You will notice that the Dutch are very understanding to non-Dutch speakers and will switch to English. However, speaking Dutch is important if you want to integrate into Dutch society and to connect with fellow-students.

It is also very useful to know some Dutch if you want to do an internship or find a part time job. In some cases, it may even be a requirement. Once you start improving your Dutch language skills, you will find it easier to interact with your Dutch friends and colleagues. It also looks good on your CV because language skills are always a plus.

Where to start learning Dutch

You can already start learning Dutch before you come to the Netherlands. For example, by taking lessons with a Dutch teacher. You may be able to find one via the Dutch Embassy.

Ask your institution’s international office if they can put you in touch with Dutch exchange students before you leave. They can tell you about Dutch student life and maybe even teach you some basic Dutch.

Learning Dutch in the Netherlands

Dutch language courses are usually offered at different levels: beginner, intermediate or advanced.
Once you arrive in the Netherlands, there are several ways to go about learning Dutch:

  • Ask the university’s international office for information about Dutch language courses.
  • Take classes at an evening school.
  • Surf the web for free online resources and courses.
  • Find a language buddy or attend language cafés.

Study programmes in Dutch

If you want to study in Dutch instead of English, you can. To be eligible, you must pass the NT2 state exam.

Some institutions have additional admission requirements. They might, for example, set their own exam based on their language-teaching method. Therefore, you should always ask the institution for detailed information about the admission requirements.

You can find all information about Dutch-taught study programmes on

Advanced Dutch courses preparing for the NT2 state exam

Below is an overview of institutions offering NT2 courses:

Other useful links and apps

Ambassadors video

Do you need to speak Dutch when studying in the Netherlands? And is it true that every Dutch person speaks English? Dani and Olawale tell you all about it and share some essential words with you.