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On the (un)importance of the Dutch language for tourists in the Netherlands


It's always important to learn some of the language when visiting a country — except in the Netherlands.

The Dutch won't indulge poor use of their language, least of all by anybody with an Anglophone accent.

(One of my first experiences was in an Amsterdam Postbank, when the lady there told me "I speak English too, you know," and people giggled at me.) But that's Amsterdam, and that was early, and I got over it.

I lived in NL for a total of about two years. When I left the country (the second time,) I felt that I had learned basic Dutch. I confirmed this for myself a couple of years later when I visited Utrecht and was able to find a hostel across the city by getting instructions from a big-mustached gentleman whom I'd stopped to ask.

force people to speak Dutch -- and make them *understand* me in *bad Duutch,* I wouldn't encourage anybody I know to worry too much about it.