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Animal Lovers Unite! World Animal Day in the Netherlands.

If you have a pet, I’m willing to bet you think of them as part of your family

You spend quality time with them, feed them from your plate sometimes, and let them get away with things the rest of your family can’t. 

Pets are an integral part of life for many people in the Netherlands, and this is reflected in Dutchies’ participation in World Animal Day. In this article, you’ll learn how this holiday got started, how people celebrate it, and more. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is World Animal Day?

A Group of Animals

Wereld dierendag (“World Animal Day”) got its unofficial start in 1925, when Heinrich Zimmermann proposed a date to focus on the welfare of animals. Originally, he wanted this holiday to take place on the feast day of Franciscus van Assisi (“Saint Francis of Assisi“), on October 4. However, due to a lack of available venues, the very first celebration took place in March. Zimmermann continued to promote the October 4 holiday until 1931, when World Animal Day became official.

Each year on October 4, World Animal Welfare Day sees some serious devotion from the Netherlands. 

This is an international feestdag (“holiday”) dedicated to improving the lives of animals everywhere. As stated on the official website, participation can take numerous forms depending on the country and the status of each participating individual. However, there is a singular World Animal Day theme each year to help unite the animal-loving community in their goals. In 2020, the theme will be “Man and Dog.”

Today, we’ll focus on what World Animal Day looks like in the Netherlands.

2. World Animal Day Celebrations 

A Dog and a Cat Against a White Background

Dutchies love their animals! In the Netherlands, the majority of households have at least one huisdier (“pet”). Cats, dogs, fish…the list goes on. This makes World Animal Day a big deal here.

The most common World Animal Day activities are those that include pampering one’s pets. People may take their dog for a nice, long walk through a forest, or let them roam free in an open field or park. Cats may get extra cuddles or treats, and maybe even some time outdoors. People who are really ready to splurge may buy their pets special treats, such as a beer designed for animals, slobber juice, or even a day at a pet spa.

Sometimes, people will set up their own events for the holiday, usually aimed at promoting voorkomen van dierenmishandeling (“prevention of cruelty to animals”). These may include speeches, fundraisers, or educational events to guide people on how to improve animals’ lives. It’s not uncommon for restaurants or businesses to get in on the action, too: for example, in 2012, an Amsterdam restaurant held a vegetarian meal special for World Animal Day.

    → October is such a great time to head outdoors with your furry friend. Great weather, beautiful scenery… Why not learn the Must-Know Autumn Vocabulary to make the most of it? 😉

How to Celebrate World Animal Day Yourself

World Animal Day is more popular in some countries than in others. If you want to participate, but don’t know how, keep reading.

If you have a pet, the easiest thing you can do is make the day special for them. If you have the time and means, your dog, cat, or even rodent, may love some supervised outdoor time out in the countryside or in a large park. Treats, cuddles, and toys are always welcome, too. Do you have a pet that’s less resilient to the outdoors or not as…cuddly? There are plenty of ways you can pamper them, too! 

Even if you don’t have a pet, you can still participate in making the world a better place for animals. If you’re not sure where to start, the official World Animal Day website has some practical ideas for you!

3. Most Popular Pets in the Netherlands

You know that Dutchies love their pets, but do you know which one is most popular?

As of 2019, cats were the most popular pet in the Netherlands, with around twenty-seven percent of households owning at least one cat. It’s estimated that the Netherlands is home to around three million pet felines! 

Dogs were the second-most-common pet, with roughly twenty percent of households owning a dog. 

4. Essential Vocabulary for World Animal Day

A Veterinarian Checking a Dog’s Heart Rate

Let’s review some of the Dutch vocabulary words from this article! 

  • Dier (“Animal”) — noun, neuter
  • Feestdag (“Holiday”) — noun, feminine
  • Huisdier (“Pet”) — noun, neuter
  • Oktober (“October”) — noun, masculine
  • Wereld dierendag (“World Animal Day”) — noun, masculine
  • Activisme (“Activism”) — noun, neuter
  • Dierenarts (“Veterinarian”) — noun, feminine
  • Franciscus van Assisi (“Saint Francis of Assisi”) — masculine
  • Recht (“Right”) — noun, neuter
  • Voorkomen van dierenmishandeling (“Prevention of cruelty to animals”) 
  • Dierenrechten (“Animal right”)

Remember that you can find each of these words and their pronunciation on our World Animal Day vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

Is World Animal Day as popular in your country as it is in the Netherlands? If so, what are your favorite ways to celebrate? Do you have any World Animal Day ideas we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments! 

