Why should you learn Dutch?
Since you live and work in the Netherlands, why not learn the language? Dutch is a fun language, not only to listen to but also interesting to learn as well. Why learn Dutch, you may ask? Learning Dutch can open up new opportunities and enhance your experience of living in the Netherlands. Here are some great reasons to learn the language – especially if you’re living here.
1. Because it’s the official language!
Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and the mother tongue of the Dutch people. Not only is it important for dealing with official institutes in the Netherlands or learning about the Dutch culture, you will also need it in daily conversation. Think about explaining your broken sink to your Dutch speaking plumber. Or socializing in your new sports team with your teammates. And don’t forget, there is world outside Amsterdam. It’s not so certain that in smaller towns you will get away with English.
2. Learning Dutch helps with practicalities
In addition to knowing basic words and phrases to live your new life somewhat independently, there are a few practical reasons too. For instance, knowing some Dutch makes reading restaurant menus, road signs, newspapers, and ingredient lists much easier. You won’t get lost and you’ll be able to make your way through a supermarket by yourself! It also makes administrative procedures like filling out taxes or applying for certain allowances much easier. You won't need a third-party translator and will have the satisfaction of being one step closer to being a fully-fledged adult.
3. Learn Dutch to get to know the culture
Culture isn’t always visible. The culture of a place also includes its language, sayings, humor, and even songs. Therefore, by speaking a bit of Dutch or learning to understand it, you can learn a great deal about Dutch culture. Plus, you can talk to locals! Locals are always a great way to integrate yourself.
4. More job opportunities
Though finding an English job is by no means difficult, it can be beneficial to show an employer that you understand some Dutch. Even being able to say basic phrases could be helpful. In jobs where you might be communicating with people, guests, or clients, it’s never a bad thing to boast some language skills. You will see that when you’re able to speak Dutch, or even if you can show you are learning the language, you will definitely get more options.
5. Language and culture are strongly linked
Learning the language will give you an insider's view of the culture; for example, it will become clear why Dutch people can sometimes come across as rude when they speak English. The Dutch prefer a direct style of communication, and a literal translation in that style can often seem very blunt to a foreigner.
6. Learning Dutch will increase your understanding of your own language and other languages
Most people don’t put too much thought into their own language – everything comes together automatically, so why would you? However, learning a new language makes you compare it with your own language and with any other language you know. You will discover similarities and differences, and you may even uncover the influences of your own language when you try to speak Dutch.
7. Dealing with official institutes
So you waited almost 40 minutes to get a helpdesk operator with your question about your registration at the gemeente. Then it turns out he is only allowed to speak to you in Dutch. It also appears that you had to choose a different option from the menu. Now the waiting time starts again from zero and is probably longer with this menu. You’d wish you could speak a little Dutch. There is information at official institutes which is available in English, but certainly not always. And also, getting in touch with an official institute takes more time. Learning Dutch will make this process a lot easier!