How long does it take to learn Dutch? One of the top queries from those attempting to learn Dutch is this one, but there is no clear-cut solution. Numerous factors determine it. It can take anywhere between two and ten years to learn Dutch. It’s simple to learn some fundamental words, but it can take a lifetime to learn how to speak Dutch fluently. Since you can get by with just English, there are people who have lived in the Netherlands for years without learning the language.

Depending on your background and the proficiency level you have in mind, you’ll learn how to realistically estimate how long it will take you to learn Dutch in this article. Then, we’ll give you some practical tips you can use to really master this language.

What Language Family Does Dutch Belong To?

A language family comprises all known languages. In the list of West Germanic languages, the Dutch language is included alongside German and English. Frisian, Afrikaans, and Yiddish are other tongues that belong to this family. As a result, learning the other languages would be much simpler if you are already fluent in English or one of the West Germanic languages. As a result, learning Dutch is not difficult if you are a native English speaker.

How Many People Speak Dutch?

Around the world, nearly 30 million people speak Dutch. The official ones are used by three nations: the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname. According to the most recent information available, there are 24 million native speakers of Dutch in more than six countries. Learners of second languages include more than 5 million native Dutch speakers. Not to mention all of the Dutch speakers who migrated to other nations but learned the language in their native country.

Why Is Learning Dutch Such a Challenge?

The difficulty of learning Dutch is something that some of you are already aware of. Why is it so?

  • Everyone Speaks English: It is a real blessing for visitors to the Netherlands to discover that literally everyone, from the very young to the very old, speaks English. It is actually very difficult to learn Dutch when everyone speaks to you in English, even when you speak to them in Dutch because there is no room for error. Despite the fact that the majority of my Dutch friends claim that speaking English makes them feel like they are being friendly and helpful, I always get upset because I wish they couldn’t understand me so that I could speak my terrible Dutch, make mistakes, and then learn from them.
  • Films and Books are in English: the same thing, if you don’t have the need to learn the language it is very hard to make such a big effort and invest so many hours in this if you don’t actually need it.
  • Amsterdam: Unless you know where to look, it is actually difficult to find Dutch people if you reside in Amsterdam or other major Dutch cities; everyone is a foreigner!

How Long Does It Take To Learn Dutch? (4 Factors)

The length of time it takes to learn Dutch depends on a few different factors. You should consider these factors as you plan your course of study because they will have an impact on how much you learn. 

Your Native Tongue Vs. Dutch

It will be simpler and faster for you to learn Dutch if you are already familiar with a language with similar linguistic roots. It’s fantastic news for your Dutch learning that you can read this article because it indicates that your English is already very strong.

Being a member of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, Dutch shares many similarities with both English and German. Compared to speakers of other languages, this makes learning the language much simpler for English- and German speakers. (And fortunately for you, Dutch won’t subject you to the challenging grammar found in German.) 

It will therefore help you learn Dutch faster if you are fluent in one of these languages, even if it is not your mother tongue.

Your Language Learning Experience

Have you ever taken classes to learn another language? If you already speak another language, this information and experience will be very beneficial to you as you learn a third language.

You already know how to study a language, and your brain is used to the difficulties of language learning. You are knowledgeable about the most effective methods for learning new vocabulary, honing your conversational abilities, and deciphering those challenging tenses. Languages follow a certain logic, and the more you learn about them, the more you begin to comprehend how their grammar and structures function in general. 

These explanations explain why learning a third language is frequently simpler for bilinguals. If this applies to you, learning Dutch will probably save you a lot of time. See more about How Long Does It Take To Learn Dutch?

Your Motivation

Do you merely wish to acquire another language? Will you be employed in the Netherlands? Will you be attending school here? Or do you have a sweet Dutch date?

Whatever your motivation, it will affect your level of dedication and the time you’re willing to devote to learning Dutch. Your drive will keep you going and keep you from giving up, even when things are challenging. Strong motivation will give you the drive to work hard and pick things up quickly.

 Your Approach

How you learn affects how quickly you advance. Combining different learning strategies is frequently advised for an effective learning method, including taking online Dutch lessons, finding a language exchange partner to help you practice your conversational skills, and watching Dutch movies or music to improve your listening comprehension. Naturally, how effective your learning strategy also depends on how much time you’re willing to devote to your studies.

But for now, don’t worry about it. In a moment, we’ll talk about some practical methods for learning Dutch. See more about How Hard Is It To Learn Romanian?

Is Dutch Simple For English Speakers To Learn?

Due to the simultaneous use of German and English sounds, the Dutch language is quite unique. If you’re a foreign speaker, people might think your accent is Dutch rather than English. The fact that Dutch is a member of the West Germanic language family is one of the main factors contributing to its accessibility to English speakers. This group also includes German and English.

How Can I Learn Dutch Quicker?

There are many ways to learn Dutch more quickly, many of which involve incorporating the language into your free time. These methods include intensive language programs, using the right learning techniques, and many others.

Use Dutch In Conversation

Although speaking Dutch outside of the classroom is the ultimate goal of language learning, many of us are reluctant to do so while we are still learning it. Begin small by asking for the receipt at the store or ordering your coffee in Dutch.

Yes, you might embarrass yourself occasionally, but more often than not, people will find your clumsy speech endearing rather than annoying. After all, you are trying, and that has to mean something. 

Surround Yourself With Dutch

It can be very simple for an international to become trapped in the international bubble in the Netherlands. It’s possible that you only take English-language classes or that you and your friends only communicate in English. But if you really want to learn the language, you need to find a figurative pin and pierce through the protective shell. 

Turn off Google Translate, tune in to Dutch radio, watch Dutch news, and demand that your Dutch friends “Praat Nederlands met me.” Immerse yourself in the world of “de,” “het,” and “maar” if you want the language to really stick and fast.”


In conclusion, English and closely related language speakers stand a better chance of learning Dutch faster. It can take 24 weeks or 5 months for English natives to learn Dutch, according to FSI. Unfortunately, it will take longer Dutch lessons for non-native English speakers and students with a Category IV mother tongue to become proficient in it on a professional level. Having a tutor or study partner makes learning a language more manageable in general. To hasten your study of Dutch, you can find some tutors and native speakers of the language.

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