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News, developments and articles from Regina Coeli
Learning the Dutch language is inextricably bound up with learning how Dutch culture works. One of the traditions is Princes’ Day on which the Budget for the coming year is presented. Specific words are closely linked to the events that take place on Princes’ Day like troonrede, algemene beschouwingen and gouden koets.
It’s no secret that the Dutch are direct and adore succinct communication. For the Dutch, it’s more important to convey a message clearly than to do so with a great deal of tact. They are more task- and result-driven than they are focused on building good relationships. The Dutch are therefore also not big on small talk (koetjes en kalfjes) in a business context. This is because, in the Dutch culture, relationships aren’t necessary for getting the job done—but they can of course help!
In the average Dutch company, a unique language is spoken at management level: Dutch ‘management speak’. If you deal with a lot of Dutch people on the work floor, you’ll hear these terms being used all the time. It’s then that you might realize that a course in social Dutch may not be quite enough for understanding what in the world someone is talking about.
Expats in the Netherlands who want to speak better Dutch are better off asking Dutch people to speak Dutch with them. Not to make it easier—most Dutch people can easily switch to English and enjoy speaking the language—but to get better in the language. Even the best Dutch course is no substitute for what you can learn in practice. You have to log the hours!
If you already speak Dutch quite well, you are ready for the next challenge: understanding and correctly using Dutch expressions. Expressions are used and abused by the Dutch, so watch out: the Dutch make mistakes with them! If you know the origin of an expression, it is easier to use them correctly. Have a look below at five commonly-used Dutch expressions. Try your hand at using them in your communication!
Many expats who live and work in the Netherlands think it’s not really necessary to learn Dutch. English is the lingua franca at many large companies and when it isn’t, Dutch colleagues will quickly switch to English to accommodate those who don’t speak their language. The Dutch really enjoy speaking English. You can even get by using only English in your free time. So why should you bother learning Dutch? We’d like to give you three solid reasons for doing so.