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Dutch Movies Guide: The 10 Best Movies to Learn Dutch

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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could improve your Dutch by, say, watching movies? Yes, learning Dutch could really be that fun. Supplementing your Dutch language course with Dutch movies could really boost your understanding of the language! 

Watching movies in your target language is a unique way to practice your listening comprehension skills in a relaxed environment, without the pressure you may feel in a real-life conversation. Is there something you don’t understand? Then just turn on the subtitles or pause the video while you look it up. 

In this article, we’ll first explain how watching Dutch movies can boost your Dutch. After that, we’ll give you tips on where to watch Dutch movies and provide you with a selection of movies for every proficiency level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Have fun “studying” Dutch!

A Man Binge-Watching Something on TV

Let’s get you hooked on these Dutch movies.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch Movies Will Help You Learn Dutch
  2. Where to Watch Dutch Movies
  3. Dutch Movies for Beginners
  4. For Intermediate Learners
  5. For Advanced Learners
  6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch Movies Will Help You Learn Dutch

Learning a language while watching a movie—it almost sounds too good to be true. But watching movies in Dutch really can help you improve your language skills! Here’s how.

1. It gives you the opportunity to learn by observation.

When you’re talking with someone in Dutch, you don’t have much time to think about what the other speaker is saying. Luckily, watching a Dutch movie does afford you this luxury! You’ll have the time to reflect on the Dutch dialogue, see how the speakers use certain words, and expand your vocabulary in the process. And if there’s something you don’t understand, you can just pause the movie to look it up (or take notes and look it up later).

2. It will teach you about the Dutch culture.

To learn a language, you also need to become familiar with the culture surrounding it. However, unless you’re living in the Netherlands, it can be hard to do this. The good news is that watching Dutch movies can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, regardless of where you live! You’ll get to see how people interact, learn more about Dutch humor, and discover new popular Dutch phrases. 

3. It stimulates multiple senses.

When you watch something, your eyes and ears are stimulated simultaneously; this stimulation of multiple senses helps your brain make connections between sounds and images. For example, if someone is talking about a jacket in a Dutch movie while showing it to the camera, your brain will connect the image with the sound of the word’s pronunciation. This little trick can help you retain new words much quicker!

4. It makes learning Dutch fun.

Who said learning can’t be fun? Learning a language may get dull at times, especially when you’re trying to master certain grammar rules or when you’re trying to memorize a lot of vocabulary at once. However, there are many fun learning activities you can do to spice up your learning process, such as watching Dutch movies. 

This will also keep you motivated to keep on learning Dutch. When something is fun, there’s a greater chance that you’ll stick with it. 

2. Where to Watch Dutch Movies

A Woman Watching a Movie on the Couch with Popcorn

So, how can you watch these Dutch movies from the comfort of your couch?

There are several places you can check out to watch the best Dutch movies of all time:

  • NPO: You can watch many Dutch movies on the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (“Dutch Public Network”) online, for free. However, the page doesn’t always allow you to see everything when you’re abroad. But still, even from abroad, you can watch a nice selection of the best Dutch movies.
  • RTL: This is a Dutch Commercial Network with five different channels: RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8, and RTL Z. You can also find some Dutch movies online on RTL XL
  • Netflix: There are a few Dutch movies on Netflix you can enjoy. The collection here may not be extensive, but the titles you can find are pretty impressive. Netflix also allows you to watch the Dutch movies with English subtitles, a feature which sets it apart from the previous options.
  • YouTube: You can find some Dutch movies on YouTube, from the classics to more recent ones. While there is an extensive offering, it can be hard to find the whole movie. 

Now that you know where to watch the best movies to learn Dutch, check out our vocabulary lists for television and YouTube!

3. Dutch Movies for Beginners

Let’s begin our Dutch movies list with films that are best for beginners. The following titles are all Dutch children’s films that are just as enjoyable for adults. The simple language and plot structures will make it easier for you to understand what you’re hearing, and the stories are sure to keep you entertained while you build a strong language foundation. 

1. Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster

Trailer:

Title translation: “Yes Nurse! No Nurse!”

The story: Four unique individuals are residing in Sister Klivia’s rest home. Together, these residents cause trouble for the angry neighbor Barend Boordevol, who does everything in his power to get the nurse and her residents out of the house.

Why it’s worth watching: Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster is a classic Dutch comedy musical from 2002, based on the original story by the famous Dutch children’s book author Annie M.G. Schmidt. It’s therefore a true classic, full of classic Dutch songs that will make watching the movie even more fun.

Cast: Loes Luca, Tjitske Reidinga, Waldemar Torenstra, and Paul de Leeuw

Important words or quotes: 

    De buurman (“The neighbor”)
    De inbreker (“The burglar”)
    Mijn opa (“My granddad”)
    Samen met u onder de paraplu (“Together with you under the umbrella”)

2. Minoes

Trailer:

The story: This story is about the cat Minoes, who has turned into a young woman. While Minoes looks like a charming young lady, she still has some cat habits and can also talk with cats. This ends up being beneficial for her, as befriended cats tell her human secrets which she uses to help the sympathetic, insecure journalist Tibbe, in exchange for food and a place to sleep.

