Thinking about learning Dutch? Media Donyadari-van Westering shares her reasons for taking the plunge, and lists the Mamas’ favourite schools in the area.
Why Learn Dutch?
The reasons for learning Dutch are different for everyone. I still remember my first days in Amsterdam after the big move. At that time, one of the main reasons I wanted to learn Dutch was to be able to communicate with my partner’s family and friends in their own language. I also wanted to be part of all the conversations and not to feel ‘lost’ like I did at my first Sinterklaas party.
Many people who live and work only in the capital never need to speak the language because almost everyone can speak English. However, there are matters such as contacting the tax offices which require you to speak Dutch, but if your accountant is taking care of all that hassle, you can yet again get away with just speaking English or your mother tongue. However, most foreigners who move to the Netherlands eventually consider learning the language.
For non-Dutch parents, whose children are growing up in the Netherlands and go to Dutch schools, it is crucial to learn Dutch for the sake of their children and to facilitate their children's education.
Many parents would like to advance their careers in the Netherlands. Undoubtedly, when you speak the local language you have a better chance of doing so.
The starting point for learning Dutch is usually choosing a language institute, a good tutor or just finding the right books/study materials and methods for self study. I followed the last path and I learned the most by reading Metro newspaper while commuting to work every day and also following the Dutch subtitles on films!
Our Favourite Dutch Schools and Tutors
If you're looking for a language school, getting recommendations from others is a great way to help make your final decision. Here is a list of recommended schools from the Amsterdam Mamas. Veel succes!
ALC (Amsterdam Language Center)
Situated in the beautiful building of Beurs van Berlage, ALC offers both private and group language courses. They also have special accent training!
This school is focused on speaking Dutch and not much on grammar. They offer classes for both adults and kids as a group or individually. They also offer kids language camps.
Variety of options from ‘living room lessons’ to group lessons are available.
Dutch Courses Amsterdam offers one on one training in Dutch so you can feel comfortable living in the Netherlands. The one on one courses are specifically tailored to the individual, so you learn what you need for success in your particular situation. Their nationwide staff can help you get your Dutch Language and culture skills up to where you need them in as short a time as possible.
Both private and group lessons are available on weekdays. Private lessons are available only during working hours. Teacher Nick has been specifically recommended.
Features teacher Christine Wolfs, who has been specifically recommended for private lessons.
Reported to be fun and practical. Koentact offers a variety of Dutch courses, from a 1 week intensive course to regular group classes.
Not located in Amsterdam (based in Vught) and slightly expensive but still highly recommended by mamas and papas. They offer intensive courses where you learn Dutch with the nuns.
An online language learning community which offers Dutch courses next to 13 other languages.
Check them out especially if you need to go through inburgering exams!
Highly recommended in the community, Joska Rubio offers her students the best study plan based on their needs, including mindset courses to help overcome shyness. She also has a room with a play area for ‘bring your baby’ classes. The intake session is always free.
An innovative, interactive approach with a focus on conversation.
Talencentrum Holland offers Dutch language courses at all levels, from beginners to advanced. Classes are held at Café Kiebêrt in Amsterdam Oud Zuid. They are repeatedly recommended by mamas and are also one of our partner businesses.
This is intense with lots of homework, but it gets results and has been recommended by many mamas!
This school features good teachers and course material. They have special speaking classes for small groups.
Offering Dutch language courses especially for expats. This two-month course is highly recommended.
The above companies have been recommended by one or more of our members. The recommendation does not reflect the views or opinions of Amsterdam Mamas and we advise you to thoroughly research all your options independently before choosing a Dutch language school.
Originally from Iran, Media is married and is proud mother of Roham. She holds a BA in English Translation and an MBA with the University of Liverpool. In 2012, after working for 13 years in aviation and education, Media decided to stop working full time and enjoy more time with her son, who was growing up fast. One year later, she started her own business called Joys of Life and she is also the current AM's Partnership Manager. She loves travelling, cooking, reading, writing and photography.