Discover the Dutch: Language and Culture

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Discover the Dutch: Language and Culture

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    European Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Learn to speak and understand the Dutch language and society at a basic level. At the end of this course you will be able to join a basic conversation, using general expressions and basic sentences. For example, you will be able to meet and greet in Dutch, order a meal or a drink in the campus pub, go shopping, say whether you like something or someone, which you can practice in real life during excursions! In short, within two weeks you will learn to use and understand Dutch for everyday purposes.  


    The course is very interactive in nature. Part of the lessons will take place in our state of the art digital language lab. You will work on your speaking, pronunciation, listening, reading and writing skills, including vocabulary and grammar. During classes we will work with video, audio and computer software. And of course, you will practice a lot in small groups, which is a fun and effective way to try your newly learnt sentences. 

    ‘Discover (the) Dutch’ is not only a language course, however. You will also learn about Dutch culture and society. In this part of the course you will explore some of the highlights of Dutch history and culture: what was so special about that famous Dutch ‘Golden Age’ and have the Dutch really always battled against the water? We will also discuss the stereotypes that exist about the Netherlands and Dutch culture and place them within a historical context. Some of the stereotypes you may have before starting the course, considering the tolerant and liberal attitude towards drugs, sexuality and immigration in the Netherlands, might be in need of some serious revaluation afterwards!  

    Part of the course will definitely be a visit to the famous ‘Rijksmuseum’, located in the city centre.

    At the end of this course you will:

    • Learn to speak and understand the Dutch language at a basic level.
    • Learn about the Dutch and their culture within an international context.
    • Discover recurrent themes in Dutch history and find out how the natural environment shaped Dutch society and vice versa.

    Classes, workshops, excursions

    Dutch proficiency tests, presentation Dutch culture

    There will be several visits: to the Rijksmuseum, a city tour including a visit to one of the famous Amsterdam markets (where you by that time can do your shopping in Dutch) and one to be announced. 

    For anyone interested in learning about the Dutch language and culture. This could be specifically interesting to all international students planning to study in Amsterdam (or in the Netherlands), or for students with a Dutch heritage. Over the world, 23 million people speak the Dutch language. A lot of Dutch people have an international scope and live or travel all over the world. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.