I tried Taalthuis’s online Dutch course; here’s why I’ll be returning

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Like many internationals in the Netherlands, my life is BUSY. When I’m not in the office, I’m trying to enjoy this beautiful country.

That’s why finding the time to take in-person Dutch lessons wasn’t possible. Online lessons, however? Now, that was something I could fit into my schedule.

So, armed with the goal of learning Dutch, I signed up for Taalthuis’ online Dutch course. Despite my coronavirus-induced makeshift workspace and decidedly un-orthopaedic chair, my online Dutch lessons have been a success beyond what I imagined.

Before I get into why this is, let’s answer the question we’re all asking. 

Can I really learn Dutch remotely? 

I was originally apprehensive about learning Dutch online. Would online lessons work? Would a video call feel too crowded? Would I ever get a chance to actually speak and practise my Dutch?

I had previously taken a Dutch language course two years ago. This course had been in person, and I couldn’t imagine that all those homework corrections and in-class exercises could be done through Zoom. 

READ MORE | 11 myths about taking Dutch lessons, busted

I logged on to my first lesson at my school of choice, Taalthuis, a bit nervous. But, I quickly discovered that learning Dutch online is just as good as learning in a classroom — with some added benefits too.

Online Dutch lessons are effective, take it from a seasoned student

Online Dutch lessons at Taalthuis were not only sufficient but effective — my Dutch boyfriend also noticed the improvement! The subject matter and learning tools made me feel like I was not just learning the language, but that I was learning how to use it for life beyond the (online) classroom. 

As someone who has now done multiple online courses with Taalthuis, I can say my Dutch has improved by leaps and bounds! Image: Freepik

The proof? It has now been three years since I first started learning Dutch through Taalthuis’s online (A1-A2) Dutch course, and I keep. On. Returning.

READ MORE | How long does it take to learn Dutch?

As I now prepare to enter into my B1-B2 course, I can definitely say that my Dutch skills have blossomed these past few years — and what do I have to thank for this? Online courses.

So, how did Taalthuis’s online courses help me get to this point?

I was able to learn Dutch online for life outside the classroom

Your learning may happen online — but these courses prepare you for those everyday situations and nuances involved in life in the Netherlands

In my A1-A2 course, we started by covering basic topics such as the weather forecast but also things like how to tell someone what you think of their clothing, what you would like to do for work, and even how to describe a painting!

In class, you’ll learn how to actually use Dutch. Image: Freepik

Now, as I’m about to enter my B1-B2 course, I can write emails in Dutch, tell people about my hopes and dreams, talk about my feelings, and I can construct more complex sentences.

Each lesson is structured in such a way that we learn new grammar and vocab alongside little snippets of information about life in the Netherlands, such as borrelen, the Golden Age, and Rembrandt

I could make use of a helpful online platform 

A real plus that I found when learning Dutch with Taalthuis was their online e-learning platform for beginner’s courses. Alongside the lessons, students had access to an online portal through which they can access a run-down of the lesson’s grammar and vocab, as well as exercises and quizzes. 

When given access to an online learning environment, students are offered a learning guide that lays out what to study both before and after each lesson, which is great for disorganised scatterbrains such as me.

READ MORE | 5 ways Dutch classes will actually give your Dutch the boost it needs

One particularly fun aspect of this online platform is the liedjes. After each lesson, you can acquaint yourself with some classic Dutch bops. You listen to the song and fill in the gaps. Initially, this was very challenging (some Dutch tunes are simply NOT for me), but it’s a great exercise in listening comprehension. 

After all, if you can understand a Dutchman singing about heartbreak, then you can understand your barista when ordering “een kopje koffie.”

Handig! (Handy!) The online e-learning platform can also be used by people who are looking to brush up on their knowledge before joining a beginner’s course, which is great if you’re a bit nervous about starting your Dutch-learning journey.

I had textbooks tailored to my lessons

Another huge plus that I found while learning Dutch was that Taalthuis offers customised, bespoke textbooks for all of its beginner courses — which are included in the course price.

Who said an online course can’t involve proper textbooks? Image: Freepik

One book covered grammar, another covered vocab, and they were both tailored to each and every lesson. Perfect for someone looking for a straightforward and organised approach to learning Dutch.

Taalthuis’ online classroom is a tried and tested method

Four years on from creating their online Dutch lessons, Taalthuis has finessed their approach to online learning.

This was one of the main reasons why the school appealed to me. Online Dutch language courses weren’t simply a temporary adjustment for the school triggered by the coronavirus pandemic but instead, a tried and tested learning method.

I was part of small workshops, so I wasn’t ever left behind 

Before starting online lessons, I was nervous that I might just be another face in a Zoom grid. But I really liked that my tutors regularly put us into ‘breakout rooms’ where I could work through exercises with other students. When we got stuck, the tutors were never far away and could help out.

Taalthuis works with small classes so that everyone can get the attention they need. Image: Freepik

There’s also no need to worry about getting lost in a grid of faces and audio feedback. Taalthuis’ learning environments are always kept small. Your class will consist of a maximum of eight people — meaning that you’re always going to be asked to participate, and you have time to ask your questions. 

If anything, this setup meant that I spent even more class time speaking Dutch. Thanks to the breakout rooms, we could all participate in every exercise without talking over each other. 

I could meet new people — and their pets! 

Many of us are still adjusting to life after the pandemic, and a common issue among internationals in the Netherlands is that some of their friends left the country during the crisis — and never came back.

I found that another great advantage of the online lessons was how interactive they were. I didn’t sit and listen, I participated, practised, and praatte (talked) with my classmates! Not only was this a great way for me to practice my Dutch, but also to make some more friendships in a time when socialising was more difficult.

Not only did I learn Dutch, but I also made some friends along the way. Image: Freepik

In our first lesson, our wonderful tutor, Geeta, made sure the atmosphere was light and fun. Within 15 minutes, my new classmates were proudly holding their pets up to the camera. The vibes were good, and they stayed that way throughout the many online classes that followed. 

Two years later, I’m still in contact with some of my previous classmates — hoi Tyler and Tolstoy! (Tyler’s very cute dog.)

I could learn Dutch from anywhere in the world

Perhaps you’re sitting behind a desk in Ireland, or on a tropical beach in the Bahamas (if so, how does it feel not to be vitamin D deficient?) Regardless of your coordinates and your luck, remote lessons are for anyone with a stable WiFi connection and a can-do attitude. 

READ MORE | Dutch made fun and easy: Taalthuis brings the spark to at-work language learning

I had the connection — and a strong cup of coffee to keep my brain fuelled — so my location was one less thing I had to worry about when learning Dutch.

I could learn Dutch from start to finish

Taalthuis makes sure that if you start online, you can also finish online. Having now taken three online Dutch courses with Taalthuis (and about to head into my fourth, eek!) I can happily say that nearly my entire journey to learning Dutch has taken place in the online realm — and that made the road to success so much easier.

From A1 to C1, I plan on learning my Dutch completely online. Image: Freepik

If I wanted, I could smoothly transition from one online course to the next level. Meaning I wasn’t faced with a logistical struggle every time I decided I wanted to level up my Dutch!

No matter what the level or class type, Taalthuis has a lot to offer when it comes to online courses:

  • Online Beginners Course (A0-A1) 
  • Online Beginners Plus (A0-A2)
  • Online Advanced Course (A2-B1)
  • Part 1 Online Advanced Course (A2-B1)
  • Part 2 Online High-Advance Course (B1-B2)
  • Online To perfection (B2-C1)
  • Online conversational course (A2 and B1)

Downsides to learning online

As with everything, learning Dutch online isn’t perfect. You always rely on technology to cooperate with you — and sometimes, it doesn’t want to.

I had some issues with my headphones cutting out, and as a result, my poor tutor was sometimes calling on me, only to receive a blank and oblivious stare in return. Luckily, a quick purchase of a new pair fixed that problem fast.

Another aspect of Dutch lessons that is missing from the online realm is the chatter that you can enjoy with your classmates before and after class.

However, in the grand scheme of things, I ultimately saw these as small hiccups in the road as opposed to actual deterrents when it comes to my online Dutch journey.

Ok, I’m ready to learn Dutch, give me the deets

Taalthuis’s prices range from €175 to €595 depending on the course you choose. However, the standard price for Taalthuis’s online Dutch courses is €525. These online courses can bring you from A1, all the way up to C1 and are offered quite frequently. Ready to start your journey? Check them out!

Have you tried online Dutch lessons? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below! 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2021, but was fully updated in August 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Before becoming the Senior Editor of DutchReview, Sarah was a fresh-faced international looking to learn more about the Netherlands. Since moving here in 2017, Sarah has added a BA in English and Philosophy (Hons.), an MA in Literature (Hons.), and over three years of writing experience at DutchReview to her skillset. When Sarah isn't acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her trying to sound witty while writing about some of the stickier topics such as mortgages and Dutch law.

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