So You Want To Learn Dutch the Easy Way?

Also, you want to learn it fast and for free? Seriously? This is Dutch we’re talking about here, not Italian, where you just add a vowel to an English word while you wiggle your hand with your fingertips clutched together.

Well, we’ve got good news for you, my linguistically challenged friend. The best combat-proven language learning site on the Internet (shut up, I’m totally not taking bribes from the DuoLingo team!) has released the beta version of the Dutch course for English speakers.
So just to recap, what exactly makes DuoLingo your weapon of choice when hacking away at your language deficiency? You can click here if you want to hear the founder Louis von Ahn explain his brainchild at a TEDx conference, or simply watch the ‘trailer’ for DuoLingo below:

Should you not have been able to watch either video, allow me to fill you in. DuoLingo’s strategy is simple yet brilliant: its greatest feat is that you learn a new language by translating it into English (or in some cases, other languages). But how does that work: translating a language that you don’t know yet? In the most simple way: as you move your mouse over a foreign word, the literal translation appears. To prevent the result from looking just like Google Translate (no offense Google, but you simply suck at translating), it is up to you to make a proper sentence from all those bits. Users can also edit or comment on translations of other users, creating a hive mind which will allow for the best possible translation to surface eventually. In fact, selling these translations is how DuoLingo earns its money, making their language lessons free for all to us. So here’s a win-win scenario if I ever saw.

Users can also upload texts from the Internet at will, provided of course that they do not contain offensive or copyrighted material. This way, language acquiring becomes doubleplus fun, because you can master a new tongue while learning something about a topic that interests you.

Mind you that this particular feature is not yet available for the language courses that are still in beta (at the moment of writing, there are twenty of them), but it is included in those who graduated to a higher level. The course “Dutch for English speakers” has only been in beta for a short time now, so it might take a while for this to happen. However, it already offers all the regular lessons you’d expect from a language course, giving the users enough to work with. So be prepared to fluently utter typical phrases like “Do you like jazz, or music?” or “I am a penguin!” in the glorious guttural death-rattle that is the Dutch language.

Some of these features may not apply to ye old “AAP NOOT MIES” language board. source

DuoLingo is growing rapidly, with new courses being added continuously (sadly, the announced “Pirate for English speakers” course was an April Fool’s joke, but we are still keeping our fingers crossed for future updates, arrrrrr!!!).


EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this article may or not be taking bribes from the DuoLingo team.

Want to learn Dutch in a more personal way? Take a look at the services offered by InDutch:

They will deliver Dutch speakers right at your door
They will deliver Dutch speakers right at your door
Frank Kool
Frank Kool
Born and raised in Holland, spent his time procrastinating and studying Psychology and Philosophy. Frank harbors a special interest in weird social phenomena (which are ALL social phenomenon if you think about them long enough).


  1. It may have its strengths, but having done the Swedish Duolingo course and reached Level 18, I find it seriously flawed, and I’m 2/3 of the way through. The Swedish was entertaining and I absorbed it well, but the Dutch is harder to take in because the moderators (or whatever you call them) are not as professional/proficient. What do I mean? Their English translations are sometimes so literal they’re silly or just not idiomatic English. You find sentences you can’t imagine using and the answer, if you comment, is that you’re being taught the grammar. Well, theory without applicability seems not so very useful to me (I’ve studied and speak French and German and haven’t encountered that kind of thinking). Even worse, comments that critique the translations are apparently deleted. Maybe some people might enjoy learning Dutch via this program, but compared to the Swedish, it’s a long, hard slog. And with overly rigid and under-informed moderators (though one did thank me for a correction)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Fall asleep in Amsterdam, wake up in Barcelona! The NL is getting a new night train in 2023

Fancy falling asleep to the rhythmic chugging of a train and waking up in Spain? Well, you're in luck, because the Good Night Train...

The ultimate guide to setting up your DigiD in the Netherlands [2023]

Moved to the Netherlands and need a DigiD? The process of getting a DigiD can be a lengthy and confusing one. If you need some...

Happy 2023 y’all: the Netherlands just identified a case of mad cow disease

Wageningen BioVeterinary researchers discovered a singular case of mad cow disease at a farm in the South of Holland (but there isn’t too much...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.