Language courses in the Netherlands provide the opportunity to learn both Dutch and English. Short-term courses and summer programs are common in the country. Language schools organize trips and excursions during which students get acquainted with the history and culture of the Netherlands. They visit endless fields of tulips and the famous windmills, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In addition, students of the country's language courses have many travel options — the Netherlands is located in the center of Europe, from which it is easy to get to Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Advantages of language courses in the Netherlands

  • Small groups. Students of language schools study in small groups — a maximum of 8 people per group. At university centers, groups average at 14 people. This allows the teacher to devote more time and attention to each student. For comparison, this number can reach up to 20 students in Asian countries.
  • University courses. Universities in the Netherlands offer a variety of language programs. In addition to classic academic programs, you can find courses for business, prepare for international language exams, and hone your speaking and writing skills in special workshops and electives.
  • Rich extracurricular programs. Language schools in the Netherlands organize field trips and various excursions. During extracurricular activities, students not only practice the language, but also get acquainted with the history, culture, and traditions of the country.
  • English proficiency. The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. However, the locals are fluent in English. In the EF World's English Proficiency Index, the country ranks 1st in the world[1].
  • Ability to travel. The Netherlands is located in the center of Europe. Language course students can visit Belgium, Germany, France, and other Schengen countries.

Disadvantages of language courses in the Netherlands

  • No long-term courses. Student visas are not issued for language courses in the Netherlands. Thus, their duration cannot exceed 3 months — the validity period of a short-term Schengen visa. On average, programs last from 2 to 7 weeks.
  • Few Foundation programs. There are virtually no Foundation programs — they are offered only by 3 universities in the country. In addition, language courses at universities do not entitle students to enroll in higher education programs without additional language exams.
  • Accommodation. Schools in the Netherlands do not provide host family accommodation or dormitories. Most often, students of language courses live in hotels or share an apartment.
  • High cost of living. The Netherlands is an expensive country. The average cost of living here is 985 USD per month, excluding rental housing[2]. For comparison, a month in the UK will cost around 839 USD. What is more, language schools are often located in popular tourist areas where the cost of groceries, transportation, and entertainment is higher.

Cost of language courses in the Netherlands

SchoolProgramNumber of weeksWeekly tuitionCitiesHotel accommodationApartment rental
Language Corner
(English)
Semi-Intensive Course 5*789 USDAmsterdam134 USD/day1,478 USD/month
Intensive Summer Course 15*2287 USD
Regular Conversation Course 2*639 USD
Intensive Conversation Course 10*2183 USD
Private LessonsIndividual44-56 USD/lesson
Language Corner (Dutch)

Semi-intensive Course 5*

6-790 USD

Intensive Course 15*

2287 USD

Conversation Course 2*

639 USD

Dutch Exams
Preparation 5*

6-7256-1,825 USD/course
Private LessonsIndividual44-56 USD/lesson
KoentactDutch Evening Course 6*597 USDAmsterdam, Rotterdam134 USD/day1,478 USD/month
Dutch Morning Course 8*4121 USD
Intensive Dutch Course 25*1572 USD
Dutch Conversation Course 4*560 USD
Private Dutch LessonsIndividualIndividual
University of AmsterdamEnglish for Beginners3-4790 USDAmsterdam--
English Course3-5**676-790 USD
IELTS Preparation2458 USD
Cambridge Exam Preparation8-10430 USD
Business English2676 USD
Academic English
English Business / Academic Writing
Dutch Courses2-5**458-790 USD
NT2 Preparation8-10409 USD
Dutch Academic2 -3676 USD
English Business / Academic Writing2
Erasmus University RotterdamCourse10452 USDRotterdam--
Academic Writing527-195 USD
Course10430 USD
Dutch Speaking Skills10391 USD

* Number of lessons per week

** Duration of the module required to master one language level

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Types of language courses in the Netherlands

Type of programIntensityGroupLanguage requirementsPrice per week
General Course10-254-8Beginner90 USD
Intensive Course15-254-8Beginner429 USD
Evening / Morning Course6-84-8Beginner93 USD
Conversation Course2-104-8Elementary94 USD
Business English / Dutch256-12Upper-Intermediate338 USD
Exam Preparation5-304-8Beginner / Intermediate763 USD/course
Academic Course15-306-12Upper-Intermediate338 USD
University Pathway20-3012-20Upper-Intermediate20,449 USD/year
Study at Your Teacher's Home10-251-8Beginner1,934 USD
Summer Camp15-204-6Beginner708 USD/course
Private LessonsIndividual1-2Beginner82 USD/session
  • General and Intensive Courses. General English and Dutch courses. There are different durations of the program — from 1 to 7 weeks, depending on the intensity of the classes and the initial language level.
  • Evening / Morning Courses — for those who are not ready to devote much time to learning the language. Classes are held for 6-8 hours a week in the morning or evening. Duration — 4-5 weeks.
  • Conversation Courses — conversation practice. In the classroom, students learn vocabulary, work out pronunciation and language fluency, and also get rid of an accent. Duration — 5-6 weeks. The minimum required language level is Intermediate.
  • Business English / Dutch. Language courses for those who require knowledge of Dutch or English for work. In the classroom, students learn vocabulary, as well as master the skills of business communication and correspondence. The minimum required language level is Upper-Intermediate.
  • Exam Preparation. Preparation programs for IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge exams, as well as the national exam for Dutch proficiency — NT2. Besides learning the main aspects of the language, students study grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and writing. In addition, they take mock versions of real exams and analyze them with a teacher. The duration and intensity of the classes depends on the initial language level, along with the level of the exam for which preparation is required. As a rule, you can enroll in preparatory courses with an Intermediate level or higher, but some schools enroll students with minimal knowledge.
  • Academic Courses aimed to prepare for studies at English or Dutch-speaking universities. Such programs are also suitable for students who have already enrolled in a bachelor's or master's program, but do not have a sufficient command of the language. Academic programs are available at university centers. During lessons, students learn specific vocabulary, as well as master the skills of academic writing and critical thinking. The duration averages at 2-4 weeks.
  • University Pathway. Preparatory programs offered by some universities in the Netherlands. Students study English along with the subjects of their future field. Such programs last 1 year. At the end of the course, students pass the IELTS exam and enter the first year of university studies.
  • Study at Your Teacher's Home. Individual courses that take place in a teacher's home. Such programs allow for a complete immersion in the language environment, and also provide an opportunity to combine language learning with canal cruises, bike rides, national dish tastings, and sightseeing tours. In the first half of the day, students study the language with a teacher, and in the afternoon attend cultural and entertainment events. The course intensity varies from 10 to 25 hours per week, with 5 hours per week devoted entirely to extracurricular activities. Such programs last 1-2 weeks.
  • Private Lessons — individual lessons with a teacher. These are the most flexible courses, given that students can choose the intensity and duration of their courses. Moreover, the curriculum can be adapted to specific needs and goals — exam preparation, business vocabulary, and so forth.

Summer Programs

Language schools in the Netherlands offer summer camps to both teenagers and adults. They usually take place in July and August. In the morning, students study English or Dutch, and in the afternoon go to museums, galleries, amusement parks, canal cruises, or tulip plantations. As a rule, such courses last 2-4 weeks and have varying intensities — from 10 to 20 hours a week.

University courses

In the Netherlands, both Dutch and English can be learned at university language centers. Such courses are offered by The University of Rotterdam, The University of Amsterdam, The University of Utrecht, and others. You can take both standard and intensive courses at these centers. Some universities offer more options for language learning: business courses, practice in oral and written speech, language exam preparation, and Academic Dutch. Courses at university centers vary in duration — from 2 to 14 weeks. The groups are larger than at private language schools — an average of 8-14 people.

At universities, you can also take the national exam for Dutch proficiency — NT2. It is necessary for university admission and a long-term visa. You must register for the exam in advance — at least 6 months before the exam date. The cost of the exam is 49 USD.

You can enter some universities of applied sciences and research after the 11th grade, while others require students to undergo a mandatory preparatory year. However, many Dutch universities no longer accept Foundation students from countries that are part of the Bologna system.

Preparatory programs remain at The University of Amsterdam, Hague University of Applied Sciences, and The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. In such programs, students not only study English, but also general subjects from their future specialty. You can enroll after the 11th grade, but need to have a good GPA and pass the IELTS exam with a 5.5. After completing these courses, students are enrolled in the first year of university studies. It is worth noting that taking English or Dutch courses at university centers does not ensure admission without a language exam.

Features of admission to Dutch language schools

Enrollment to Dutch universities and language schools takes place all year round, and the classes themselves begin 4-6 times a year[3]. Most courses take place in the summer, but there are some that start in January. Check the exact start dates for classes on the official website of the selected school or university.

To enroll in language courses in the Netherlands, you need to:

  • Register on the website of a school or university
  • Select the appropriate course
  • Fill out an online application
  • Pass an oral interview by phone or take an entrance test to determine your language level
  • Receive enrollment confirmation
  • Pay the course, registration, and other fees
  • Obtain a Dutch visa

All students of language courses, except for beginners, must take a test to determine their language level. Formats vary by school — this can be an oral interview with a teacher, an online test, or a face-to-face exam upon arrival at the school. According to the test results, students are assigned to a group corresponding to their language level.

Student visas are not issued for language courses in the Netherlands. For this reason, all programs offered in the country last no more than 3 months.

Taking language courses in the Netherlands

The official language in the country is Dutch. The country is often called Holland, though this is not entirely true — Holland is only 2 of the 12 regions in the Netherlands. Throughout history, this region developed at the fastest pace, and is therefore better known to the world[4]. Because of this, confusion still arises both in the name of the country and in the designation of its official language.

English and Dutch can be learned both at private language schools and university language centers. Both offer a wide variety of options for language learning — you can take standard or intensive courses, learn the intricacies of Business English, practice conversational Dutch, or prepare for passing international language exams and further university studies.

Almost all courses in the country are held in an intensive format in the summer. Dutch and English courses are usually held for 5-7 weeks.

At the end of the course, students take a final exam and receive a certificate. If you wish to continue your studies, you can choose another course at a higher level.

In the Netherlands, language schools and centers are located throughout the country. In addition to Amsterdam, a student can study in Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, and other cities. Each city is unique in its own way. Amsterdam is considered the creative and cultural center of Holland, and Rotterdam is among the most important transportation hubs in Europe and the rest of the world.

Field trips make up a large portion of the curriculum, thanks to which students not only practice the language, but also learn more about the country. Usually, trips are included in the course cost. Schools also organize various extracurricular activities, such as visits to the Rembrandt and Van Gogh museums, rides along numerous canals, shopping at street markets and fairs, and explorations at tulip plantations.

Dutch language schools do not provide accommodation for students. Most often, students live in hotels or rent an apartment with their classmates. Some schools partner with rental and search services that provide students with discounted rental rates.

Accommodation options in the Netherlands

Accommodation optionsMealsNumber of people per roomCost
Accommodation in a teacher's homeHalf board or full board1862-931 USD/week
HotelOptional1-2134 USD/day
ApartmentNone1-31,478 USD/month

Additional expenses

CostsAvg. cost
Consular embassy fee87 USD
Study materials47 USD

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Visa for language courses in the Netherlands

To take courses in the Netherlands, you will need a Schengen category C visa. The validity period is 90 days.

Documents for a Schengen visa:

  • Completed visa application form (in English)
  • Passport valid for at least 3 months after the end of the trip
  • 2 color photographs
  • Medical insurance for the entire period of study with a minimum coverage of 32,692 USD
  • Proof of financial solvency at the rate of 60 USD per day per person
  • Documents confirming the purpose of the trip: a language school invitation (if available) / hotel reservation / sponsorship letter
Working while taking a language course in the Netherlands

A Schengen visa to the Netherlands allows students to work. However, it will be difficult for those who come from outside the EU to find a job in the country. To do so, you need to receive a special social service number from the municipality. Moreover, the employer needs to issue a work permit for the foreigner[5]. This is a long and laborious process, which is why Dutch companies give preference to people with European citizenship.

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Best language schools in the Netherlands

Language Corner

Language Corner was opened in 2015 in Amsterdam. The school offers Dutch, English, and Spanish courses. Students can take intensive and semi-intensive courses for 5 hours a week, special conversation courses, as well as prepare for the Dutch NT2 exam. Programs last from 2 to 7 weeks.

The average course cost at Language Corner is 149 USD per week. Preparation for Dutch exams costs 1,090 USD for 6 weeks.

Koentact

Koentact in Amsterdam has been offering Dutch and French courses since 2008. Students can take intensive programs and special courses for business purposes. You can also study part-time in the mornings and evenings and take conversation courses. Duration — from 1 to 5 weeks.

The average cost of courses is 185 USD per week.

Home Language International

Home Language International offers language courses in the home of a teacher. Students live in their teacher's house, learn the language, and attend various recreational and cultural events. This format of language learning allows you to fully immerse yourself in the language environment and practice in everyday situations.

Home Language International students can study Dutch in courses of varying intensity — from 10 to 25 hours per week, and 5 hours per week are devoted to extracurricular activities and a cultural program.

The cost of the course is from 1,607 USD to 2,261 USD per week, depending on the intensity of the lessons. This includes a Dutch course, accommodation in the teacher's house, three meals a day, travel expenses, and an entertainment program.

