Although Dutch is the Netherlands’ first language, English is also very useful. Discover your options for English classes in the Netherlands.
“Everybody speaks English here!” If you have recently settled in the Netherlands, you might have heard this a few times already from other expats. Learning English in the Netherlands can help you find work, improve your network opportunities, and even make new friends.
Dutch people are – rightly – reputed as skilled English speakers. The language learning app Babbel has recently ranked the Netherlands as the country in the world that speaks the best English as a second language. That’s right: Jip and Janneke have successfully mastered the language of Shakespeare. A possible reason? The Netherlands has a long history of international trade, and therefore always needed to be understood by the potential client.
There are many reasons to learn English in the Netherlands. In such a multicultural country, speaking English can be an asset – for communication, integration, socialization, and business.
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Improve your social life with English lessons
Learning English in the Netherlands can help expats settle in their new country. To begin with, the Dutch language is already strongly influenced by English, and not just in its everyday lingo; you’ll hear a lot of “thanks,” “on my way,” “sure,” or even “oh my god!” mixed with Dutch on the street. Indeed, children start to learn the language from a very young age in the Netherlands. Even movies are in English with subtitles, and signs and restaurant menus are often written in both languages.
But also, just the simple act of taking English lessons allows expats to meet new people from all around the world, understand and discover new cultures, and enrich their social life. Many Dutch cities have a large international community, so it’s a great way to settle in and communicate with new friends.
Connecting with expats and locals
Being able to speak English clearly and fluently is the best way to gain confidence, find work, network, make new friends, and feel at home. It allows you to have lots of conversations and develop friendships. Not only that, but sometimes, if you’ve moved for a partner’s job, it’s possible you feel isolated. If that’s the case for you, English lessons give you a chance to socialize with others and perhaps even volunteer in your community and integrate better. You might even find yourself spending time with your classmates outside the lessons.
Learning English in the Netherlands for business
English is the common language used in international business, and more and more companies focus on, or even adopt, English as their company language. People who are looking for work in the Netherlands or have plans to enroll at university must be able to speak and write well in English. Moreover, it can help them stay competitive with their Dutch colleagues in terms of career opportunities.
Many international companies have their headquarters in Dutch cities, so learning English in the Netherlands is often a rewarding choice. Strong English language skills will definitely help you navigate your work life better, whether used to write e-mails, do research, present a new project to the management team, or just chat at the coffee corner.
The advantages of taking Business English classes
Most of the English schools in the Netherlands provide Business English classes. Available for those with an intermediate level of English, these special courses help expats use professional jargon without struggle, organize a meeting, or structure their ideas for a presentation. It’s also a great way to prepare for business school.
English-language company courses
Some schools provide in-company English training that focuses specifically on the company needs. This allows employees to work within their own business context, using the company’s documents and materials.
Training for English-language exams
Some language schools also provide training for official exams (such as the Cambridge English exam or the IELTS). Most importantly, all schools in the Netherlands refer to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR helps measure speaking and writing abilities in a language. The CEFR is a reference used by all EU countries.
Where to find English classes in the Netherlands
Grab your lunch bag; you’re going back to school! There is a wide range of well-known and specialized language schools in many Dutch cities. Luckily, we’ve made a list for you – but, no, we’re not going to help you with your homework too.
The majority of the listed schools for learning English in the Netherlands offer flexible timetables and free tests to check your current level.
English lessons in Amsterdam
- Berlitz offers English intensive, private, and group courses. They also offer immersive courses and relocation workshops. The school has offices in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Maastricht.
- The British Language Training Centre (BLTC) prepares you for the Cambridge English exam or the IELTS test. They also offer general courses, business English training, and intensive summer courses.
- The English Center, which has offices in Amsterdam, Amstelveen, The Hague, and Rotterdam, gives you the opportunity to choose among group and in-company business English classes as well as private English lessons. In addition, they offer courses to improve your accent and how to prepare for a job interview.
English lessons in The Hague
- The British School in the Netherlands (BSN) Language Centre, a well-known international school for children from three to 18, has a language institute providing English lessons for adults. They offer: general and business English courses, exam preparation (Cambridge C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency and IELTS), customized in-company training, and private lessons. They also offer intensive summer courses and teacher training.
- Kickstart School offers a range of courses for all levels, including preparation for the IELTS test, the TOEFL, and the Cambridge English exams. They also offer summer classes and online classes.
- ABC English provides English lessons in The Hague with intensive courses and private lessons. In addition, they provide classes focusing on conversation and grammar.
English courses in Rotterdam
- CBE Languages offers courses for all levels, preparation for the Cambridge English and IELTS exams, one-on-one trainings, business English courses, and in-company training sessions.
- Masterclass English provides individual and group lessons in English at all levels. They also offer preparation for the Cambridge Assessment.
How do you pick the best English course for you?
A good English school has a dedicated team of qualified, professional teachers who put the learner at the center of the learning and teaching process. Their teachers should benefit from continued professional development and observation. You should also consider:
- Whether the school offers training for the qualifications you want or need
- The school’s reputation
- What level of English they offer
- Whether you would rather learn in a group or in an individual lesson.
Learning English in the Netherlands will definitely make your integration process easier, and help you navigate your new life with confidence. It’s never too late to learn!