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When travelling across the Netherlands, you will notice that the Dutch are very apt at speaking foreign languages, and almost everybody at least understands English. However, you may notice that much fewer people are able to respond in English as you reach the more rural parts of the countryside. In towns and cities, though, most people will be able to help you in English.

What you will notice, however, is that written documents are only occasionally available in English. More often than not, official documents will only be available in Dutch. Furthermore, many companies’ websites are also only available in Dutch.

In the border regions, in east Groningen and Drenthe, you may find that German is the preferred second language over English, although this is far less common among younger generations.

What one should also bear in mind is that many regions of the northern Netherlands have their own distinct dialects, such as “Gronings” (in Groningen) or “Drèents” (in Drenthe). The province of Friesland even has its own officially recognized language – Frisian.