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Learning Dutch in Delft: 2021 Update

Members of Delft MaMa have expressed that Marie Kummerlowe’s 2017 comprehensive article about resources for Learning Dutch in Delft should be updated and reposted every once in a while, so here is the 2021 updated version. “There are always new people coming in, and many struggle with the same basic questions, among which is learning the language, she wrote.

There are resources for everyone, no matter their level of Dutch. So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join us as we revisit how to learn Dutch in Delft. Veel leesplezier!

originally posted on 7 March 2017, updated 15 September, 2021

Deciding to learn Dutch

Maybe you are new (or not so new) to the Netherlands, and you have gotten by very well with English so far. After all, almost everyone speaks English, and Google translate will render Dutch texts at least semi-comprehensible in your native language. The feeling may arise, though, that you are not fully integrated locally, or a certain unease may surface when you cannot understand the homework your child brings home. The deadline for passing the inburgeringsexamen might be approaching. Maybe it’s a good time to start learning some Dutch?

Or perhaps you have a Dutch-speaking partner, but this has been no help in improving your language skills. It is often more natural to stick to the language you have used throughout your relationship, and a native speaker does not naturally qualify as a language teacher. Indeed, the more times you ask him or her for an explanation of a grammar rule, the more often you receive such satisfying answers as “good question,” “I don’t know,” or the ever so useful “I cannot explain- just because.” Maybe it’s a good time to find some outside language resources?

I am no expert on this matter, as I started learning Dutch a month or so ago. A simple Google search will provide a multiplicity of answers on how and where to learn Dutch, but the idea of this blog post is to put together a concise Delft-specific resource list and provide some feedback from local moms. The idea is not to advertise for one specific course or method but to share some ideas and start a conversation.

LEARNING DUTCH AT TU Delft

Perhaps the most well known place to learn Dutch in Delft is at TU Delft via the Delftse Methode. This “natural” method involves immersion in Dutch sounds and is meant to imitate the learning process of your native language rather than provide structured grammatical or thematic lessons. The course is expensive, however, at €820 plus a book. Be prepared to spend at least 10 hours per week studying, too. TU Delft is currently offering both classroom and virtual courses.

Mixed reviews from our Delft MaMa members

Mariana shares, “I have just finished intensive Derde Ronde course at TU, and I have also done the first two with them. I moved here in August 2016 with no Dutch at all, and I finished the course at level C1. I could not recommend it highly enough. In my opinion, Delftse methode works if one works. And if one does not work, there is no method that will actually help.”

Ali is also enthusiastic, “I also found the Delftse methode fantastic! It’s intense and hard work but so worth it. I could understand and speak basic Dutch after just 6 weeks! The method is full immersion and is supposed to be what it is like for a child that is learning to talk. I am not naturally gifted in languages, but this method was amazing!”

According to Sanna, though, “I did the Delftse methode as well but a decade ago. I personally found the course very frustrating because it didn’t suit my learning style. However, I think that it’s a good method to learn basic Dutch very quickly and probably good for someone who has time to invest on the course and who prefers to learn by speaking. I wouldn’t recommend the course for someone who prefers to learn grammar rules and/or use more traditional methods to learn a language.”

Katerina adds, “I also did not like the Delftse methode… I felt like a parrot just cramming in words and not really understanding the structure.”

Another expat, Lucie, states, “You get to memorize a lot of useful text of common situations but they do not teach you grammar, conjugations, nor how to build a sentence (in which order the words are arranged). When I took it I called it a boot camp; it is a lot of work. I could understand and pronounce a lot after it, but was frustrated about not knowing how to make my own sentences (spoken or written). I could understand like an adult, but could speak like a toddler.”

Language Schools in Delft

Delft also hosts various other language schools, lessons, and private tutors.

1. Volksuniversiteit Delft

Volksuniversiteit Delft normally holds Dutch For Foreigners classes for levels one, two, and three. The cost is €307 for a 24-week course meeting once per week. However, for the fall of 2021, all Dutch courses have been cancelled due to low enrollment. In 2020, courses went from in-class to online, but Volksuniversiteit wanted to return to classroom teaching for 2021-2022. It is possible that due to Covid, there are not enough new residents seeking Dutch language courses.

2. Taal Collectief Delft

Taal Collectief Delft offers private (€60 an hour) and small group lessons (€40 per person) for 90 minute sessions, as well as company trainings.

