The Dutch language is part of the West Germanic language branch of the Indo-European language family. Dutch is spoken by approximately 23 million people as a first language and another 5 million as a second language. It is the official language of the Netherlands and an official language of Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Suriname and of the European Union.
Old Dutch dates from the 5th Century to the 12th Century, when Middle Dutch emerged and was prevalent until being replaced by Modern Dutch in the 15th Century. As the third most commonly spoken Germanic language after English and German, it actually sounds quite like a mix of the two languages. A recent survey discovered that Dutch is one of the easiest foreign languages for native English speakers to learn because of its similarity to English and its simple grammatical structure.
Free Resources to Learn Dutch
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app/website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Learn Dutch by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
Drops – Learn Dutch – Tunes – Google Play – This simple but powerful app is entertaining, educational, and free. With a focus on visual learning and 5-minute lesson limits, this app is easy to integrate into your daily language learning regimen and is very effective.
Clozemaster – iTunes – Google Play – This popular app uses gamification and is a great addition to your language learning regimen, no matter what your level. It is very effective for vocabulary acquisition and billed as a great app to use after Duolingo.
Learn 10,000 Dutch Words and Phrases – iTunes – Google Play – Although this app won’t help you learn grammar, it will teach you a ton of vocabulary. The Dutch language lessons include 10,000 key words and phrases for all levels Beginner A1 (500 words), Elementary A2 (501-1250), Lower Intermediate B1 (1251-2250), Upper Intermediate B2 (2251-3500) and Advanced C1 (3501-5000).
6000 Words – Learn Dutch Language for Free – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you more than 6000 Dutch words with images, phonetic transcriptions and pronunciations recorded by native speakers. The vocabulary words are organized into 15 themes with 140 subtopics.
Learn Dutch with WordPower – iTunes – Google Play – WordPower is another app that relies heavily on the “freemium” model, but the free version will teach you 100 of the most common Dutch words and phrases.
Learn Dutch, Speak Dutch Language Guide By Iliescu Tudor – iTunes – This practical app makes learning Dutch easy and fun with 140 lessons that teach key vocabulary and grammar elements. Over the course of 10 modules, which are 60 minutes in duration, you will learn 2000 essential Dutch words and phrases.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Free Dutch Dictionary/Translation Apps
Dutch English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for Dutch & English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
The Free Dictionary By Farlex – iTunes – Google Play – This dictionary and thesaurus app provides millions of precise definitions, drawn from the most trusted industry publications and sources, including idioms, slang, and etymology of words. The Free Dictionary works offline and offers additional functionality like voice search, sharing, games, word of the day, and more.
Reverso Dutch Dictionary – iTunes – Google Play – This app serves as dictionary and translator for millions of words and expressions, accompanied by contextual examples. Other features include a powerful linguistic search engine, natural pronunciation, phrasebook, flashcards and more.
Learn Dutch with DutchPod101.com – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Dutch language learning regimen.
Easy Dutch – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Dutch speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Dutch and English.
LearnDutch.Org Video Lessons – YouTube – Learn Dutch online with teacher Bart de Pau using great playlists like 1000 Most Common Words in Dutch, Dutch Grammar, Dutch Alphabet and Pronunciation, and Dutch Proverbs.
Learn Dutch with Niels – YouTube – Niels, a former Dutch teacher, offers a lot of great content for beginner Dutch students.
Learn Dutch with DutchPod101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Dutch language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
One Minute Dutch – iTunes – Yep, that’s right, each lesson includes just over a minute of language instruction, so it’s a breeze to fit this into your busy schedule! In this podcast, you will learn Dutch from Fons and Mark who will teach you the basics. Although you won’t become fluent with the One Minute Dutch program, it is the perfect way to boost your confidence and to help you make a good impression when communicating on a trip to a Dutch-speaking country.
Colloquial Dutch: The Complete Course for Beginners Book 1 and 2 – This collection of audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Dutch language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Dutch: The Complete Course for Beginners textbooks (Book 1 and Book 2), which are aimed at teaching Dutch to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
Laura speaks Dutch – iTunes – This podcast consists of 56 great Dutch lessons which received great reviews.
Language Survival Guide – iTunes – This website teaches basic Dutch vocabulary relating to the following categories: Verbs, Conversation, Essentials, Questions, Numbers, Holiday, and Food & Drink.
To Speak Dutch Podcast By Frank van Rooijen – iTunes – This podcast features 27 short episodes that teach introductory Dutch.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Dutch Language Refresher Course – This Dutch language course is part of the language learning program developed by U.S. Department of Defense as a means of training employees for foreign assignments. These courses are intended to be used as refresher courses for those who have completed a Dutch language course and need to review. Includes 5 e-textbooks in PDF format with 502 pages and 4 audio files in MP3 format with a running time of 1 hour and 54 minutes.
- DLI Dutch Beginner Course – This course is accompanied by 2 e-textbooks with 105 pages and 24 audio files with a running time of 7 hours and 46 minutes.
- DLI Dutch Intermediate Course – This course is accompanied by 2 e-textbooks with 406 pages and 28 audio files with a running time of 10 hours and 20 minutes.
- DLI Dutch Intermediate-Advanced Course – This course is accompanied by 2 e-textbooks with 396 pages and 29 audio files with a running time of 10 hours and 25 minutes.
- DLI Dutch Advanced Course – This course is accompanied by 2 e-textbooks with 397 pages and 24 audio files with a running time of 8 hours and 35 minutes.
Introduction to Dutch Course – The University of Groningen offers this MOOC (massive open online course) on the FutureLearn platform. This three-week course teaches basic Dutch for absolute beginners.
