Dentists who are interested in starting a career in the Netherlands often see the Dutch language as the main obstacle of taking the leap. A question we hear a lot is: ‘Is Dutch a difficult language to learn?’ Even though there is no yes or no answer to this question, we will try to provide you some insight in the challenges to learn Dutch, or: Nederlands!
Dutch, like any language, presents its own set of challenges for language learners. But, whether or not Dutch is considered difficult to learn will depend on various factors, such as: the learner’s native language, previous language-learning experience, and the exposure to the Dutch language.
Most of the dentists who follow our program, come from other European countries. This is an advantage since most European languages have similar alphabets. Furthermore, in order to enter our program you need to have proficiency in English since this will be our ‘reference’ language. This means that everyone has at least some experience with language-learning. And our intensive course will immerse you in the Dutch language before you move to the Netherlands.
So, those are the advantages. Now let’s take a closer look at the challenges. One of the main challenges for English speakers learning Dutch is the pronunciation. Dutch has many distinct vowel sounds and diphthongs (double vowels), which can be difficult for non-native speakers to master. Additionally, Dutch has many guttural consonants, such as the ‘’g’’ sound in ‘’gezellig’, which can be challenging to produce for learners who are not accustomed to these sounds.
Another difficulty for Dutch learners is the grammar. Dutch has complex rules for word order, verb conjugation, and the use of articles and prepositions. Additionally, Dutch has three genders – masculine, feminine, and neuter – which can be difficult for learners who are not used to assigning gender to nouns. There are also languages that don’t use articles for nouns at all, so for these students it takes some time to get used to the concept of articles.
However, Dutch also has some features that may make it easier for some learners. For example, Dutch vocabulary is closely related to English, which means that English speakers will be able to recognize many Dutch words and make educated guesses about their meanings. Additionally, Dutch has a relatively simple system for forming plurals, with most nouns simply adding an ‘’-en’’ suffix.
Ultimately, the difficulty of learning Dutch will depend on the individual learner and their unique circumstances. If you follow a course at the BGB Academy, we have the opportunity to influence these circumstances and to provide you with the tools you need in order to learn the language.
We’ve been educating foreign dentists in the Dutch language for over 10 years, so by now we know exactly how to help you succeed, even when learning languages is not your strong suit.
With persistence, practice and some help from our Academy, we’re confident that you’ll be able to succeed, just like many others before you!
Are you curious about the Dutch language? Check out our Dutch for Dentists videos on YouTube to get an impression of dentistry Dutch.