In addition, Taal Collectief Delft runs a Taalcafé, a weekly free gathering to practice speaking Dutch. It is held at the DOK Central Library (OPEN) every Wednesday from 20.00 – 21.30. Delft Mamas Hellen and Zsofia highly recommend this.

3. private tutors

There are a variety of private tutors, and many Delft MaMa members chose to learn via this method. Luisa, for example, shares that “it’s really hard to learn Dutch, mainly because people switches to English when they realize you’re not Dutch. Sometimes I had to pretend I didn’t speak English to force them speak Dutch to me! I am following now a course in Delft, run by a private teacher in a “buurthuis” and I like it, we talk a lot and that’s what in the end you need to learn a language!”

Hanneke van Hoof is one of the local language teachers. Having taught Dutch through Volksuniversiteit, she would have been this year’s instructor as well. She can be found instead at Taalbewust.nl. She offers private tutoring and instruction of small groups of up to 10 people in students’ homes or the setting of their choice. Please note, there is a travel allowance charged of 0.35 euros/km if she needs to travel more than 2 km away from her home in Rijswijk. Hanneke will soon be offering an online course. She can be reached at hanneke.vanHoof@taalbewust.nl.

Language Courses Sponsored by the Municipality

1. Taal op eigen kracht

The Delft municipality (Gemeente Delft) sponsors a program “Taal op Eigen Kracht” to help encourage residents to learn Dutch. The classes are subsidized, so generally less expensive than private schools for a 24 week course that meets twice per week for two hours each class. The courses are usually held in the evenings. Each class is run by an organization, which finds qualified teachers and manages relations with students. According to the Delft municipality’s website, the following organizations are holding Dutch classes:

It is important to note that most of these organizations do not have websites, though SIS does have a Facebook page. To contact these organizations, visit the Taal op Eigen Kracht website where you will find the contact information for each Association.

At the time of this writing, both OIZD and SIS are waiting for funding for their Dutch language classes, so these classes are on hold. It is possible that this is the case with all four organizations, but the contact people for the other two have yet to respond to this writer’s email inquiries.

Positive reviews with a caveat

Delft mama Helen shares, “The courses I’m taking are organized by SIS, which is part of Taal op eigen kracht project. So far I’m pretty happy with them. The teachers and the course book used are good. Moreover, the director of SIS is very eager on helping prospective students getting into the course. She also responds to inquiries quickly. I would recommend SIS to people seeking a Dutch course.”

Delft mama Philippa furthers “I am currently studying in one sponsored by government that was advertised on Delft MaMa. I am enjoying it but need to be made to speak more and need to apply more time in my spare time to learning words.”

Marie concurs, “I agree with this assessment given my first month of learning Dutch in one of these courses. They do offer a good introduction, but you must study and practice outside of class to see an improvement in your language skills.”

Delft MaMa blog coordinator, Vania, who took the Dutch course through SIS reports, “My Dutch course was really good! I really felt I learned and the teacher tried to make it as interactive as possible even with Covid restrictions.”

2. ROC Mondriaan

Roc Mondriaan also offers discounted Dutch classes to residents of Delft, Rijswijk, Pijnacker-Nootdorp or Midden Delfland. Participants must have either passed the inburgeringsexam or not be obliged to sit this exam. Three-hour classes, which run 20 weeks for A2 or 30 weeks for lower levels, are held twice a week, both during the day and in the evenings. The costs are €30 for one year and either €45 for the book or €70 if you are a beginner. Also offered are Dutch Courses for Parents to be better able to communicate with your child’s teacher.

To find a Dutch language course go to www.rocmondriaan.nl, search under ‘Language’ and then click on ‘Language + school’. The Delft location for Dutch language classes is the Campus Brasserskade. The process for enrollment is as follows: send in the application, go in to take a test to determine your language level, and then you will be placed into the appropriate course. All levels of courses are subsidized by the municipality. However, Roc Mondriaan generally only offers courses through Level A2, as there is not much call for higher level Dutch courses.

OUR mama’s reviews:

Delft mama Maria adds, “I did the ROC courses, and I liked it mainly because I had a very nice and good teacher. ROC finds you also a taal coach for language exchange, if you want it. I had a wonderful experience with my taal coach, and I think that this is a nice way not only for learning and exercising Dutch but also for discovering the culture (and Delft).” Iowa concurs, “I did a course as well in ROC Mondriaan and I had the same experience, as I had a really good teacher.”