We hope we encouraged you to take part in this fun but important holiday this year, and that you have a better idea of Dutch culture. If you would like to learn even more, see the following blog posts on DutchPod101.com:

If you’re serious about learning Dutch, create your free lifetime account today. You’ll be speaking Dutch in minutes and fluent before you know it, thanks to our fun and effective lessons for learners at every level. We hope to see you around. 😉

Happy World Animal Day from the DutchPod101 team! 

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning


Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Dutch quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Dutch tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. DutchPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

A woman studying at home

Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Dutch teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by DutchPod101.com in Dutch Language, Dutch Online, Feature Spotlight, Learn Dutch, Site Features, Speak Dutch, Team DutchPod101

Pasan: Celebrating Easter Monday in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Easter Monday is a public holiday, celebrated just as much as—if not more than—Easter Sunday. The Dutch celebrate this major religious holiday with a range of fun and adventurous traditions, some of which you may be familiar with!

In this article, you’ll learn about Easter in the Netherlands, how it’s celebrated, and gain some new vocabulary while you’re at it. Let’s get started.

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1. What is Easter Monday?

On Easter, Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion. According to Christian belief, he died to take on the sins of the world and then resurrected to prove his triumph over death.

Easter Monday is the day following the actual Easter holiday. In the Netherlands, Easter Monday is a continued celebration of Easter Sunday, with lots of fun and unique traditions, beginning on Carnival Day, before Lent.

2. When is Easter Monday in the Netherlands?

A Calendar Marking Monday

The date of Easter Monday varies from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: April 13
  • 2021: April 5
  • 2022: April 18
  • 2023: April 10
  • 2024: April 1
  • 2025: April 21
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: March 29
  • 2028: April 17
  • 2029: April 2

3. Easter Celebrations in the Netherlands

Painted Easter Eggs with Spring Flowers

Aside from the holiday’s religious meaning, family (familie) is a major aspect of how people in the Netherlands celebrate Easter. Children enjoy going on an Easter egg (paasei) hunt, indulging in sweet treats, and painting their own Easter eggs, much like they do in the United States. On Easter Monday, children also participate in other egg-related games; one such game is an egg-cracking competition, also called an eiertikken contest.

Entire families or groups of friends may also have a good time going to the beach (strand) or out shopping (winkelen) for Easter deals. Easter markets in the Netherlands often sell chocolates, Easter eggs, and paint sets for children to use for egg decorating.

Dutch Easter traditions always involve a large lunch (lunchen) with friends and family. Easter food in the Netherlands is typically prepared on Easter Sunday, and leftovers are eaten on Easter Monday. Some of the most common foods include various types of bread and pastries, smoked fish, and certain breakfast items. The Dutch often grace the Easter brunch table with decorated willow branches.

Other popular Easter traditions in the Netherlands include burning bonfires, playing sports, going to amusement parks, riding bikes—basically anything that involves enjoying the great outdoors in early spring!

4. From Holland to Italy

Did you know that the Easter flowers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome are provided by Holland?

Each year at the end of his Easter speech, the Pope gives Holland a little extra attention for this reason. He says, “Thank you for the flowers,” in broken Dutch!

5. Essential Easter Monday Vocabulary

A Sandy Beach

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important vocabulary for Easter Monday!

  • Maandag (n) — “Monday”
  • Strand (n) — “Beach”
  • Pasen (n) — “Easter”
  • Druk (adj) — “Crowded”
  • Festival (n) — “Festival”
  • Familie (n) — “Family”
  • Winkelen (n) — “Shopping”
  • Amsterdam (pr. n) — “Amsterdam”
  • Lunchen (n) — “Lunch”
  • Paasei (n) — “Easter egg”
  • Vrije (adj) — “Free”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to visit our Dutch Easter Monday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Easter Monday in Dutch culture with us, and that you were able to take away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Easter in your country? If so, are traditions there similar or pretty different from those in the Netherlands? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about Dutch culture and holidays, DutchPod101.com has you covered:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn the Dutch language or immerse yourself in the culture, know that DutchPod101.com is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone.

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning with us. 🙂

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Prinsjesdag: Prince’s Day in the Netherlands

Each year, the Netherlands observes Prinsjesdag, or “Prince’s Day.” Because this is the day the country officials go over the country’s budget proposals and new bills, many people also call this “Budget Day.” In the Netherlands, Prince’s Day is also a special day of celebration, and is the only time many people will ever see the Golden Carriage (which we’ll talk more about later).

