Celebrate the summer with Dutch lessons in Taalthuis
Taalthuis Dutch courses help newcomers make the most of the summer holidays and prepare for September. We find out more.
Festival season is in full swing, patios come alive, parks are dotted with picnics, and boats jostle with revelers cruising the canals. This is the perfect time to make new friends and practice your Dutch. But is your Dutch summer ready?
Taalthuis can help you. The Dutch school offers online lessons, in-person lessons in eight locations, an intensive summer course in Amsterdam and Haarlem, and fun summer courses for kids in Utrecht and Haarlem.
“The Dutch are real party people,” says Claire Meens-Smit, course and content coordinator at Taalthuis. “We are such a crowded country that we just like to let go sometimes. It is the expression of our open-mindedness.
Useful phrases for gaining popularity at Dutch parties include Ik geef een roundje (I will buy the next round), Stuur maar even een Tikkie (send me a Tikkie), and Ik ben from Bob (You drink, I drive). While the chat line Ken ik jou niet ergens van? (Don’t I know you from somewhere?) never gets old.
“Every party I go to, everyone is intrigued and impressed that you are learning Dutch and everyone is taking this opportunity to teach you something,” says Taalthuis student Alexander Whyte (33) , from London, who recently moved to the Netherlands to join his Dutch girlfriend and work in a Dutch-speaking office. “The Dutch are among the friendliest people in the world,” he adds. “You always leave with new friends and contacts.”
While still in the UK, Alexander regularly traveled to Amsterdam to experience the world famous electronic music scene here. “The Dutch throw some of the best parties in the world. It’s a hotspot for DJs – everyone plays here at some point during the summer,” he says. He also likes that the drinking culture is less messy than in the UK. “At all times, at all hours, everyone is well put together. They know how to be responsible with the drink,” he says.
To prepare for moving to the Netherlands, he enrolled in online courses at Taalthuis. “Online is great,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of like-minded people and it fits my schedule. I work nine hours a day and also have a busy social schedule. I travel all the time, so often I do my classes at the airport.
Alexandre is very happy with his progress. ‘One of the best things about it is that the class is super small [5-8 students], so you get a lot of coaching for a reasonable price,” he says. “I go to parties where I am the only expatriate. Learning Dutch means I’m starting to pick up a conversation, and although I still need to use some English, I can participate.
“Online courses are a very versatile way of learning”, explains Claire, who is also the contact person for Taalthuis’ In Company courses. “We have au pairs who open their tablet or computer while on vacation with their host family. We have a lot of expats traveling who can still join the online courses. That’s a huge plus. We also have international students who start their courses in September and take their Dutch lessons from the United States or Indonesia, for example, before coming.
If time is of the essence, Taalthuis’ intensive in-person summer course is a great solution. “It’s full immersion in the language, a compact week full of Dutch and a big boost for your learning,” says Claire. ‘The weather’s nice. You can do other things outside of class, have a drink. It’s a really fun way to meet people and learn Dutch while you’re here. For international students, if you take a full week of Dutch lessons before your course starts in September, it will really help you integrate and really boost your experience.
Similarly, the children’s classes are “a great boost for their school year,” says Claire. “They’re all fresh and relaxed from the holidays, and it’s a good time to start learning.” They will have all the energy to assimilate the whole language and they will benefit from it throughout the school year.
Moving to the Netherlands and keen to soak up the social scene here made learning Dutch a no-brainer for Alexander, whose eagerness to master the language won him over to his girlfriend’s family. and was a great icebreaker on night outings.
“Dutch lessons help you spread your wings a little further,” he says. “You are more accepted, you have a much bigger Dutch network and you are more likely to be invited to parties.”
You can find out more about the courses offered by Taalthuis here.
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