Dutch language practice in Delft

Practice makes perfect, and practicing Dutch during a language hour or via a language exchange may be beneficial, especially as the Dutch easily revert back to English in everyday conversation.

The Taalhuis at DOK library’s Voorhof branch in Delft has walk-in consultation hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Here you can get advice and information on how and where to learn Dutch. You may also sign up for a language buddy – a volunteer who will provide weekly guidance for one year. The library also houses books for reading and practicing that are especially geared towards learning the language.

The  Tandem Delft Project  is primarily for TU Delft students. They have a website, language.tudelft.nl, where students can find a language buddy. Tandem Delft also organizes monthly events, a monthly Dutch speaking night and the annual Language Festival in springtime. The Language Festival involves two weeks of evening activities centered around language and culture and is open to students and non-students in the Delft area.

SamenSpraak provides Dutch volunteer language coaches for speakers who have attained A2 level. The cost is €20 for a year. Learner and volunteer generally meet once per week for an hour.

Taal Café Delft. See above, under Taal Collectief Delft.

At MyLanguageExchange.com, you can find a local language buddy with whom to practice. Delft Mama Zsofia says she found this very helpful, along with Taalhuis, Taal Café and SamenSpraak.

Learning Dutch Online

Another good solution, especially for those with limited time or a preference for learning at their own pace are online lessons or classes.

1. free online learning

Future Learn partners with the University of Groningen for an Intro to Dutch course for beginners only. The three-week course is free, or you may access the program for 5 weeks for €64 to learn at a slower pace.

Other free online courses include Loecsen, Live Lingua, and DutchGrammar.com. Opportunities to practice Dutch for free are available at Oefenen.nl.

2. Online programs and Apps with fees

Dutchpod101 (beware, they’ll send you a lot of emails!) offers plans for €5.92/month and €13.55/month. The more expensive plan gives 1:1 access to a teacher, a personalized program and homework assignments.

Eindhoven Dutch Academy has 71 free online videos and their online courses range from €333 – €440. The next A1 level courses begin on 21 September, 18 October and 15 November. Courses run for 11 weeks, twice weekly for two hours each. 

LearnDutch.org has some free content, but for more intense grammar, 44-50 lessons will cost €49.

TheDutchOnlineAcademy.com also has some free content including podcasts and other lessons up to €29.

According to AllLanguageResources.com, “These five (online) Dutch courses make the top tier ranking because of the quality of instruction and decent price points.” These programs are:

  • Italki (average of €10/hour)
  • Pimsleur (€101; has a greater focus on audio learning, not much writing practice)
  • Babbel (€10.96/month for a month-to-month plan or €5.88/month for one year)
  • Dutchpod101 (see above; does not provide advanced material)
  • DutchGrammar.com (free)
  • Other popular apps include  Memrise and  DuoLingo.

Marie shares, “I personally use Memrise for Dutch and other languages and would highly recommend the courses I have taken. The learning method ensures that you review content and also allows you to earn points if you are competitively inclined.”

3. DUTCH Podcasts and radio

This blog post from October 2018 lists their Top 10 picks for the best podcasts for learning the Dutch language.

This link has a list of internet radio in Dutch.

LEARNING DUTCH FROM TV

This helpful blogpost from Amsterdam Mamas lists 16 TV programmes organized by skill level, including beginner level Dutch shows suitable for watching with your children.

Also check out this YouTube video about learning Dutch via TV.

Outside Resource Links FOR LEARNING DUTCH

There are innumerable sites or blogs on learning the Dutch language. Below are a few that you may find useful.

All in all…

This post is not at all inclusive, as there are various other books, courses, and resources available to help learn Dutch. Perhaps the most important resource, though, is your own attitude. A can-do attitude and active desire to learn Dutch will help you advance all the more quickly.

Finally, please feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section [or email us].

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Justine Bentfield

Justine Bentfield is an American expat living in Delft with her husband and cat. She has one grown son in the US. Justine enjoys volunteering as a proofreader and editor for the Delft MaMa blog, working as a tutor for English, traveling, meeting new people, jigsaw puzzles and downhill skiing.

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