In the learning about Prince’s Day, you’ll also gain insight into certain aspects of the culture in the Netherlands. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, this is a vital step in mastering any language. DutchPod101.com can make this part of the learning process both fun and informative!

Let’s get started with a little more about what Prince Day is.

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1. What is Prince’s Day in the Netherlands?

On Prince’s Day, Netherlands’ King gives the “Speech from the Throne,” or Troonrede Prinsjesdag, and the Minister of Finance presents the national budget proposal in a special briefcase to the Dutch House of Representatives. The national budget and the budget memorandum for the new year consist of new bills. Before ratification, these are debated in advance in the House and Senate.

The famous briefcase the Minister of Finance uses to submit the budget memorandum has been in existence since 1947. The Minister of Finance at the time, Lieftinck, wanted to make Prince’s Day a little snazzier and decided to carry the documents with him in a classy briefcase. This practice remained customary for ten years until Minister Hofstra broke tradition, carrying the national budget with him in his bag. This didn’t sit well with many students, and they decided to just offer up a small briefcase to the Minister himself. The briefcase the Minister uses now has been in use since 1964.

2. When is Prince Day?

Prince's Day is in September

Each year, the Dutch celebrate Prince’s Day on the third Tuesday in September. For your convenience, we’ve composed a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: September 17
  • 2020: September 15
  • 2021: September 21
  • 2022: September 20
  • 2023: September 19
  • 2024: September 17
  • 2025: September 16
  • 2026: September 15
  • 2027: September 21
  • 2028: September 19

Earlier in history, around 1850, Prince’s Day fell on the third Monday in September, but since that meant some legislators had to leave on a Sunday, the date was moved to a Tuesday, thus the current date of the third Tuesday in September.

3. Prince’s Day Traditions

The Hague

Prince’s Day is the only day the Golden Carriage ever ventures out. The Golden Carriage stays put almost the entire year in the Royal Stables behind the Noordeinde Palace (North-end Palace) in The Hague. Prince’s Day is the only day the carriage is permitted to venture out, traveling only a few miles to the Binnenhof parliamentary complex of the States-General and back.

Only with rare exception is it possible to view the Golden Carriage up close. The Golden Carriage was once on display for all to admire up close at an exhibit in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, but this exhibit was only there for a year.

Of course, Prince’s Day is also famous for the King’s speech and the fancy briefcase mentioned earlier.

4. Long Live the King

Do you know what famous phrase ends the King’s annual speech?

After the Speech from the Throne is delivered, the president of the Senate presiding over the Joint Session shouts “Long live the King!” to which everyone else in attendance responds, “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

After that, the King leaves the hall for the Queen’s Chamber in the adjacent room.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Prince’s Day

A Carriage

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Prince’s Day!

  • Hoed — “Hat
  • Dinsdag — “Tuesday”
  • Paleis — “Palace”
  • Politiek — “Politics”
  • September — “September”
  • Prinsjesdag — “Prince’s Day”
  • Miljoenennota — “State’s budget”
  • Troonrede — “Queen’s speech”
  • Koningin — “Queen”
  • Beleid — “Policy”
  • Volkslied — “National Anthem
  • Minister — “Minister”
  • Regering — “Government”
  • Gouden koets — “Golden carriage”
  • Grondwet — “Constitution”
  • Koets — “Carriage”

To hear the pronunciation of each vocabulary word, check out our Dutch Prince’s Day vocabulary list!

Let DutchPod101 be Your Guide to the Dutch Language

What are your thoughts on the Prince Day Netherlands holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Dutch culture and the Dutch language, explore DutchPod101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts on a range of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a variety of topics and themes
  • Podcasts to improve your listening and pronunciation skills
  • Mobile apps to learn Dutch anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

If you’re interested in a one-on-one approach to learning Dutch, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own Dutch teacher who will help you put together a personal learning plan based on your needs and goals. Yes, really!

Becoming truly fluent in any language is no easy task, but know that you can get there! And DutchPod101 will be here with you on each step of your language-learning journey.

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The Best Dutch TV Shows and Series to Boost Your Dutch


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could improve your Dutch sitting on the couch watching TV? Yes, learning Dutch can really be this fun. If you combine watching Dutch language TV shows with a Dutch language course, you can greatly improve your understanding of the language.

