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Interesting facts about the Dutch language – what you should know when going to work in the country of tulips

5 December, 2022
Sylwia Szerszeń

Residents of central and eastern Europe are increasingly choosing the Netherlands as their destination for seasonal or permanent work. The reason for such decisions is undoubtedly decent and fair wages. Abounding with many interesting job opportunities, the labour market in the Netherlands is extremely hospitable. But do you have to speak Dutch language to find a job in the country of tulips?

Basic information about the Dutch language

The official language spoken in the Netherlands is Dutch. If you ever hear that Dutch is only a variant of German, don’t care about this big misconception. Admittedly, it’s closely related to it, but it cannot be considered a mere variety. Dutch belongs to the Germanic language group, which also includes German, English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Icelandic. The language in question is spoken by some 27 million people, of whom 23 million are native speakers. For the rest of its users, Dutch is a second language they have fully mastered. There is also a language extremely similar to it – Afrikaans – a language spoken by as many as 17 million people.

Dutch – a few interesting facts

We’ve already mentioned that Dutch is spoken by about 27 million people worldwide, which means that in this respect, it outdoes all North Germanic languages (this group includes Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and Faroese) combined. Interestingly, Dutch is an official language not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium.

Sometimes you will come across the term “Flemish language”, which refers precisely to the variety of Dutch used in Belgium.

Dutch, the language of infinitely long words

It’s noteworthy that there is a Dutch word in the Guinness Book of World Records, included there in 1996. What word are we talking about? It’s Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamhedenplan, exactly 53 letters long. Impressive, isn’t it? Meaning a plan of activities to prepare for a children’s carnival procession, the word can’t be found in the Dutch dictionary. The longest word included in dictionaries, however, is equally amazing. What we’re talking about here is Meervoudigepersoonlijkheidsstoornissen, which means dissociative identity disorder. As you see, Dutch is very interesting, which is one of the reasons why it’s definitely worth learning. Knowledge of the language will undoubtedly make it easier for you to communicate during your stay in the Netherlands.

How to go about learning a foreign language?

There are times when the knowledge of English or German simply proves insufficient. Speaking a second foreign language opens additional opportunities. Sometimes basic skills in this respect are enough to get a better position or salary increase. All it takes is a little motivation, self-discipline, and willingness to get started on the adventure of learning a foreign language. Therefore, let us explain how to master basic Dutch by sticking to a few simple rules.

Are you going to the Netherlands to work there? You need to know these Dutch phrases!

When taking your first steps in Dutch, you can begin by learning a few basic phrases. Knowing them will certainly help you during your stay in the country of tulips, windmills, and cheese:

  • Goedemorgen! – Good morning!;
  • Goedemiddag! – Good afternoon!;
  • Goedenavond! – Good evening!
  • Tot ziens! – See you!/ See you later!
  • Alstublieft! – Here you are!
  • Alsjeblieft – Please.
  • Bedankt! – Thanks!
  • Neem me niet kwalijk. – I’m sorry.
  • Kunt u mij helpen? – Can you help me?
  • Kunt u wat langzamer praten? – Can you speak more slowly?
  • Kunt u dat herhalen? – Can you repeat that?

Language skills – a gateway to new opportunities

If you go to the Netherlands to take up employment and only speak your first language, you should expect to be employed in typically manual jobs, where the need to communicate is hardly required. Using English, for instance – a widely spoken language, you can expect to be wanted in slightly more challenging positions. It would also be ideal for a person who’d like to start working in the Netherlands to speak Dutch. Such skills provide job seekers with almost the same opportunities as native Dutch speakers.

If you don’t have a good command of any foreign language, it’s advisable to let specialist recruitment agencies do the search. Working with one of them will make it easier for you to find employment in a convenient location and bring many other benefits – good pay, accommodation, a consultant’s support, legal employment based on a Dutch contract, as well as insurance and fringe benefits.