Best cities to learn a language in the Netherlands

Amsterdam

Population872 thousand people
Monthly living expenses1,083 USD
AttractionsRoyal Palace, Singel Canal, Amsterdam Defense Line, NEMO Museum, Rijksmuseum, Vincent van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Amstel Hermitage Museum, Rembrandt Flat Museum, Heineken Brewery
  • City of bicycles. Bicycles are considered the hallmark of the Netherlands. There are many places in Amsterdam where you can rent them and go explore the city's attractions, parks, and embankments.
  • Top universities. Amsterdam is home to several universities that occupy high positions in world rankings. Among them are The University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam[6]. Students who choose to take English or Dutch courses in Amsterdam can consider language centers at these universities.
  • Career opportunities. Headquarters of major international companies are located in Amsterdam: Philips, ING, Heineken, Uber, Netflix, Tesla, and others. Students have the opportunity to do an internship at one of these companies.
  • Parks and squares. The favorite place of local residents is Vondelpark. On sunny days, the park is quite crowded. However, this has its advantages — language course students can definitely find someone to chat and practice the language with.
  • Safest city. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, Amsterdam ranks 6th in the world and 1st in Europe in terms of safety[7]. The cities in this list were evaluated by the level of crime, availability of healthcare and social protection, along with the environmental situation and convenience of infrastructure.

Rotterdam

Population630 thousand people
Monthly living expenses1,043 USD
AttractionsOverblaak Development cubic houses, Euromast, Erasmus Bridge, Markthal Market Hall, St. Lawrence Church, Port of Rotterdam (Waalhaven), Witte de With, Boijmans Beuningen Museum
  • Unique architecture. Rotterdam is distinguished from other European cities by its authentic architecture, which is dominated by unusual forms. During the Second World War, the city was completely destroyed and restored in accordance with new architectural trends. One of the city's most unusual and popular attractions is the Overblaak Development, which consists of several cube-shaped buildings tilted at 45 degrees.
  • "Gateway to the World". Rotterdam is a transport hub in Europe, as well as a popular transfer point for flights to the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and other countries of the New World. Students of language courses who choose to study in Rotterdam can easily travel around Europe. For example, a journey to Antwerp will take about an hour and a half.
  • Мuseums and galleries. There are many diverse museums in Rotterdam. Connoisseurs of classical painting can visit the Boijmans Böningen Museum, which has works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Modrian, and Dali. Those who prefer contemporary art should pay attention to the Witte de With center.
  • Heaven for epicures. Rotterdam is the gastronomic capital of the Netherlands. The city is home to the oldest market in the country — Markthal, as well as many cafes, restaurants, and bistros. Here, you can try the national dish — fresh herring.

Utrecht

Population352 thousand people
Monthly living expenses1,017 USD
AttractionsDome Cathedral, Jukebox Museum, Sonnenborgh Observatory, Utrecht Central Museum, Castle de Haar, Oude Hortus Botanical Garden
  • Tallest tower in the country. Built in the 14th century, the tower of the Dome Cathedral is not only a record holder in height, but a stunning example of the Gothic architectural style. Those who master the 465 steps will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of Utrecht.
  • Calm environment. Utrecht is not as popular a tourist destination as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or The Hague. There are few people in the old streets of the city, and the sights and sunny parks can be enjoyed in silence.
  • Charming city symbol. Dick Bruna, the renowned children's book author, was born in Utrecht. For his works, he created the image of the white rabbit Muffy (Nijntje in Dutch). Images of this character can be found throughout the city — from the statue in the square to graffiti and traffic lights.
  • Canal cruises. In the Netherlands, no one is surprised by the abundance of canals. Here in Utrecht, students of language courses can go on a cruise and see the city from a new angle.

Eindhoven

Population217 thousand people
Monthly living expenses1,003 USD
AttractionsVan Abbe Museum, Evolyon, St. Catherine's Church, DAF Museum, Philips Museum, Strijip districts
  • Student city. Every year, the Academy of Design and The Technical University of Eindhoven attract talented students from all over the world. The city has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and students of language courses can not only practice the language, but also communicate and share impressions with people who are also studying abroad.
  • Design capital of the Netherlands. Thanks to the Design Academy and the annual Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven can be considered the capital of design. In their free time, students can visit exhibitions of local design studios.
  • Industrial heritage. Over 125 years ago, Philips opened its first factory in Eindhoven. Since then, the city has developed into the Dutch center of innovation and technology. Here, you can visit the old Philips factories, which now house shops and lofts, as well as host exhibitions for young engineers and designers.
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