Luckily for you, there are many Dutch TV shows to watch, in every genre—Dutch comedy TV shows, cartoons on the Nickelodeon Dutch TV channel, crime series, Dutch reality shows, and more. There’s really something for everyone, and for every learner regardless of their current skill level.

In this article, we’ll first explain how watching Dutch TV can boost your Dutch. After that, we’ll give you tips on where to watch Dutch TV series. And last but definitely not least, we’ll give you a selection of the best Dutch TV shows and series.


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Table of Contents

  1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch TV Shows Will Help You Learn Dutch
  2. How Can You Watch the Most Popular Dutch TV Shows and Series?
  3. 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 TV Shows Will Help You Learn Dutch

It almost sounds too good to be true: learning a language while watching TV. Luckily, it’s really true. Here’s why watching TV shows in Dutch will really help you improve your language skills.

1. It lets you sit back and observe

In real Dutch conversations, you don’t have the time to sit back, observe, and think about what the other speaker is saying. Luckily, Dutch TV shows can provide you with this learning opportunity. You can just sit back, watch the shows, see how the speakers are using certain words, and expand your vocabulary. Is there something you don’t understand? Take some notes and look it up later.

2. It allows you to see the Dutch culture in action

Flags with Dutch Republic Lion

To be able to speak Dutch, you need to know the vocabulary. However, that’s not enough.

You also need to know something about the Dutch people and how they use their language. You need to become familiar with the Dutch culture.

A great way to immerse yourself into the Dutch culture is by watching Dutch TV (especially if you’re not in the Netherlands while learning the language). It’s a fun way to learn the nuances of the Dutch language, and how turns of phrase can communicate different meanings.

3. It stimulates multiple senses

When you watch Dutch television series, multiple senses will be stimulated simultaneously (your eyes and your ears). This stimulation of multiple senses is a great way to make connections between sounds and images.

If someone is talking about a cake on Dutch TV while showing it to the camera, your brain connects the image with the sounds. And voila, you’ve actually learned and retained the new word.

4. It’s entertaining

Have Fun While Learning Dutch

Learning a language may sometimes get a bit dull, so try to spice things up with fun learning activities. We all prefer to do things that are fun. When something is fun, you stick to it.

So when you get hooked on a new favorite Dutch TV show, you’ll really make an effort to keep on watching it and trying to understand it.

2. How Can You Watch the Most Popular Dutch TV Shows and Series?

There are several different ways to watch Dutch TV shows internationally, wherever you are:

  • Satellite TV: You can watch Dutch TV abroad on your television by getting a subscription to Dutch satellite television channels (such as the Nickelodeon Dutch TV channel). You can also watch one of the Dutch free-to-air satellite television channels.
  • NPO: You can watch many of the shows from 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 see a nice selection of the best Dutch TV shows.
  • RTL: This is a Dutch Commercial Network with five different channels: RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8, and RTL Z. You can watch several of their Dutch TV shows online on RTL XL.
  • BVN: This abbreviation means het Beste van Vlaanderen en Nederland (“the Best of Flanders and the Netherlands”). BVN Dutch TV promotes itself as the only Dutch-language public TV channel abroad. You can watch it for free, from anywhere in the world, twenty-four hours a day. You can watch it online, via satellite, or via the BVN Dutch TV app.
  • Netflix: The collection here may not be extensive, but Netflix does have some Dutch series and movies. However, keep in mind that Netflix localizes the content according to your location, so you may see a limited selection if you’re not in the Netherlands.
  • YouTube: You can find some Dutch TV shows and series on YouTube, from classic Dutch shows to more recent ones. The offering is quite extensive, but it’s hard to find a whole series of a Dutch TV show on YouTube.

3. For Beginners

Let’s have a look at some great Dutch TV shows for beginners. These are an excellent source of entertainment and will help you continue to build a strong language foundation.

1. Buurman en Buurman

Buurman en Buurman ( “Neighbor and Neighbor” ) is a Czechoslovakian animated show about two clumsy but resourceful neighbors. In each episode, the neighbors do chores, but this often goes completely wrong in a humorous way. Because of the easy language and dry humor, it’s fun for children and adults. The voices in this Dutch version are provided by Kees Prins and Siem van Leeuwen.

    → This show is in Dutch, but the catchphrase “a je to!” is in Czech. It means “And that’s it!” and the characters say this after their chores are “done.” So don’t confuse this phrase with Dutch.

