Need some help with finding ways to boost your Dutch? Here is a useful list with tips which could help you to improve your Dutch language skills.
1. Read a short article or a chapter from a book, but instead of reading it quietly, read it out loud.
If you do this for ten minutes every day, this will be really helpful. It will improve both your Dutch vocabulary and of course your pronunciation.
2. Watch a Dutch film once a week.
After you have seen the film, you could discuss it with colleagues, friends or neighbors. Or even better, you could join the Direct Dutch film club. Together we will watch a Dutch movie. Afterwards we will discuss the film in small groups. For more information see here.
3. Watch Dutch television programs or series.
The news would be a good start, or if you are really into watching TV series or soaps you could watch Goede tijden, slechte tijden (every day at 20.00 o’clock, RTL4). There are also some really good Dutch crime series, such as Flikken Rotterdam. If you use Teletekst 888, you will get Dutch subtitles for almost every TV program (even football matches!) which will make it easier to follow.
4. Try to read at least two articles from a Dutch quality newspaper once a week.
Examples of Dutch quality newspapers are NRC, Volkskrant, or Trouw. Also, articles from Sir Edmund, which is a magazine from the Volkskrant, would also be a good suggestion for reading material to practice your Dutch.
5. Try reading a Dutch literary novel.
Pick something you enjoy reading about. It could be a thriller or a historical novel about the Netherlands. A good example would be De eeuw van mijn vader by Geert Mak, which focuses on a family history which takes place in the twentieth century. Another great example would be De dierenverhalen by Toon Tellegen. He wrote some wonderful short stories about animals, which are widely read and enjoyed by adults, often because of the philosophical and amusing aspects of these stories.
Any novel by Annie M.G. Schmidt is also worth reading if you want to improve your Dutch. Abeltje or Pluk van de Petteflet are wonderful children’s novels to start with. If you enjoy reading poetry, Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Schaap Veronica would be a good suggestion.
If you want to read a more recent novel, try reading Ik kom terug by Adriaan van Dis (winner of the Libris Prize 2015). His writing style is very comical and he uses simple Dutch, which makes this novel an excellent read for anyone trying to learn Dutch.
6. Join a book club.
If you have B1 level or higher, you can join the free Direct Dutch Book Club. The book club is held every two weeks at Direct Dutch Institute. It’s completely free! For more information, click here.
7. Practice your spelling and vocabulary with Beter Spellen.
Beter Spellen is a website which provides Dutch spelling exercises. If you create an account for this website, you will get four short spelling exercises every day. You can start at the lowest level (level 1F), and once you are getting the hang of it, you will automatically go to a higher level. These exercises will only cost you five minutes a day, and it’s completely free. Follow this link to register.
8. Join one of the free Dutch up! activities in The Hague Public Library.
You could join the Direct Dutch Filmclub or one of the other workshops or activities which take place in Central Library in The Hague. For more information click here.