Dutch Quirk #110: Speak more than one language

HomeCultureDutch Quirk #110: Speak more than one language

Here’s a very cool trait of Dutchies: they’re multilingual kings and queens! One would be hard-pressed to find someone in the Netherlands who doesn’t speak at the very least two languages.

Not only are most Dutchies pretty much fluent in English, but they’re also skilled at speaking other languages. 🇪🇺

What is it?

Whether it’s German, French, Italian, or other languages, Dutch people are a linguistically-talented bunch.

This multilingualism is more common among young and middle-aged speakers. 🗣️

Monolingual Dutch speakers are rare in the Netherlands and are more commonly found in the older population.

Why do they do it?

The Netherlands has always been a country with a global mindset. To continue dominating international business, Dutchies are well-versed in English and other languages. 🌍

They also love travelling and studying abroad, which fuels their language-learning passion. 🔥

On top of all that, they don’t do dubbing over English series and movies — just subtitles — so they’re pretty used to hearing English.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #77: Switch to English even if you speak Dutch

The secret to their success lies in their schooling: Dutchies study English starting from primary school all the way through to the final years of high school.

Students also take French or German starting in early secondary school, and as if that wasn’t enough, many also take Ancient Greek and Latin in high school.

Dutch is also part of the West Germanic language family and is one of the closest languages to English so that obviously helps as well! 😉

Why is it quirky? 

We’re shocked at the near-perfection of Dutch speakers’ English — it almost makes us not want to try and learn Dutch (but we still try, of course)!

READ MORE | 11 Dutch songs to learn the language (and culture!) 

Because Dutchies are so good at languages, it makes it difficult to gossip about them when they’re around. 🙈 They can throw themselves in any situation and be understood by others.

Should you join in? 

Of course! Learning a new language is always a good idea. It helps to develop your brain, and it gives you endless advantages professionally and personally.

And just because Dutchies are multilingual experts doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to emulate their awesomeness. We can at least try to leer Nederlands (learn Dutch). 😋

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2021, and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Nicole Ogden 🇹🇭 🇺🇸
Nicole Ogden 🇹🇭 🇺🇸
Hailing from the bustling city of Bangkok, Nicole is a Thai/American international student who came to the Netherlands to study linguistics. When she's not reading books or listening to true crime podcasts, she's practising her singing and guitar skills! She is also attempting to pick up the Dutch language (moeilijk).


  1. I’m so sorry to disagree with that article. Dutch people doesn’t speak German (at least not well; with very weird grammar and/or butchering it totally). They also feel quite uncomfortable with it. So please don’t make them good PR where they don’t deserve it (at least in German language).
    Fun fact: Most of European have this “funny” ability to speak more than 2 languages (outside their mother tongue).


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