2. NOS Jeugdjournaal

NOS jeugdjournaal ( “NOS Youth Journal” ) is a Dutch television news program for children. It has a daily evening program, running every night for twenty minutes on NPO 3, as well as a short program in the morning during the week.

The Jeugdjournaal presents real news in language that young viewers can understand. Furthermore, the presenters and reporters speak very clearly. This makes it one of the best Dutch TV programs for beginners.

3. Time to Dance

Did you know that the Dutch have created some of the most famous talent shows worldwide? One of these great talent shows is Time to Dance. This talent show searches for the best dance talent in the Netherlands. Not much is said but a lot is felt, and watching this Netherlands TV show is a great way to understand Dutch emotions.

The expert jury, which consists of Dan Karaty, Robin Martens, and Gianinni Semedo Moreira, judge individual dancers, duos, and groups, on their dance talent. The show has had one season on RTL 4.

Here are a couple of phrases you’ll hear often on this show:

    30 seconden om te laten zien wat je kan. ( “30 seconds to show what you can do.” )
    Je krijgt maar één kans! ( “You only get one chance!” )

4. Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden

Goede Tijde, Slechte Tijden ( “Good Times, Bad Times” ), also called GTST, is the most famous Dutch soap opera. As it should be, this series is full of drama and therefore very addictive. We think this is one of the best TV shows for learning Dutch because you’ll soon be hooked on the story, which revolves around family, friendship, love, and deceit.

The language is clear and the topics aren’t that complicated, making it great for Dutch beginners. The GTST cast has many famous actors, such as Caroline de Bruijn, Erik de Vogel, Marly van der Velden, and Ferry Doedens. The show runs from Monday to Friday at eight p.m. on RTL 4.

4. For Intermediate Learners

Now we’ll continue with some of the top Dutch TV shows for intermediate learners.

1. Ik vertrek

This television program follows Dutch families as they journey abroad. They move to another country where they, for example, start a hotel or restaurant. And as you can imagine, a move like this is not without struggles—but that’s also what makes the program fun.

The participants may sometimes have quite a dialect, making their speech difficult to understand. However, once abroad, they’ll also speak English, French, German, or whatever the language of their new country is. Who knows, you might even find an episode where a Dutch family is moving to your country.

Here are some phrases you’ll hear often throughout the show:

    Nou, houdoe hè. ( “Well, goodbye.” )
              ● Houdoe is only used in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Hier komt de badkamer…. ( “The bathroom will be here…” )
    Welkom in Frankrijk! ( “Welcome to France!” )

2. Toon

A little while ago, Netflix got a new Dutch TV show: Toon. This is one of the best funny Dutch TV shows of recent times.

Toon is about a hesitant composer of advertising jingles. The show begins with Toon (played by Joep Vermolen) coming home to find that his sister has organized a surprise party. Toon just wants a quiet evening, but people ask him to play something on his guitar. Toon sings a song suggesting that his guests shouldn’t stay too long at his party. The song is recorded with a cell phone and ends up on YouTube. The next day, the song has been watched by more than one million people and Toon is famous.

Toon is an easy and funny show that reflects Dutch humor. Therefore, it’s a perfect way for the intermediate learner to get to know the Dutch culture.

Here are some common phrases that come up in the show:

    Wanneer ga jij een liedje spielen? (“When will you play a song?” )
    Het onverwachte succes van uber loser Toon. ( “Big loser Toon’s unexpected success.” )
    Iedereen wil je hebben Toon. (“Everyone wants to have you, Toon.” )

3. Moordvrouw

In the police show Moordvrouw (Literally “Murder Woman,” but it refers to a woman who’s really amazing or beautiful), a detective team in the province of Friesland solves murder cases.

The main character Fenna Kremer, played by famous actress Wendy van Dijk, is a scattered and impulsive police inspector who tries to solve special cases with her colleagues. Other famous actors in the cast are Renée Soutendijk, Thijs Römer, and Porgy Franssen.

This is considered one of the best Dutch crime TV shows, sure to have you hooked. The clear language also makes it perfect for intermediate Dutch learners.

Here’s some vocabulary to get you started:

    We zijn een team. ( “We are a team.” )
    U lapt het recht aan uw laars, mevrouw Kremer. ( “You ignore the law, Mrs. Kramer.” )
              ● Literally: “You patch up the law onto your boot, Mrs. Kramer.”

