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Learning Dutch is notoriously difficult, which is why it’s so important to make it fun. Each of the four Dutch language games below, which can be played with family, friends and colleagues, and are particularly suitable for children, are guaranteed to make learning the Dutch language an absolute pleasure. And they’re equally helpful for those Dutch emigrants who’re getting a little rusty too!
Letterslang (literally, letter snake)
In this game the first player names a typical Dutch word, such as “hagelslag” (Dutch chocolate sprinkles). The next player now has to name a new Dutch word that begins with the letter that the previous word ended with, such as “geitenkaas” (goat’s cheese) in this example. If you’re unable to think of a new word within 20 seconds then you’re out. The last one left in the group is the winner. You can make this game more difficult by only allowing words that fall into specific categories, such as typical Dutch products and dishes or Dutch place names.
The first player thinks of a Dutch word, such as “stroop” (syrup). The next player must then come up with a word that rhymes with it, such as “knoop” (button). If successful, that player may now put forward a new word for the subsequent player. You can make this game harder by giving points for every rhyming word a participant can think of. The person that finds the greatest number of rhyming words, wins the round.
Sprookje vertellen (telling fairy tales)
In this game, which is more suitable for those with at least an intermediate level of Dutch, the players work together to create a typical Dutch fairy-tale. For example, the first player begins with “Er was eens een prinsesje”, which translates as, “once upon a time there was a princess.” The next player follows with something like, “en die hield van ontbijtkoek”, which means “and she loved Dutch breakfast cake.” The nice thing about this game is that there are an infinite number of twists and turns, resulting in a totally unique story every time.
Geen ja/nee zeggen (avoiding the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’)
This might sound extremely easy, but it’s actually more difficult than you think. Grab a stopwatch and, as soon as you ask a participant their first question, turn it on. They must reply to your question in Dutch, and without using the words “ja” or “nee”. As soon as they do, stop the stopwatch and record their time. To make things even trickier, try banning filler words, such as um, uh or er.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants.