Whether you're new in Rotterdam or have been living here for a while, you've probably noticed that though everybody understands English, not everybody can speak it. Give yourself a leg up by learning this unique language.
Rotterdam is a very international city. However, contrary to Amsterdam's city centre, it's not that easy to live and work in the city without ever needing to speak Dutch. Nobody expects your Dutch to be perfect, but they do appreciate the effort. Luckily, there are various ways to go about learning Dutch in Rotterdam.
The best (and most costly way) is to apply for a course at a language school. These are some highly rated schools you might want to check out:
CBE Languages, formerly known as 'Centre for British English,' offers Dutch courses from A1 all the way to B2+. All courses are taught in Dutch (even the beginner courses). Beginner group courses run in 11-week blocks and are 2 hours per session. Prices start at €285 (excluding course book €40). Find out more on the CBE Languages website.
ITHA Dutch Language Institute
The ITHA Dutch Language Institute has been around since 1991 and its courses are NRTO certified. Courses range from beginner (A-level) all the way to NT2.2 State Exams and C2++. A group course (€395) including book and handouts (€35) as well as an app (€20) comes to about €450. Find out more on the ITHA website.
Berlitz offers courses from beginner (A1) to upper intermediate (B1). Classes are taught either in the daytime or evening, though the times for the Dutch beginner courses always seem to intersect with office hours. The courses are labelled as level 1 through 6 and every level consists of two courses (first half and second half). A Dutch beginner level group course taught two days a week for five weeks (10 lessons), costs about €310. Find out more at the Berlitz Rotterdam website.
Baay Dutch Language Courses
The folks at Baay offer a variety of courses, from beginner all the way to advanced and intensive courses. According to their website, the courses have been specifically designed for expats and international students from all over the globe. Baay also offers courses in conversational Dutch as well as in-company courses. The beginners A1 course takes eight weeks (one class per week) and costs €280 (including handouts but excluding coursebook). Find out more at the Baay Dutch Language Courses website.
CSA-EUR at Erasmus.
CSA-EUR is the Chinese student association at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. They offer language courses in Mandarin as well as Dutch. Course levels range from A1.1 to B1.1 as well as intermediate and advanced. However, courses only up when at least 3-4 participants have signed up. Find out more at the CSA-EUR website.
Rotterdamse VolksuniversiteitFrom A1 to C1, the Rotterdamse Volksuniversiteit has an appropriate course for all comers. You'll be able to learn or improve your level of Dutch in 15 three-hour courses. The language of communication in the courses is Dutch and the average homework load is three to four hours per week. The total cost of €328 (excluding book) can be paid in three instalments. Visit the Rotterdamse Volksuniversiteit website for more information.
This organization offers tailor-made individual courses as well as group courses. Classes are taught in small groups by native trainers. The focus is on speaking skills. A 10- week (22 hours) group course will set you back approximately €280 (including compulsory end exam). Find out more on the Masterclass Dutch website.
Traditional group courses and individual courses in classical settings aren't for everybody. Either due to time constraints or because of the relatively high cost, one may prefer to go it alone. These other methods won't give you any kind of official diploma or certificate of completion, but they are cheap and will definitely help you improve your Dutch.
Use an App like DuoLingo
For busy people who want to learn at their own pace, there's nothing better than a mobile app with tons of exercises. DuoLingo is a great app (iOS & Android) for learning one or multiple languages at once. It's free and the app tries to motivate you to log on and keep up with your progress. There's also a leaderboard, so if you add your friends, you can motivate each other as the app shows how many points they scored in the current week or month. DuoLingo is also accessible via the website and desktop pc users can download the windows app.
Attend language meetups
Ever heard of Meetup? It's a cool website where you can join Meetup groups and attend their events. There's one group called Rotterdam Language Exchange Meetup. They organise monthly meetups at which you can socialize in the languages you know or want.
Sign up at My Language Exchange
MyLanguageExchange.com has been around for a while. The website is a language exchange community with millions of members from give or take 175 countries practising just as many languages. The website has a retro layout but it works. Creating an account is free, reaching out to other members by saying 'hi' is free, but replying to a message requires you to be a gold member. Luckily, that's pretty cheap. Six dollars will give you gold status for one month. For the serious language learner, that's more than enough time to contact multiple people.
There are many channels with free Dutch courses on YouTube. The learndutch.org channel has over 88,000 subscribers and features a huge amount of videos. Another channel, Learn Dutch with DutchPod101.com (56k subscribers) even features a live broadcast with 24/7 Dutch classes as well as many videos covering listening comprehension as well as Dutch history and culture.
Dutch Song lyrics
One creative way to learn Dutch is by listening to Dutch music and looking up the translation to the lyrics. One artist you could look into is Guus Meeuwis. This artist's lyrics are conversational and free from slang. Guus Meeuwis' hits are very well known, so you can always ask a Dutch friend for further clarification of any words you might not fully understand. Other artists you can look into are Marco Borsato and Bløf.