Would you like to use TV programmes to help improve your Dutch? Dutch teacher Joska Kruijssen offers some great viewing suggestions

There are multiple ways to create a meaningful learning environment to help your brain get the most out of your effort to improve your Dutch.

It all starts with increasing the amount of Dutch you are exposed to in your day-to-day routine, bearing in mind that it’s easiest to hear Dutch that is relevant and meaningful to you. An easy way of upping your exposure to Dutch is to choose a couple of TV programmes you find interesting and blend them into your daily routine. 

There is a great website npo.nl where you can watch any programme produced and broadcasted by Dutch public television. I recommend documentaries and reality TV shows, as unscripted TV – unlike drama series and movies – is closer to how people in real life express themselves: sloppier, with more expressions, hesitations, repetition, unfinished sentences and genuine emotion. It’s the real thing! For TV extracts on demand that have been carefully selected for newcomers to the Netherlands, check out NPO’s Net in Nederland. You can choose between Arabic, English and Dutch subtitles.

Here are my suggestions (all the below-mentioned programs you can find on npo.nl, using the search option):

TV programmes for beginners (suitable for watching with your children)

1. Buurman & Buurman: A stop-motion show about two dexterous friends messing things up.

2. Knofje: A beautifully designed and styled programme about a little girl and her family, seen through the eyes of a four-year-old.

3. NOS Jeugdjournaal: World news in easy and child-friendly language

4. Sesamstraat: The utch version of an American favourite.

5. Studio Snugger: Everyday things explained to kids, who then have to guess whether it’s true or false.

TV programmes for intermediate learners

1. Buitendienst: A hilarious show for older kids on the functionings of nature

2. Ik Vertrek: Reality TV about Dutch families who leave behind everything to start a new life somewhere else. But before they find their expected happiness, many things go wrong.

3. Baby Te Huur: Reality TV about young couples who experience what it means to be a parent when they take care of a baby for a few days.

4. Metropolis: A hilarious programme with interviews with people from all over the world on topics such as love, sexuality, food, and family.

5. Keuringsdienst van Waarde: Reporters try to reveal the reality behind the food industry’s clever marketing to discover what our food is really made of. Funny and interesting.

6. Ali B op Volle Toeren: Beautiful programme where young Dutch musicians meet up with the older generation to create something new. An interesting insight on Dutch culture and the changing society.

TV programmes for advanced learners

1. Mocro of Kaaskop: A Moroccan Dutchie digs deep to find out who he really is – Dutch or Moroccan. Or something in between?

2. De Wereld Draait Door: A talk show about news topics, with various guests.

3. Zondag met Lubach: A humorous perspective on the news and Dutch society.

4. 3Doc: Documentaries on various topics such as music, politics, human interest.

5.  A’dam en E.V.A: A funny and realistic drama series that takes place in Amsterdam about a girl and a boy falling in love in spite of life.


Good to know! Did you know you can watch all NPO programmes with Dutch subtitles? Just press teletext 888 on your TV or click on the T on the online player, and subtitles will appear in real-time!

Joska Kruijssen

Joska Kruijssen is a Dutch teacher and owner of Rubio Dutch Amsterdam, a language school with a unique method based on natural learning principles, where grammar and vocabulary are considered a means and not a goal in itself. She is the mother of two bilingual girls, aged 8 and 4, and lives in Amsterdam together with her Spanish partner.