Here’s how to smash the Dutch integration exam, stress-free

Hit the books 📚

The Dutch integration exam: feared, made fun of, and heavily debated. However, the time might come when you have to confront this colossal examination — and pass it!

But before the exam anxiety kicks in, let’s bust a few myths about the Dutch integration exams because:

  • preparation doesn’t have to take years,
  • you don’t have to follow a strict curriculum and buy expensive books and
  • you definitely do not have to sit in a classroom to learn Dutch

…At least not if you prepare with InburgeringOnline — but more about that below. 😉


The Dutch integration exam (het inburgeringsexamen) is the Netherlands’ way of ensuring that you become a fully-fledged member of Dutch society who can contribute to and benefit from everything the country has to offer.

By passing a series of exams and other requirements, you receive an “inburgeringdiploma” or an “integration certificate”.

Most people need this if they eventually want permanent residency or Dutch citizenship.

Who needs to take the Dutch integration exams?

If you are inburgeringsplichtig (have a legal requirement to integrate), you’ll receive a letter from the DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs), the Dutch education implementation service, granting you a three-year preparation period for your official integration — plenty of prep time!

Studying for the Dutch integration exams might sound like a lot, but they can be quite simple! Image: Freepik

This letter will come swooshing through your post if your home country is not an EU state, Lichtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, or Turkey, and you do not meet any of the exemptions

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not inburgeringsplichtig, so why should I read on?” But stay with us for just a second more because many people who take the Dutch inburgeringsexamen aren’t actually required to do so — what?! 

Yup, although taking exams voluntarily might seem like a strange idea, passing the inburgeringsexamen can bring you greater freedom and security during your time in the Netherlands, no matter where you’re from. (We’ll talk more about the ways in which official integration can level up your Dutch life later 👇).

The Dutch (civic) integration exam explained

So what is this exam that the Dutch government has so carefully crafted? That depends on when you became required to integrate — we’ll discuss this below.

Generally, however, the inburgeringsexamen consists of seven parts.

The first three are about learning the values of Dutch society, finding work in the Netherlands, and being familiar with Dutch traditions, customs, and current events. This will be tested through:

  • A participation statement
  • Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market
  • Knowledge of Dutch Society

The last four parts of the exam are all about Dutch language learning. 🙊 You’ll be tested on:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing

The reading, listening, and speaking exams are done electronically at one of DUO’s seven locations. They all involve reading, watching, or listening to short texts or films and subsequently answering questions either orally or in writing to show that you’ve understood the content of the texts or films. 

Inburgering exams are taken at a test centre. Image: Freepik

The writing exam is the only one taken the good old-fashioned way.

For that, you’ll be required to write four short assignments that all have a practical goal in mind, such as filling out a form correctly or writing a letter. 

After completing the exams, you’ll have to wait patiently (or not) until you receive your results by post or the online portal.

A2 or B1?

There’s often a lot of confusion around whether the language level for the integration exams is A2 or B1 level.

That’s because the exams were for a long time A2, but a new law called the inburgeringswet 2021 made some changes.

Here’s the core of it:

  • If you become obliged to integrate before 2022, you’d take the exams on an A2 level
  • If you became obliged to integrate in 2022 or after, you’ll need to show a B1 proficiency unless your Personal Integration Plan (PIP) says otherwise.
  • If you are voluntarily applying for permanent residence or Dutch citizenship after 2023, you might need to take the exam at the B1 level. However, it is yet to be decided when the level increase will occur.

If you want to get a headstart on all the changes, we recommend signing up for the self-access courses with

Learning Dutch with

Finding time to study in the midst of daily responsibilities, such as a job, school, or family, can be challenging. That’s why we’re happy to introduce you to is an online learning platform designed by experienced Dutch language teachers to help you pass the language proponent of the inburgeringsexamen with flying colours. 🙌 

It was founded by Dutch teacher Bart Nawijn, who recognised the need for a new approach to studying to help exam candidates cope with the main struggles they faced when preparing for the Dutch language exams.  

Consequently, is tailored to busy internationals (like you!) so people can study in their own time and speed without investing heaps of money and time, receive quality guidance, and practice using study materials that are 100% focused on the inburgeringsexamen

“I felt more confident and the exam felt like the questions I’d already practised. It’s impressive how knows what students are looking for.”

Tarik Mallouili (39)
Customised so you can smash the Dutch integration exam stress-free! Image:

Are Inburgering’s courses suitable for me? offers courses for beginners and those who already speak een beetje Nederlands (a little Dutch).

All the courses (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) include study plans to fit your level of Dutch.

It can take you to the A2 or B1 level (depending on what you need to integrate) and even cover your KNM (knowledge of the Dutch society) exam!

What if you’ve watched a lot of Dutch TV and don’t feel like you need to study for the listening part?

Or have practised speaking Dutch with your colleagues and are confident you’ll nail that exam?

With subscription-based courses, you have ultimate flexibility and control over your own study journey. You can take as many or as few courses as you want and focus on what you find the most challenging. 

Study at your own pace

Perhaps the most unique thing about is that you customize your own learning experience. 

In the user-friendly online environment, you have total control over when and for how long you want to study: Want to watch lessons at 2 AM, do a practice exam during your daily commute, or practice the most common vocabulary before breakfast? You got it!

“I have a family to run, so to go back-and-forth TO A COURSE three times a week, that’s not very convenient for me.’s courses gave me the flexibility I needed and I liked their affordable prices.”

Melissa Groot (50)
From vocab and grammar to practice exams. With a glance, you’ll know everything it takes to prepare for your inburgering. Image: InburgeringOnline

Level up your Dutch life

Aside from the practical concern of being able to stay in the Netherlands, there are multiple reasons why taking (and passing) the inburgeringsexamen is a good idea.

Not only will you be able to speak basic Dutch and know about the society and culture that you find yourself in, but passing the Dutch integration exams will ultimately give you greater freedom while staying in the Netherlands: 

You’ll be less dependent on a work visa or sponsor, have reduced tuition fees at Dutch universities, and have greater access to social assistance. 

It was really helpful for a beginner like me. I passed the reading exam after studying with and have been recommending it to friends ever since.

Manivannan Kumar (39), IT consultant, Hilversum.

Ready to level up your Dutch life? Check out to learn more about their quality courses and how they can be tailored to you! You can also email them with any questions at in**@in***************.nl.

Succes met jouw examen! (Good luck with your exams!). However, if you study with’s flexible plans, we’re sure you won’t need any luck. 🤓 

Are you preparing for the Dutch integration exam? Or have you already taken it? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Feature Image:Freepik
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

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What do you think?

  1. Hi,
    Please verify and update your information about the A2 and B1 levels from the DUO website. What you’ve mentioned is incorrect. If you have to integrate in 2022, it’s not necessarily B1 level. Your level depends on when you entered the country and under what civic integration act you fall.

  2. I did mine having never taken lessons and just doing practice exams online. I passed all the exams , was exempted from ONA and participatieverklaring but it would have been nice to have access to this course cause I only just passed a couple of those exams and still have so many questions.
    This was a good piece, Thanks 😊


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