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Although Dutch people usually mean well, foreign expats living in the Netherlands often get tired of being spoken to in English, even when they themselves begin the conversation in Dutch!
Everyone knows that the best way to learn a new language is by practicing the spoken word as often as possible, yet many foreigners living in the Netherlands complain bitterly that, as so many Dutch people prefer to speak to them in English, they rarely get the opportunity to do so. Which is why the International Club The Hague has resorted to producing badges with the words “Speak Dutch with me!” that foreign expats can pin to their lapels in the hope that it will encourage more people to speak Dutch with them.
If you regularly experience this same situation and don’t have the benefit of such a badge, then you can always try politely asking people to converse with you in Dutch, explaining that you’d like to enjoy some practice. Make sure that it is an appropriate moment to do so, however, and not for example in a busy bar where many people are waiting to be served their favourite Dutch beer or there’s so much noise that you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone what the bartender is saying!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?