4. Penoza

The exciting drama series Penoza gives you insight into the Dutch organized crime scene.

Penoza tells the story of Carmen van Walraven (played by the great actress Monic Hendrickx), who finds out that her husband plays a very important role in the organized crime world. She forces him to stop; however, he is suddenly liquidated. Carmen then suffers from all kinds of threats, after which she chooses her one way out: she works toward the top of organized crime.

This TV show ran for several seasons on NPO3 and even has a movie. It’s definitely the kind of show that will get you hooked, and you’ll work hard to try and understand everything. Luckily, the language is clear and sometimes mixed with some English and Spanish.

    Weet je wel wie je beschermt? ( “Do you know who you are protecting?” )
    Ik ga mijn familie niet verraden. ( “I’m not going to betray my family.” )

5. For Advanced Learners

Let’s now see the more advanced stuff. These are the best TV shows to learn Dutch if you already have some knowledge and experience under your belt.

1. Zondag met Lubach

Zondag met Lubach (“Sunday with Lubach” ) is a late-night show with Arjen Lubach as the bold and thorough host. From behind his desk, Arjen reads the news from the past week in a satirical and playful way. He does this on the basis of excerpts from the media from the previous week.

Watch this show to learn more about the culture and dry humor of the Dutch. It may be a bit hard to understand sometimes, as it often refers to the Dutch culture and current affairs. But if you understand it as an advanced Dutch learner, you’ll really get to know the Netherlands better.

These are phrases you’ll hear over and over again on this show:

    Dit was zondag met Lubach. ( “This was Sunday with Lubach.” )
    Bedankt voor het kijken. ( “Thanks for watching.” )
    Tot volgende week! ( “Until next week!” )

2. De wereld draait door

In De Wereld Draait Door (“The World Goes On”), or DWDD, host Matthijs van Nieuwkerk has live conversations with well-known and less well-known guests in the fields of politics, science, sports, culture, and media. Talks can be about anything related to the news, information, or entertainment. Matthijs is always assisted by a famous co-host.

The program also devotes attention to music from the Netherlands and abroad. It’s a great way to get to know the Dutch culture. However, be aware that they can speak very quickly (especially Matthijs) and there may be references to a lot of Dutch people you don’t know.

You can watch this show every weeknight at seven p.m. on NPO1.

3. Undercover

This Dutch-Belgium production, currently on Netflix, is all about Ferry Bouman (played by Frank Lammers), one of the largest ecstasy producers in the world.

Ferry lives a dream life in a country house on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. But everything changes with the arrival of two undercover agents (played by Anna Drijver and Tom Waes) who try to disrupt Bouman’s network.

This show is full of dialects, both Dutch and Belgium, so it may be a challenge to follow along. But the show is definitely worth it.

4. De luizenmoeder

De luizenmoeder ( “The Lice Mother” ) is one of the best Dutch comedy TV shows, set at the primary school De Klimop ( “The Ivy” ).

In the show, you follow the lives of the parents and teachers of this school. The director Anton (Diederik Ebbinge), the teachers, and the parents are all quite peculiar. This Dutch TV show is a great hit in the Netherlands because of its dry humor and bizarrity.

It may be difficult sometimes to understand its weird references, but it will give you a (crazy and exaggerated) insight into how things (sometimes) work in the Netherlands.

    Dat vinden wij niet raar, dat vinden we bijzonder. ( “We don’t find that strange, we find that special.” )
    Niet meer zwaaien. ( “Don’t wave anymore.” )
    Wat is dit jammer jongens. ( “What a shame, guys.” )
    Hallo allemaal, wat fijn dat je er bent. ( “Hello everyone, how nice that you are here.” )

    → Would you prefer to see a Dutch movie? Have a look at these Useful Words and Phrases for Going to the Movies.

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Sit Back and Learn

In this guide, we’ve given you an overview of the best Dutch TV shows and series. These shows will allow you to really boost your Dutch knowledge while having fun. You’ve also learned where to find these, and many other, Dutch TV shows. Get hooked, sit back, observe, and learn many new Dutch words, word usage, and cultural insights.

Would you like to improve your Dutch to better understand these Dutch shows? Have a look at DutchPod101’s many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings. This way, you can practice your listening skills and understand the Dutch programs even more.

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

In the meantime, let us know in the comments if there are any good Dutch TV shows we didn’t include in this list! Which one do you want to watch first? We look forward to hearing from you.

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