Is learning Dutch easy?

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Your first contact with the Dutch language might be a bit frightening.

When you’re not familiar with Dutch, you could get scared by the unknown. You’re only hearing incomprehensible words combined with strange G-sounds and R-noises.

But then, you might be surprised when you start learning the language! In this video, students from the Dutch Summer School share their experiences of learning Dutch from scratch.

And to answer the question: Is learning Dutch easy? My answer is: YES!

Why? Here are some reasons.

It’s easier than people think

Learning Dutch is a challenge, I admit. But it’s easier than you might think. Like one student in the video says:

  • “If you grasp the basics, you will be okay.”

This is true, because Dutch has a lot of similarities with English and German, as it comes from the same family of languages. Several students view Dutch as the language in between English and German.

Or ‘the easier version of German’.

English words in Dutch and Dutch words in English

In English there are a lot of words that are similar to the Dutch words. 

Take this for example:

  • Ik drink koffie en ik eet een koekje
  • I drink coffee and I eat a cookie

Quite similar, right?

In Dutch we see a lot of English words, like computer, manager and hockey. In the last year, there has been such an increase, that the number of English words in Dutch is even starting to irritate some Dutch people.

“For English speakers, Dutch is probably one of the easiest languages to learn”

You can start practising your Dutch straight away.  Just the basic grammar and words is enough to get you going. And don’t forget:

Your pronunciation doesn’t have to be perfect!

There are many dialects and accents in Dutch and not one perfect Dutch. Each region has its own pronunciation so there’s a good chance that your ‘G’ or ‘R’ is good enough.

“What you read is what you get”                     

The pronunciation that comes from the way that the words are spelled is pretty consistent and intuitive.

Dutch directness

The Dutch are known for being direct. You can also see this in the language. You say what you want to say.

“You don’t have to put in nice words to sound more polite.”

Don’t be afraid.                                        

All the above points lead to the fact that you can say

  • “Yes, it is easy to learn Dutch.”

Another important aspect here is what one student says,

“Don’t worry too much about this and don’t be afraid.”

It helps that Dutch people like it when you try to speak Dutch.

Dutch Summer and Winter School

Practising Dutch is one of the main reasons I started with the Dutch Summer School and the Winter School. Here, you can practise with people in the same situation.

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School