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Do you need to speak Dutch to find a job in the Netherlands?

The capital of the Netherlands and many surrounding cities are multicultural with many different nationalities. People from all over the world are moving to the Netherlands every day, in search of a better life. Living in this kind of open-minded, multi-ethnic environment is a life-changing experience.

But how do you find a job if you don’t speak Dutch?
Easy, because English is the language that links people and jobs in the Netherlands.

Do you need to speak Dutch to find a job in the Netherlands?

 

According to a recent study by the Wittenborg Univesity of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands is a top English-speaking country and has overtaken Denmark and Sweden as the most proficient English speakers in the world outside the Anglosphere. The regions performing the best in the Netherlands were South Holland, North Holland and Gelderland-Overrijssel.

 

But how do the Dutch feel about communicating in another language and not in their own?

Well, the answer is that most Dutch people speak almost perfect English. So perfect that often you won’t even recognize they are Dutch. That makes the expat life easier, but learning Dutch difficult. And if you know some Dutch and try to speak to them, they immediately switch to English. That is because the Dutch accent is difficult to learn and they barely can understand what you are saying – no offense…

 

And what happens when it comes to employment? Can you work in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch?

The answer is Yes!
In many companies in Amsterdam, Dutch is the first language. Dutch offices have become the most English-speaking in Europe.

Be aware though, that there are many positions you can’t even apply for without knowing the Dutch language, but you will see that on their description for the position, before applying for the job.

That’s why, my suggestion is to put some time and effort into learning the language, especially if you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for a long time or try to build a whole new life here. It will give you more opportunities and it will make your daily life much easier. And don’t forget! If you want to learn Dutch you will have to constantly remind people to talk Dutch with you.

So, how do I find a job in the Netherlands that doesn’t require Dutch?

It is easy to find a job in the Netherlands without knowing the local language when you compare it to other countries. But it also depends on your skills and experience and what kind of a job you are looking for.

(We already have an article about how to find a job in the Netherlands and you will find some important tips there.)

You can apply through employment and recruitment agencies like the Undutchables, Octagon Professionals, Progressive, Ambitious People and much more, that can bring you in contact with the job opportunity that you want and fits your skills, but they also provide useful guidelines and offer advise. Another way is to apply directly at a company through their website or via LinkedIn or apply to relevant job sites such as: Together Abroad, Indeed, http://www.randstad.nl, Job in Amsterdam.

vacancy

It depends on what your native language is. Dutch is pretty easy to learn for English speakers. But like everything, it needs time and effort. The hardest part is the pronunciation, but if you are taking Dutch lessons and manage to practice it every day, you will be speaking and understanding Dutch in a year or two.

 

What if you want to work as a waiter or a salesperson or a hotel receptionist in the Netherlands?

If you’re looking for a job as a waiter or salesperson in Amsterdam, in most restaurants, bars, hotels and shops they might hire you only with English. But in other, smaller cities in the Netherlands, you’ll need to speak Dutch.