Wanna learn Dutch but you’re not sure where to start? Then you’re in luck! Whether you’re looking to move to the Netherlands or you pitched up here three years ago, it’s never too late to learn Dutch fast and easy.
It’s good that you want to Nederlands the fast and easy way, so we’ve put together seven tips to get the ball rolling for you (bonus: most of them are free ways to learn Dutch too).
Watch Dutch TV with subtitles
It may drive you absolutely crazy listening to Dutch television (there’s nothing worse than listening to a language on TV at first and not understanding a word), but trust me: it works.
It’s the perfect way to hear a conversation and internalise it as you’re reading the subtitles. In fact, that’s how a lot of children learn other languages (especially English). If they can do it, so can you.
Next time you want to Netflix and chill (or Netflix en chillen), leave out the chill and pop on that Dutch film. Your language skills will thank you for it, even if your partner won’t. 😉
Follow Bart de Pau’s channel
So, if you’re struggling with those Dutch lesson fees (we know those prices can be pretty terrifying), you can practice your skills or learn straight from scratch — completely free! Bart de Pau’s videos are informative, lighthearted and easy to understand.
If you’re looking for an easy and fast way to learn Dutch (which you must be or else you’re reading the wrong article!), then this is definitely worth checking out. You’ll be loving the Dutch life in no time!
Read children’s books
When you’re learning Dutch, you’ll be starting from square one, in the exact same way that a child learns how to read and pronounce words properly through a basic children’s book. We all did that one day with our own native language, so this is one of the best ways to do the same for Dutch.
One of the most popular Dutch children’s books is Jip en Janneke — known for its simplicity, but also cleverly written. Don’t fret, this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice Dutch. It’s also the perfect way to get a bit of bedtime reading in, though it may be a bit awkward at work when someone asks you what books you’ve been reading recently…
Give it your all, but remember: less is more.
Less really is more when it comes to learning a language. “Binge” learning Dutch fast and in a panic is not the most effective way of doing it. Do you remember being back in school (or maybe you still are) and you would stay up late attempting to absorb every little thing for your exam the next day in a last-minute cram sesh? Was it stressful? Well, the same goes for learning Dutch fast that way. If you want to learn it properly it’s going to take time and patience.
In order to learn Dutch, you also have to want to learn Dutch. If you’re not going to give it your all and put in 100% effort when practising, then you aren’t going to learn it quickly and you aren’t going to learn it properly. The key here is QUALITY over quantity (sorry, I’ll stop being so mumsie now). 😉
Talk to people and pretend you don’t speak English (no, seriously)
We’re all guilty of panicking halfway through a poorly strung together Dutch sentence and finishing it with “Spreekt u Engels?” or “Sorry, ik spreek Engels” or even worse, when you’re speaking okay, but the person you’re talking to switches to English anyway (goddamn our accent!). But now — no more! Let’s take a stand.
Forget that you speak English for a second and persevere. Even say (in Dutch) that you don’t speak English when they switch. Unless you’re having incredible difficulty or the person is starting to look p**sed off, then do not switch back, you’ll find that your confidence will grow and your language skills will flourish. Go for it — act natural and pretend you’re Dutch!
Find a study-buddy and exchange your language knowledge
I’ve often seen this on expat Facebook groups, where people are looking for someone to buddy-up with in order to practice their Dutch with. For example, if you have a friend who wants to practice their English (or another language you can help with) and they can speak fluent Dutch, then you can ‘exchange’ languages.
You practice on them and they practice on you (think about cursing in Dutch as well). You can even go on study-buddy dates where one of you will speak one language and then you’d respond in Dutch and the conversation will flow that way.
It’s quite funny to watch those who overhear your conversation. One time, I was on the train with my friend who sat next to a guy speaking English to another guy and he would just reply in Dutch over and over. My friend was very confused. It may sound crazy, but it works.
Listen to the Dutch radio
If you have a lot of international friends, it can be hard to practice your Dutch because no one is speaking it around you. Our last tip is that you can listen to Dutch music that’s on the radio. You don’t have to sit there, staring blankly at the walls, trying to listen out for every single word, but it might be a nice way to get used to hearing the different pronunciations. Ask a Dutch person what you should get jamming to, or try having it in the background whilst you do work.
And that’s it for now! Remember to have fun with it; it’s great that you are broadening your horizons by learning another language. You’ll get way more opportunities in the Netherlands and make a tonne of friends.
Eventually, you might even start to understand the Dutch humour — but that’s a whole other language entirely.
Good luck! Or as the Dutch say, success!
What are your top tips to learn Dutch easily? Drop them in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2018, but was fully updated in March 2021 for your reading pleasure. Feature Image: Armin Rimoldi/Pexels