Why it’s worth watching: Minoes is a Dutch film from 2001, directed by Vincent Bal. It’s a film adaptation of the famous children’s book by Annie M.G. Schmidt from 1970, making it another true classic. 

Cast: Carice van Houten, Theo Maassen, Pierre Bokma, Hans Kesting, and Olga Zuiderhoek

Important words or quotes: 

    De allerslechtste journalist van Killendoorn (“The worst journalist of Killendoorn”)
  • Poes Minoes (“Cat Minoes”)
    Merkwaardige juffrouw (“Strange lady”)
    Er is iets vreselijks gebeurd (“Something terrible happened”)

3. Het zakmes

Trailer:

Title translation: “The pocketknife”

The story: Mees has a problem: He took his best friend’s pocketknife home with him by accident. Unfortunately, his best friend is moving the next day and it’s too late to return the pocketknife. His parents are too busy to help, so little Mees goes on searching for his friend all by himself. Eventually, he enters a talent contest, hoping to get a message to his friend through a song.

Why it’s worth watching: The movie is based on a classic children’s novel by Dutch writer Sjoerd Kuyper. The book was first published in 1981 and was adapted for film in 1992. This cute Dutch classic won several awards. 

Cast: Olivier Tuinier, Verno Romney, and Adelheid Roosen

Important words or quotes: 

    Het zakmes (“The pocketknife”)
    Ik ben pas zes, Tom ik heb je mes. (“I’m only six, Tom I have your knife.”)

Is it hard for you to remember words? Have a look at these fifteen tips on how to remember Dutch words

Do you need to improve your Dutch before watching these movies? Then dive into these Top 10 FREE Dutch Lessons You Can’t Miss.

4. For Intermediate Learners

Now we’ll continue with some of the best Dutch movies to watch at an intermediate proficiency level. These films will have slightly more advanced vocabulary and more complex storylines, but they shouldn’t be too difficult to understand with some basic Dutch knowledge. 

1. Alles is liefde

Trailer:

Title translation: “Love is all”

The story: This romantic comedy interweaves different storylines about love against the backdrop of Amsterdam around the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. In this movie, six couples discover that love is everywhere. But love is like Sinterklaas: You have to believe in it, otherwise it won’t work. Follow crown prince Valentijn, saleswoman Kiki, lifeguard Victor, divorced mother Klaasje—and their children, parents, and other relatives—as everyone becomes entangled in the (im)possibilities of love.

Why it’s worth watching: The story is inspired by the movie Love Actually, but this version is all about the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. It will therefore give you some good insight into the celebration of this classic Dutch holiday. The movie was such a success that there was a sequel: Alles is familie (“Everything is family”).

Cast: Carice van Houten, Paul de Leeuw, Wendy van Dijk, and Daan Schuurmans

Important words or quotes: 

  • Liefde is als Sinterklaas. Je moet erin geloven. Anders wordt het niks. (“Love is like Sinterklaas. You have to believe in it. Otherwise it won’t work.”)
  • De ware (“The one”)
  • Liefde (“Love”)

2. Aanmodderfakker

Trailer:

The story: Thijs, 32, is the eternal student without any ambition. He goes through life carefree, filling his time with beer, women, and hanging out with his roommate Walter. He lives on donations from his mother and what he earns from a part-time job in an electronics shop. That life changes when he meets his sister Simone’s sixteen-year-old babysitter Lisa. This young woman has ambitions and a beautiful plan for her life, and is exactly the opposite of Thijs.

Why it’s worth watching: Aanmodderfakker gives some funny insight into the life of a lazy Dutch student and his relationship with his family. Although the story of Thijs may be quite extreme, it will tell you something about the Dutch culture and family relationships.

Cast: Gijs Naber, Yannick van de Velde, Roos Wiltink, and Anniek Pheifer

Important words or quotes: 

  • Aanmodderen (“Muddle through”)
  • Eeuwige student (“Eternal student”)
  • Ik hou van je (“I love you”)
  • Zachtgekookt ei (Literally, “soft-boiled egg,” meaning “a softy”)

3. Gooische vrouwen

Trailer:

Title translation: “Women of the Gooi”

The story: The life of the women of the Gooi, a fancy area in the Netherlands, is anything but smooth. The ladies are in desperate need of a holiday to regain their peace of mind. They pack their bags and leave for France, where they realize the importance of their friendship. Together they’re strong, and they try everything to solve their problems at home.

Why it’s worth watching: Gooische Vrouwen is a Dutch movie based on the popular drama series of the same name. The movie was also a huge success—in fact, it’s one of the most successful Dutch films of all time.

Cast: Linda de Mol, Susan Visser, Tjitske Reidinga, and Lies Visschedijk

Important words or quotes: 

  • Ik ga bij papa wonen. (“I am going to live with daddy.”)
  • Reis naar onze innerlijke zelf. (“Journey to our inner selves.”)
  • Oh heerlijk, in Frankrijk. (“Oh lovely, in France.”)
  • Ik heb je nodig. (“I need you.”)

