But everyone in Amsterdam speaks English
The majority of people in Amsterdam do speak English and will likely switch to it once they hear the foreign accent fumbling through the guttural Dutch 'g'. However, though daunting at times, learning the local language helps one gain insight into Dutch culture, customs, structure, current events and history, as well as making it easier to delve into Amsterdam's rich cultural scene, develop social contacts and assimilate. Acquiring even an elementary level of Dutch will make your life easier and make you feel more at home.
Types of courses in Amsterdam
There are many different types of language institutions, each offering various courses, with different techniques and at different costs. Some programmes focus on business and tailor-made intensive courses for professionals at all levels, whilst others offer intensive, semi-intensive and extensive Dutch language training with additional lessons in Dutch culture and social life. Several institutes are also CEDEO certified in regards to customer satisfaction and quality.
The City of Amsterdam offers many different courses to improve your Dutch and to help you get acquainted with living in Amsterdam. These courses are mostly free of charge, but not everyone is eligible. Find more information here.
Examination system - NT2 diploma
The Dutch government developed an examination system known as the NT2, which will give you an officially recognised diploma upon successful completion of the exam course. It serves as proof that you have achieved a good command of the Dutch language. Depending on your residence status or goals, completion of this course may be required and may even be subsidised in your integration process. The Ministerie van Justitie (Ministry of Justice) has more information regarding the Integration Bill and to whom this applies.
Gilde Amsterdam (not-for-profit)
If you’re looking for a fun and unorthodox approach to improving your Dutch, Gilde Amsterdam is worth a look (website in Dutch). The organisation offers foreigners with a basic command of Dutch the chance to further improve their skills by pairing up for informal chats with native Dutch speakers. If you aren't too keen on entering the classroom but do want to improve your Dutch (and make some friends along the way), this is for you.
Civic Integration Act
Learn more about the standards of Dutch language skills required in the Civic Integration Act.
For a list of all Expatcenter partners, including language institutes, click here.