An English-speaking person learning Dutch finds that a high degree of competence is required for usability. The Dutch speak English, so you can't use het Nederlands unless you speak it relatively well. (Unless you're not anglophone or can pretend that you don't speak English.)
"English is so easy," he said, "because it's basically simplified French...."
This may be why the language has a reputation as especially difficult.
One must first work to merely conduct simple transactions without prompting a switch, and it's a delicate moment, always, at first. For more complex interactions and relationships, English will be the common language until you're proficient.
This makes learning Dutch in the natural fashion a slow process.