Learning Dutch in Amsterdam

The majority of people in Amsterdam speak English and will likely switch to it once they hear a foreign accent fumbling through the guttural Dutch ‘g’. But it’s worth persevering: speaking the local language always makes life easier, and you can delve into Amsterdams rich cultural scene, get to know the locals and become a proper Amsterdammer!

Dutch courses in Amsterdam

Both the UvA and the VU offer Dutch classes for their students. These prepare you for the NT2 diploma: the officially recognised Dutch language certificate. But there are many other types of language institutions, each offering various courses with different timeframes and techniques and at different costs.

Meet new people

If you already speak some Dutch and are looking for a fun and unorthodox approach to improving your skills without spending even more time in a classroom, Gilde Amsterdam might be worth a look (website in Dutch). The organisation offers people with a basic command of Dutch the chance to practice by pairing up for informal chats with native Dutch speakers. You might even make some friends along the way!

Some useful phrases for students

To get you started, here are a few phrases you might find useful in your new life as an Amsterdam student.

Hallo! – Hello!
Hoe is het? – How are you?
Doei! – Bye!
Wat studeer jij? – What do you study?
Ik zoek een kamer. – I’m looking for a room.
Mag ik een koffie verkeerd, alsjeblieft? – May I have a latte, please?
Mag ik een vaasje, alsjeblieft? – May I have a beer, please?
Mag ik vijf vaasjes, alsjeblieft? – May I have five beers, please?
En wat bitterballen. – And some greasy, delicious, traditionally Dutch deep-fried things.
Hoe kom ik bij de bibliotheek? – How do I get to the library?
Sorry dat ik te laat ben, mijn fiets had een lekke band. – Sorry I’m late, my bike had a flat tire.*
Mijn kat heeft mijn scriptie opgegeten. – My cat ate my thesis.**

*University professors will not accept this as a valid excuse.
**This one neither.