesson so you can see if they’re a good fit for you before buying additional classes. You can learn more in this Verbling review.
Studying with books is always an effective way to learn Dutch. They’re easy to use, require no technology, and you can bring a book with you anywhere. Most language classes in schools or learning centers use books, but now there are many choices out there designed for self-study. The three books on this list, Complete Dutch: Beginner to Intermediate, Short Stories in Dutch for Beginners, and Easy Dutch Phrasebook are excellent choices with tons of positive reviews on Amazon.
Complete Dutch: Beginner to Intermediate is a comprehensive way for beginners, or those that need a refresher, to learn Dutch up to an intermediate level. The book focuses on communication and how to handle everyday situations in Dutch. In addition to the explanations and practice exercises included in the book, you also have access to online audio or through an app to practice speaking and pronunciation. You can see if this book is a good choice for you and read reviews here.
Short Stories in Dutch for Beginners contains eight short stories that are at an A2-B1 level. They cover a wide variety of genres and the most common vocabulary words. Each story has a complete plot summary, word list, and comprehension questions to test your understanding of the story. People who purchased the book recommend it for people that already have some knowledge of Dutch. You can read what other reviewers thought here.
The Easy Dutch Phrasebook has over 1,500 of the most commonly used words and phrases in Dutch. It’s a good choice for learning everyday language or if you are traveling to a Dutch-speaking country. Every word has an English translation and phonetic pronunciation to help you learn how to say the word correctly. People who purchased the book thought it was incredibly helpful for building vocabulary quickly. You can learn more about the book here.
Watching Dutch YouTube videos is a more modern way to learn a language. Some channels have videos that teach the basics of the Dutch language in a typical “classrrom-syle” setting, and others take to the streets and interview native speakers. Whichever type of video you prefer, it’s a great way to hear how real people speak Dutch. Best of all, YouTube videos are free to watch!
Bart de Pau is a Dutch language teacher that creates entertaining videos to connect people with Dutch culture and language. There are videos that teach Dutch language as well as funny videos where he interviews language students about their views of Dutch culture and language. He has a popular series called “1000 most common words in Dutch” and an animated soap opera designed to teach Dutch basics. He posts 1 or 2 new videos every week.
Easy Dutch is part of the Easy languages project that exposes people to the Dutch language through authentic conversations. In each video, the host interviews Dutch speakers on the streets of the Netherlands about common cultural topics. It’s an excellent way to practice your listening skills and hear how Dutch speakers really talk. There are subtitles in Dutch and English to help you better understand what you are hearing, and they post a new episode every Thursday.
Kim is an experienced teacher of the Dutch language. She has videos that teach tricky grammar and vocabulary topics. There’s also a video series for complete beginners to start their learning journey. Her upbeat personality makes learning fun. She explains concepts in English and then pronounces the words in Dutch. Kim uploads a new video every Friday.
Podcasts are excellent for practicing listening and understanding. And since they are audio-based, you can study Dutch hands-free wherever you can bring your phone or other devices. It’s a convenient way for busy people to squeeze in some language practice. DutchPod101, Zeg Het in Het Nederlands, and Echt Gebeurd are 3 options that have hundreds of episodes and will help you understand the Dutch language and culture.
DutchPod101 has hundreds of podcast-style lessons that teach everything from common language topics to cultural topics about dutch-speaking countries. Each lesson has audio that features native Dutch speakers, as well as a transcript, lesson notes, and vocabulary. There are 5 levels that go from absolute beginner to advanced, so there are lessons for everyone. You can try DutchPod101 with a free 7-day trial. You can also read more about the parent company in this Innovative Language review.
Zeg het in het Nederlands is a series of podcasts that teaches important conversational topics and vocabulary. It’s completely in Dutch so it’s best for learners that already have a knowledge base of the language. You can listen to all the episodes for free online, but you also have the option to pay for them if you want to download the pdf transcripts associated with each episode.
Echt Gebeurd is a fun and interesting podcast in which speakers read aloud from their childhood diaries. The stories they share can be funny, emotional, and everything in between. It’s an excellent way to hear what native Dutch speakers sound like, as well as learn a little bit about their culture through their stories. All the episodes are entirely in Dutch, but you can change to a slower playback speed depending on your understanding of Dutch. There are almost 400 episodes available to listen to for free.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably motivated to start learning Dutch. Hopefully this article has helped you find a study method that works well for you. They are all high-quality options, but everybody learns in a different way. Finding the right study tool can help motivate you to continue practicing and stick with the language learning process. With consistent practice, you’ll soon be able to converse in Dutch!
Want to learn more? Check out our Dutch resource page.
According to the US Department of State, it takes 600 hours to learn Dutch. But this number is only an estimate and depends on a variety of factors such as your natural ability to learn languages or if you speak a similar language like Afrikaans, English, or German.
To see how long it will take you to learn Dutch, check out this fluency calculator
To learn Dutch quickly, you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time to studying and use a variety of study methods. There’s not one resource that can possible cover all language skills effectively so it’s better to mix-andmatch. For example, you can practice speaking with a Dutch tutor and learn new vocabulary and grammar with a language app.
There are many ways to learn Dutch at home, but some of the best ways are to use a language app or study with an online course. Both of these let you learn on your own schedule and are often flexible and let you study what you want to. Studying with an app or course has the added benefit of being able to play audio so you can listen to how Dutch is really spoken.
The US Department of State classifies Dutch as an easy language for English speakers to learn. This is because the languages share similarities. But while it might be similar, there are some aspects that many English speakers struggle with when they learn Dutch, such as pronunciation and sentence structures.
There are many ways to reach a high level of Dutch, but if you want to become fluent you will need to practice with native speakers. This can be difficult if you don’t live in a Dutch-speaking country, but now there are other options, such as taking classes with an online teacher or using a messaging app like Tandem or HelloTalk to find a language exchange partner.
One of the most popular ways to learn Dutch for free is to use a language app, like Duolingo, that offers its content for free. Other apps, such as DutchPod101 and Drops offer limited content for free. Another way to study for free is to watch YouTube videos or listen to Dutch podcasts.