Thal Thuis Dutch Course – The Thal Thuis website contains a Beginner Level Dutch Course and an Intermediate Level Dutch Course, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, along with other great resources like practice tests, exercises, videos, and activities.
Oefenen – This free website offers adult continuing education in various areas including language. Dutch language learners will find a nice selection of courses targeted at teaching reading, writing and speaking skills to Dutch language learners.
Beginner Dutch Course for English Speakers – This beginner course includes audio files for every letter in the Dutch alphabet and focuses on grammar explanations, parts of speech and sentence formation. The website also features a dictionary and a picture dictionary.
Advanced Dutch Course for English Speakers – The Advanced Dutch course focuses on diminutives. future tense, conditional mood, passive voice, reflexive and reciprocal pronouns and compound sentences.
Beginner Dutch Lessons – In addition to 15 in-depth beginner Dutch lessons, this website offers a ton of useful information about everything from Dutch Pronunciation and Spelling, Dutch Vocabulary, Dutch Grammar, Dutch Exercises, and Listening Practice.
LanguageGuide.org – Explore the world of Dutch by learning an abundance of vocabulary in a sound integrated, animated guide. After learning the vocabulary you can take part in games to test your comprehension.
Babadum – A free language learning website that features fun flashcard games to help you brush up on your vocabulary.
BBC Languages: Dutch – The BBC Dutch Language website features key information like Dutch Language Facts, Dutch Words and Phrases,and The Dutch Alphabet. All BBC language learning pages were “archived” a few years back due to cost-cutting measures, which means they are no longer adding new information or updating the pages. However, you should have no problem accessing the existing information.
ielanguages.com – This website offers free basic language learning text and audio instruction.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Dutch, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
CoolJugator – CoolJugator is a verb conjugator website that makes conjugation easy and straightforward.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Dutch with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Polly Lingual – This website offers some fun games, exercises and beginner level instruction with lessons that include text and audio.
Dutch Stories by BookBox – Cartoons have always been a wonderful asset to language learning, particularity for children. These animated children’s stories are great because the viewer can read along with the narration, which is shown on-screen as “Same Language Subtitles (SLS).” Each word is highlighted in time with the audio, which helps with comprehension and retention.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Dutch lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Dutch with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Verbix – Online Dutch verb conjugator.
I Love Languages Dutch Lessons – This site provides 17 beginner Dutch lessons designed to help you improve your speaking, reading, and writing skills. Supplementary resources include vocabulary, grammar tips, and phrases.
LingvoSoft Dutch Phrasebook – This site offers a basic phrasebook format with text and audio to help you learn essential Dutch vocabulary.
Study Stack Flashcards – This website hosts plenty of flashcard sets for studying Dutch.
2BDutch – This website provides Dutch videos with subtitles in English, German, Spanish, French, and Portuguese as a learning tool for Dutch language learners. This is a great way to improve listening comprehension and acquire new vocabulary.
Taalmenu – This free website is the result of an educational initiative by a non-profit organization and offers Dutch learning materials. Students will find materials and exercises organized by learning level A1, A2, B1 and B2.
Je Kan Me Wat – This free Dutch learning website was created by the same NGO as the above mentioned Taalmenu. It provides 15 learning modules for beginner Dutch students.
Learn Practice Dutch – This website offers grammar and vocabulary tutorials and almost one thousand free exercises.
Woordenlijst – This website is the online version of the Green Book, which contains the word list of the Dutch language with official spelling.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8, and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
Google News – Read the world news in Dutch with Google News.
SBS Radio Dutch Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Dutch program, including Australian and world news.
De Telegraaf – This is the second most circulated Dutch newspaper which was founded in 1893 and is based in Amsterdam, Belgium.
Algemeen Dagblad – This is the third most circulated Dutch newspaper which was founded in 1946 and is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
De Volkskrant – This is the most circulated Dutch newspaper which was founded in 1919 and is based in Amsterdam, Belgium.
Vandale – This online Dutch dictionary is brought to you by Vandale, the leading publisher of the highly regarded Dutch print dictionary.
WordReference – There is no need for a Dutch-English dictionary if you have WordReference. Featuring good translations of words and solid definitions, this site also has helpful forums where Dutch speakers from around the world contribute to explaining subtle nuances or more obscure words.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Dict.cc – A go-to Dutch dictionary and translation website which also offers crowd-sourced recordings by native speakers.
Bab.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
LearnWithOliver – In addition to a dictionary, this site offers games and flashcards to support your Dutch Language learning.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Go Dutch! A Beginning Textbook for University Students – This textbook by Marian De Vooght and Andre Lefevere of the University of Texas has been made available for free to honor the 20th anniversary of the publishing of the book. The coordinating audio files can be found here. Go Dutch! takes a creative approach to language learning, using a fictional story about a private eye as a premise to teach vocabulary and grammar, and includes 21 sections of “survival Dutch”.
Dutch: An Essential Grammar – This Dutch grammar book is authored by Indiana University professors William Z. Shetter and Esther Ham.
Dutch Conversation Grammar – This Dutch grammar book by T.G.G. Valette was originally published in 1893.
Elements of Dutch Grammar – This Dutch grammar book by Dr. J. M. Hoogvliet was originally published in 1898.
Transparent Language – Free online language level testing is offered by this language learning software company.
Cactus Language – This UK based language study abroad organization offers free online language level testing.
Language Trainers – This language training company offers free online language level testing.
17 Minute Languages – At only three minutes in length, this Dutch language level test is very brief but will determine your CEFR level (A1 – C2).
Language Life Test – Answer 28 questions to assess your Dutch language proficiency.
What Are Your Favorite Free Dutch Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.