Have you noticed that sometimes it seems that there is no real relation between learning Dutch and speaking Dutch? If so, then congratulations! You’ve already made your first step towards Dutch fluency. Albert Both from Talencoach explains.

You got a very important insight now: learning Dutch and speaking Dutch for real can be completely two different things. So, what do you do if you have been learning Dutch and you want to make that switch to speaking Dutch? Here are some tricks that could help.

Three questions to help your DutchLet’s start with a simple test. Below are three questions in Dutch; how easy is it for you to answer these questions? Could you answer them in Dutch?

Kom je uit Nederland? Spreek je Nederlands? Wil je seks met een krokodil? Hopefully, you found the first two questions easy to answer. The first question means “Are you from the Netherlands?” which you can answer ja if yes and nee if no. Question two means “Do you speak Dutch?” which you can also answer with ja or nee.

But how did you find the third question? It should be easy to understand, right? Do you want (or would you like) to have sex with a crocodile? Believe it or not, this question is also very easy to answer. If you like the idea, you say ja, if you don’t want to have sex with a crocodile, then you simply say nee.

However, here is the funny thing, many people would have difficulties answering the third question. Would that also be the case for you? The question then is: why? Why is the third question more difficult?

You might argue that “Kom je uit Nederland?” and “Spreek je Nederlands?” are questions that you’ll hear often in the Netherlands. I must admit that no one has ever asked me “Wil je seks met een krokodil?” However, that is not the point; the question is: can you be flexible with your mind? Can you think outside the box and know what to say when you hear a question that you do not expect?

Learning Dutch doesn’t have to be so seriousThe sad truth is that most people are too serious when they learn a new language. They study “staged” dialogues and commit extensive vocabulary lists to memory. Although these might seem like great ideas, the positive effect is often quite insignificant. Hopefully, you’ve already discovered the simple truth: speaking a new language has nothing to do with parroting some sentences and words that you memorised by heart once upon a time.

Dutch fluency is all about flexibility, fun, freedom and playfulness; the ability to talk about anything you like, even when it is about sex with a crocodile. If you’d like to become fluent fast, then you need to talk a lot of nonsense first. I like to call this DFBS: the Dutch Fluency Bullshit Technique.

So once, again, what could you say if someone asks you, “Wil je seks met een krokodil?” Here are a couple of options:

Nee! Nee! Dat is risicovol! Een krokodil bijt! Ja. Ik vind seks met een krokodil lekker Ja… Seks met een krokodil is een wild en fantastisch avontuur! Whether you want to have sex with a crocodile or not, you can use questions like this to start creating your first sentences, while having outrageous fun! By the way, a lot of people believe that if you say something in Dutch, it must always be true or, at least, accurate. Luckily nothing could be further away from the truth!

If you say something in Dutch, why should it always be true and accurate? Stupid sentences are a great way to learn, as long as you apply grammar rules and new words!

Get rid of your inhibitions and start speaking Dutch for realOne of the things that stand in the way of fluency is your inhibitions. These are feelings and thoughts that slow down your progress. Your mind can have a very negative impact on your results and a lot of people are constantly worried that they are not good enough, and aren’t cut out for learning another language.

This is why feeling positive emotions is highly important when you are learning and speaking Dutch. Outrageous fun and humour can help because you stop taking yourself too seriously and can simply relax. When you make mistakes, you don’t care anymore, you just laugh like crazy and you learn from it.

Also, when you use humour, it makes you emotionally involved. All of a sudden you feel more engaged, and you feel free to experiment and play around. It becomes easy to take “risks” and you greatly enhance your learning.

Humour is the key to learningHumour is often called the highest form of intelligence and sometimes it is even called a high form of spirituality. For understanding and playing with humour, you need two things: you need to understand structure, but you need to be creative and flexible at the same time.

There is one thing that I always find when I look at most language courses: the total absence of humour. Most of the time, they are so official, boring and serious!

So why are most courses so boring and deprived of any thinkable fun? First of all, it is what most people expect. It is also the “safe” way, because if you do not use humour then you will probably not offend anyone. If you ask people if they like sex with a crocodile, then some people might be shocked. Others may feel pity for the crocodile. It could certainly lead to a heavy debate and serious people will always argue that it is not a relevant topic in daily conversations and that questions like that should not be asked.

Don’t limit yourself when learning DutchIf you look at most language courses, they are classified as A1, A2, B1, etc. If you start with A1 you will learn how to say your name, give your address and name some foods that you like. But why limit yourself? When you start from the very beginning, you can talk about anything you like. You could say for example, “Is de bitcoin een goede investering?” or “Heeft religie een positieve rol?”

From the very beginning, you can start to talk about the economy or religion. Actually, the shocking truth is that you can start your conversation about any topic that you like!

This is what can happen if you use the power of unexpected questions. There is only one thing that counts: can you quickly put a sentence together in Dutch and say it quickly? What most people don’t know is that often the topic that you talk about does not even matter. You just need to be able to put a Dutch sentence together and react fast, to any topic that comes up, and stupid questions can really help to achieve this.

Do you want to be able to express yourself freely and learn to communicate in Dutch quickly and effectively? Get in touch with Albert at [email protected] or sign up for Talencoach’s Dutch Brainwash programme – an intensive seven-day Dutch course in the centre of Amsterdam.

You can also: 

Download the e-book “3 Steps to Dutch flow” Download the e-book “Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It” Visit the website Talencoach.nl Check out the Facebook page Watch videos on YouTube All free of charge!

News

Published: 24 March 2022Modified: 31 March 2022

Do you live in Scheveningen and is household rubbish collected in garbage bags placed at kerbside? Then you can pick up free yellow garbage bags. These are extra strong which makes it more difficult for seagulls to peck them open. This way you can help to keep your neighbourhood clean.

