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What have you tried so far to learn Dutch? Here are the stats!

In our Direct Dutch – I am Expat competition of fall 2022, we asked the participants what they tried so far to learn Dutch. Most participants tried one – or a few – methods to learn Dutch on their own. As you may know, at Direct Dutch we love (speudo)statistics, so check out the chart below to see a summary of the 66 responses we received.

We also received a lot of comments illustrating the struggles of trying to learn Dutch on your own, or with the help of a language app. We gathered some highlights from these comments below. We think you might recognise some of these struggles. While reading these comments, we came across some creative ways to keep up with your language goals. Maybe these tips will inspire you, so read on!



Highlights from the responses


I watched a lot of YouTube videos and listened to my kids argue with each other – Nathan

I have been eavesdropping Dutch people’s conversations and asking my daughter to teach me what she has learnt at school. – Eszter

I did Duolingo for a while, so i learned some words, but mostly I just learned how to win at Duolingo (without having to do the language aspect). – Vlaicu

I have learnt a lot of useful phrases, which I can say almost automatically. However, once I need to change the meaning a bit, it becomes very difficult and even confusing, especially for the Dutch speaker, who is listening. – Vanya

I self study using Duolingo. It is super hard though. Because sometimes I am too tired to even open the app, knowing I do not have someone I can converse with or ask if I pronounced a word correctly. – Vanessa T.

I can read children’s books but I can’t start a conversation with a person. – Mar

I have tried Duolingo but the pace is just so slow! I also participated in a very introductory course. My first full sentence to learn and repeat was: “Ff lekker met je bek in het zonnetje”, which remains my favorite Dutch beer – Camila

I try to talk Dutch in shops, but they hear my accent and switch to English. I’ve been in the Netherlands for 17 years and am very embarrassed that I still don’t speak Dutch. – Suzanne

I’m using Duolingo every now and then but it gets boring without practice. – Eslam

I go to restaurants and supermarkets and pretend that I do not speak English, so people are forced to speak Dutch with me. – A. S.

Except for basic expressions for everyday communication, I’ve tried to learn Blof songs. – Ivana

I found Dutch music somehow related to my own musical taste. I translated the lyrics so I could gain some vocabulary as well as pronunciation of difficult words. – Paula

When folks respond to me in English, I ask them to tell me the phrase in Dutch so I can know what I’m being asked and how to respond next time. – Tiana

I have tried to learn basic nouns and adjectives to be able to read basic labels in the supermarket or train announcements. – Alexandra

More tips

Are you looking for more ways to improve your Dutch? Here is a useful list with tips that could help you boost your Dutch language skills. This list was compiled by Ruud Hisgen from Direct Dutch Institute.

And the winner is….

The winner of the Direct Dutch – I am Expat competition (chosen by a random number generator) is Vanessa T. She wins a free online beginners course at Direct Dutch. Congratulations to Vanessa and thank you all very much for participating!