The Dutch language is the native language of Netherlands and Flemish Province of Belgium. It has official status in Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. The closely-related (and mutually intelligible) language Afrikaans is spoken in South Africa and Namibia. Dutch is easier for English speakers. Dutch is close to English, considered even closer than German. So if you speak German and English, learning Dutch should be smooth sailing. And even if you only speak English, you will still have an advantage.

Regardless of how long you have been in the Netherlands or how long you plan to stay, mastering fluency or speaking no Dutch at all needn't be the only options. Learning to speak at least some Dutch can positively impact your experience here. It does require some effort, but the benefits begin almost immediately as you interact with fellow students while learning the language. Practice these newly found language skills in the world beyond the classroom and you will gain confidence in communicating at home, at work and in your neighbourhood, with Dutch friends, family and your colleagues. Your efforts to learn and speak will broaden your understanding and deepen your connections to the society you live in, resulting in a richer, more rewarding expat experience.
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