While being able to speak Dutch is not a requirement for living in the Netherlands, with the exception of individuals subject to Civic Integration (Inburgering) requirements, having a basic knowledge of the language is extremely helpful for expats living in the Netherlands.
Dutch language training is available at schools, adult education centres, in-business training programmes, personal tutors and self-learning aids. Classes are organised according to skill level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and correspond with CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) levels.
CEFR levels are based on the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The coding ranges from A1 (limited skill) to C2 (near fluent).
There are several state exams in the Netherlands which test Dutch language skill level:
– NT2 Staatsexamen Programme I (Dutch as a Second Language State Exam)
– NT2 Staatsexamen Programme II (Dutch as a Second Language State Exam)
– Inburgeringsexamens (Dutch Civic Integration Exam)
Dutch as a Second Language is offered at two levels. Employers seeking to fill specific positions which require knowledge of Dutch will often specify whether the NT2 Programme I or NT2 Programme II skill level is needed.
– For more information about the NT2 Staatsexamen in Dutch
– For more information about the NT2 Staatsexamen in English
– For detailed information on the exam, including the application process, price, dates, and testing centres (in Dutch)
Within higher education, students wishing to pursue an MBO programme (vocational studies degree) must have passed the NT2 programme I exam, while applicants for HBO or WO programmes (university-level courses) must have passed the NT2 Programme II exam.
– More information about secondary education and higher education in the Netherlands
The body ultimately responsible for the administration of national examinations in the Netherlands is the Board of Examinations (College voor Toetsen en Examens).
The Civic Integration Exam (Inburgering) is a state exam testing Dutch language skills and cultural knowledge of the Netherlands. It focuses on using Dutch in practical, everyday situations. In order to pass, a Dutch language skill level of A2 is required.
– See the Dutch Civic Integration overview
– To learn more about language levels and to take a self-assessment test, see the Europass website