4. De Eetclub

Trailer:

Title translation: “The dining club”

The story: Karen and Michel move to a high-end neighborhood with their daughter, and Karen soon finds friendship within a close circle of women from a dining club. One of the club members commits suicide, which puts pressure on everyone involved…what secrets lurk in the eetclub

Why it’s worth watching: De Eetclub is based on the popular book of the same name by Saskia Noort. This Dutch thriller movie will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end.

Cast: Peter Paul Muller, Angela Schijf, Bas Keijzer, Birgit Schuurman, Mattijn Hartemink, Irma Hartog, and Thom Hoffman

Important words or quotes: 

  • Wil je misschien wat drinken? (“Would you like to have a drink?”)
  • We hebben een eetclub. (“We have a dining club.”)
  • Vriendenclubje (“Group of friends”)
  • Verhouding (“Affair”)

5. For Advanced Learners

Let’s see some of the more advanced stuff. These are the best movies to learn Dutch if you already have some Dutch knowledge and experience.

1. Zwartboek

Trailer:

Title translation: “Black book”

The story: In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during WWII, the Jewish singer Rachel infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance. To do so, she hooks up with a German officer. In a failed attempt to free a group of resistance fighters, Rachel is seen as a traitor by both the resistance and the Germans.

Why it’s worth watching: This movie is directed by the famous Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. This thriller was filmed in the Netherlands and won several national and international awards. This thrilling movie will get you hooked and tell you more about Dutch history.

Cast: Carice van Houten, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, and Sebastian Koch

Important words or quotes: 

  • Het verzet (“The resistance”)
  • Verrader (“Traitor”)
  • Hoe ver zou je met hem willen gaan? (“How far would you go with him?”)
  • Voor het vaderland (“For the fatherland”)

2. Bankier van het Verzet

Trailer:

Title translation: “The resistance banker”

The story: After witnessing the devastation wreaked by the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, Dutch banker Walraven van Hall decides to fight back. He comes up with a method to finance the Dutch resistance and his fake “Sailor’s Fund” becomes the most elaborate hoax known to Dutch banking. As the operation grows larger, the stakes become higher and the risks more intense. 

Why it’s worth watching: The movie tells the true story of the resistance fighters and bankers Walraven van Hall and his brother Gijsbert van Hall. Even though the story is largely true, some changes to the story have been made to keep it exciting and easy to watch. In spite of these changes, the movie will teach you more about Dutch history and the Dutch resistance.

Cast: Jacob Derwig, Barry Atsma, Pierre Bokma, and Fockeline Ouwerkerk

Important words or quotes: 

  • NSB´er (“Dutch Nazi”)
  • Tijd om terug te vechten (“Time to fight back”)
  • Een ondergrondse bank (“An underground bank”)
  • We hebben geen andere keuze. (“We have no other choice.”)

3. Layla M

Trailer:

The story: Born and raised in Amsterdam, 18-year-old Layla is smart, stubborn, and idealistic. Struggling to fit her religious beliefs in with a society that seems increasingly intolerant of them, she’s starting to radicalize more and more, posting movies online and distributing political flyers while flirting with the charismatic Abdel. When she’s arrested together with her peaceful brother, she decides to leave her parental home. She marries Abdel and flees to Jordan.

Why it’s worth watching: This suspenseful movie shows the story of the young Layla, who struggles to fit her religious beliefs in with her place in Dutch society. It’s a good depiction of some of the current social struggles of the Netherlands related to integration, migration, and discrimination.

Cast: Nora El Koussour, Ilias Addab, and Hassan Akkouch

Important words or quotes: 

  • Radicaliseren (“To radicalize”)
  • Waarom ben je altijd zo boos? (“Why are you always so angry?”)
  • Zie de Koran als een geheel. (“See the Quran as a whole.”)
  • Je bent mijn dochter niet meer. (“You’re not my daughter anymore.”)

Want to watch a Dutch movie in the cinema? Have a look at these useful words and phrases for going to the movies.
Do you think you’ll need a little help with your listening comprehension? Learn here how to improve your listening skills.

Top Verbs

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

A Woman Shushing Someone in a Movie Theater

Sit back, be quiet, and observe that Dutch movie.

In this guide, we’ve given you an overview of the best Dutch movies so that you can boost your Dutch knowledge while having fun. You’ve also learned that you can find these (and many other) Dutch movies on Netflix, NPO, RTL X, or YouTube. Get hooked, sit back, observe, and learn many new Dutch words, how to use them, and cultural insights with these popular Dutch-language movies.

Which of these movies are you most excited to watch, and why? Are there any good ones we missed? 

Would you like to improve your Dutch to better understand these Dutch movies? Have a look at DutchPod101’s many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings to practice your listening comprehension skills. 

Maybe you would like a private teacher? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching through our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members. Boost your Dutch with your private teacher’s interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips.

Happy learning!

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