The Netherlands is a small country with a dense population with many internationals working or studying. To be honest, I do not know if there are many countries in which most of their native residents are fluent English speakers. However, I am firmly convinced that the Netherlands belongs to that group of countries. Before one year I was deeply surprised when a very old man answered to me in English without any problem. Making a small research regarding that I collected different answers regarding that amazing language skill of the Dutch. Someone told me, “It is just a result of our education system”, another that “it is part of our culture” and a third one mentioned “well, I think our language is just ugly” before starting to laugh.
But let’s take into account the title of this blog. If you understand the title maybe you think that is important to know the language of the country in which you live and you have already started some Dutch language course. In any other case maybe you think that the English language is more than enough in this country. So, should an international student learn Dutch? My answer to that question is a big “DEPENDS”! From my point of view, it depends on some very crucial but specific factors. One of them is your future plans. If you are sure that you want to leave in this country for many years, then for sure learning Dutch will help your everyday life. You will be able to be a more active member of the Dutch community. Otherwise, I don’t think it is worthy to spend time and effort for a language that is useful only in the Netherlands (ok in Suriname, Aruba and a part of Belgium as well). Personally, If I would select the last choice I would like to learn Spanish but this is a different story.
Someone would say, “wait a seconds Vassili, what if you want to find a job here for at least a few years??”. The answer is again that it depends on the discipline, the working environment and field. For example, most of the civil engineering companies have as a prerequisite the Dutch language. This is because this type of engineers usually deal with many kinds of workers who may not know English or Dutch bureaucracy is part of their work. Also, if you are an IT guy or someone who works in an office, English language should be more than enough for your work. Moreover, not to mention that a lawyer must know Dutch. Last but not least, some people can easir digest and learn a foreign language. For all the “new language” lovers, TU Delft offers Dutch language courses that they may worth a try. Take a look on the video below and discover some unknown features of the Dutch language: