‘Amsterdam second largest anglophone city’


According to business facilitator Iamsterdam, the high level of English proficiency in the Netherlands is only surpassed by that of Norway’s. All the Norwegians I have ever met speak English, even foreign national Norwegians.

The Netherlands ranks second in a proficiency index carried out, reflecting the fact that almost the entire Dutch population speaks English, especially in the greater Amsterdam area, a fact attributed to all the foreigners living there.

Some 80% of the workforce speaks English, making Amsterdam the largest anglophone city in continental Europe. Some 90% percent of the workforce speaks two or more languages.

To all the blind policy makers that keep saying you need Dutch to get a job in the Netherlands: it’s not true: thousands of expats, foreign nationals and immigrants live and work for years without learning proper Dutch and do just fine, whether you like that or not.

(Link: iamsterdam, Photo taken from Dunglish, a site with Dutch-English mistakes)


  1. Ronald says:

    Well, but the level of English spoken in Amsterdam is really deplorable. Not good enough. And you literally fall over advertising signs in the streets of Amsterdam full of mistakes in English. Or they use English and Dutch in the same phrase.

  2. mare says:

    One of the reasons English speaking foreigners have to work in English, and limit their range of available jobs, is that it’s almost impossible to learn Dutch when you speak with an English accent. All the Dutch native speakers will change to “English” even if you say you want to practise your Dutch.
    I have several friends in the Netherlands complaining about this. They still, after many years of courses and despite being married to Dutch(wo)men —the horizontal method of learning a language—, don’t speak Dutch very well.

  3. magnus says:

    I just can’t stand the nagging. Ronald, at least they are doing their best.

    Mare: Have you asked yourself if it is just because they are lazy or plain stupid?

  4. sacredfig says:

    While you can get by without a scrap of Dutch in Amsterdam, a great number of companies in their job postings do ask explicitly for the ability to speak and read/write in Dutch. And when you get outside of the Randstad, there is a greater percentage of everyday interactions that tends to happen in Dutch.
    I think the good thing about many Dutch people being anglophones is that it gives non-dutch-speakers at least a beginning, a bridge into Dutch life. Personally, I am only too happy to have a Dutch person speak to me in English, and over in the eastern part of the country, these are very people who are then able to help me add to my dutch vocabulary by teaching me many new dutch words.

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