Household rubbish is still collected in garbage bags in several streets in Scheveningen. In these streets there are no underground rubbish containers (oracs) or wheelie bins (kliko’s). There are also streets which are too narrow for garbage trucks to drive through. Seagulls sometimes tear open garbage bags placed outside for collection. Especially during the brooding season from April to August. To prevent this, residents can use the yellow garbage bags.

Pick up at neighbourhood centre You can pick up the yellow garbage bags for free at Buurtcentrum Kommunika, Jurriaan Kokstraat 177. They are available until 1 November 2022. You can pick up 1 roll per visit.

TipsSeal the yellow garbage bag tightly. Place the garbage bags at the kerb on the collection day for household waste. More information You can find more information on the page What you can do against pesky seagulls. There you can also find a list of all the locations where residents of The Hague can pick up yellow garbage bags. And there is a form you can use to report nuisance by seagulls.

Crown Relocations has put together their top questions for you to consider before relocating internationally with the furry members of your family.

Can my pet physically handle the move?If your pet is not considered a service animal, and if you are travelling by air, they will likely be transported in the pet cargo portion of the plane. These areas are temperature regulated but can be extremely loud and stress-inducing. If your pet isn’t in the best of shape, through illness or old age, they may not be able to handle long-distance travel as well as a younger pet. Only you and your vet can make this assessment.

Have I allowed enough time to prepare for this move?The timing involved in planning your pet’s relocation depends on the destination. Many pet relocation companies generally require at least 30 days’ notice to arrange your pet’s travel plans, due to the availability of flights and vaccination or quarantine requirements.

For some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, the wait time can be much longer, so it is best to plan your pet’s move at least six to seven months ahead of time.

Is my pet eligible to travel to my destination?Rules vary, so check the animal import laws of your destination country. Some countries don’t allow certain species, some breeds are banned from entering certain regions, and some regulations depend on the country of origin, for example.

Be aware of all the relevant regulations – not only import restrictions, but also required documents and vaccinations, quarantine periods, microchip requirements, etc. This allows you to make an informed decision about your pet.

Is the duration of my move worth the hassle to myself and my pet?If you’re only relocating for a short time, it might be worth it to recruit a friend or family member to look after your pet while you are away. Although it’s always hard to be away from your furry companion, this option could save you time and money and could save your pet the stress of travelling.

If it makes sense for you to bring your pet, the recommendation is always to start the planning process as soon as possible.

Does my pet need a passport?If you’re moving to Europe, you’re going to need a pet passport (almost all countries in the world accept a pet passport). This passport details all the vaccinations and treatments your pet has received and includes a description of your animal friend and your name and contact information. To secure a pet passport, you need to prove your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated for rabies. Your vet should be able to issue your pet passport.

In addition to a passport, it is important that you obtain an international health certificate for your pet. An international health certificate for your pet is critical if you plan to take your pet abroad, and usually includes the name of the pet, age, country of origin, breed, and colour, as well as the owner’s name, contact information, and address.

Some non-English speaking countries also require that the health certificate be translated into the language of that country.

Are there global standards for pet relocations?Most reputable pet relocation companies are members of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).

IPATA is an organisation of pet transportation professionals: local pet taxis and veterinarians, major corporations, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. Because of IPATA’s standards for membership, affiliates can safely coordinate door-to-door service for the most precious of cargo: our pets!

International requirements vary from country to country, so working with a quality pet relocations company that is up to date on the latest import requirements is critical.

What are some restrictions on importing pets?Certain countries restrict the types of animals that can be imported and exported. For example, Switzerland does not allow animals with docked ears and tails into the country without proof that the owner of the pet is moving to Switzerland.

Import and export policies get thorny when dealing with exotic pets, such as wild birds protected by international trade laws. This is due to the fact that, if the owner ever needs to move the pet again, they need to demonstrate that the animal was brought into the country legally.

Your pet, safely at your new homeAfter all the stress of moving, pet owners are happiest when their pet arrives safely at their new home. Through careful planning and open communication with a pet relocation agency, your pet will travel safely, soundly, and in accordance with the laws of your new home. Pet owners around the world will agree; their house is not a home until their best friend is resting beside them.

Moving can be both exciting and daunting. Crown Relocations has been helping people relocate internationally for over fifty years, offering support for all the logistical and emotional needs of you and those moving with you. Download their guide to help you relocate with confidence, so you can start living as soon as you arrive. 

News

Published: 20 August 2021Modified: 14 September 2021

The Utrechtsebaan (A12) will undergo major maintenance. The planned roadworks are perhaps raising specific questions among people who live in the area or who use the road. For this reason the municipality is organising a residents’ evening for anybody who is interested. It will be a digital meeting. It will take place on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 at 19.00 hrs. You can take part through Microsoft Teams.

During the meeting the participants will get information about the roadworks, the schedule and diversions. They will also be able to ask questions. They can do this through the chat function during the meeting. People can also ask their questions in advance by sending an email to utrechtsebaan@denhaag.nl. The most important and most frequently asked questions will be answered during the meeting. The other questions will receive a personal follow-up by email. Please include your email address if you ask a question in the chat.  

Everyone who is interested in attending this evening is welcome. You can participate via a link. The link will be published on this page by Wednesday, 15 September. The meeting will be recorded. You will be able to watch the meeting afterwards using the same link.  

Take part in the meeting on 15 September

About the UtrechtsebaanThe Utrechtsebaan is the sunken portion of the A12 motorway between the municipal boundary with Voorburg and the Zuid-Hollandlaan in the centre of The Hague. Approximately 60,000 vehicles use this major access road to the city centre each day. Maintenance of the road is needed to ensure that The Hague remains accessible in the future.

Also see: Utrechtsebaan roadworks