Dutch Culture: Language


Arriving in the Netherlands is that much easier if you have some Dutch words to help you get by. Being the supportive university that it is, Utrecht University has created a free online Dutch course which supplies you will all the basics you need to get yourself started as a future Dutch speaker.  The course Getting to know (the) Dutch has been especially designed for international students that will start their studies at Utrecht University this coming semester. Sign up with your student account here!

How does it work?

This online beginners’ course in Dutch offers you the opportunity to learn the basics of the language through fun interactive exercises. The course aim is very practical: to provide you with language skills you can use right away when you arrive, as well as during your stay. How do you order a coffee? What do cashiers say to you in the supermarket? What do those signs at the train station actually mean?

While you are covering the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking, you are also learning practical matters about Dutch culture and the city of Utrecht, such as: how to use Dutch public transport and where to go out in Utrecht. Are you ready to get to know (the) Dutch?

Other courses
  • ESN Utrecht and Career Services have set up a Dutch language course. A basic level of Dutch is convenient in your daily life and essential if you are considering a career in the Netherlands. Besides that our course only costs you €8,-, it is also designed around getting you practical knowledge. Every week there is a different theme, allowing you to gain a broad sense of understanding of the Dutch language!
  • Utrecht Summer School  provides with a wide range of course you can take to learn Dutch according to your specific wishes. You can also go beyond the teachings of language; want to learn about art, science, engineering or many other courses offered by Utrecht Summer School? Check out the website here!

Test your Dutch

Do you want to see just how good your Dutch is? And what about your historical understanding of the language and this country? Take this quiz to test your skills, and perhaps try it again in a year to see what you learned in this period! If you’re only keen on quizzing yourself on the Dutch language itself, then perhaps try this quiz as well.

Essential phrases

Hello – Hallo

How are you? – Hoe gaat het?

Thanks! – Bedankt!

Sorry! – Sorry!

goodbye – Tot ziens/doei

I love the Orientation – Ik houd van de Orientation

Do you speak English? – Spreekt u engels?

Where can I find…? – Waar kan ik … vinden?

How much does that cost? – Hoeveel kost dat? 

Where is…? – Waar is …?

What time is it? – Hoe laat is het?

Could I have the bill? – Mag ik de rekening?

Can I have…? – Mag ik … hebben?

Sayings/words that make you sound like a real Dutchie

Hè hè – What you say after finishing a tiring task/activity/day. E.g. “Hè hè, glad that I’m done with that exam.”

Doe is normaal – Be normal – Stop acting out

Jeetje – Oh wow. E.g. “Jeetje, are you ok?”

borrel – A gathering with (usually alcoholic) drinks

gezellig – cozy/fun. E.g. “Should we have a gezellig borrel tonight?”

lekker – nice/tasty/attractive – Multipurpose word which is used to describe a situation/food/person

Got any tips or questions for us or your fellow students?