Tired of unwanted presents? Maybe you should ask for Dutch lessons. DutchNews.nl talks to Dutch language school Taalthuis about the courses they are gift-wrapping this season.
The pretty lights, the mulled wine, the parties… there’s so much to enjoy at this time of year. But there’s also so much to do, like making a gift list and going shopping. So why not make it easy for your friends and family by asking for Dutch lessons?
Dutch language school Taalthuis, which has been helping internationals get to grips with Dutch since 2006, has put together a range of online gift packages so you can ask for what you really want this holiday season. Each lesson bundle includes some tasty treats and comes gift-wrapped and tied up with a ribbon.
Lessons are a popular gift, says Claire Meens, Taalthuis’s content marketeer. ‘We get a lot of calls from parents-in-law who live in Holland wanting information about a course for their son or daughter’s partner, so they can learn Dutch although they live abroad. And we often get grandparents who want to buy lessons for their grandchildren.’
Asking for lessons, says Meens, is a great way to avoid unwanted presents. ‘The no.1 gift in the Netherlands is a book of some sort – whether you asked for it or not, so that might be a mis-match. And then there’s socks, warm furry slippers and pyjamas… and you really don’t want your in-laws to pick out your pyjamas!’
Gift options start at €75 and include a choice of online classes for beginners (A1) to advanced (C1) learners, conversation classes, and courses designed especially for au pairs and for children.
For ultimate flexibility, opt for a self-study programme (lesson and grammar books included); or if you prefer a more guided approach, sign up for a fully supported course. You can also contact Taalthuis to arrange in-person classes at their locations in Amersfoort (Incompany only) Amsterdam, Den Bosch, The Hague (Incompany only), Haarlem, Hilversum, Leiden and Utrecht.
Feel at home
It’s a gift that might not be gourmet or glamorous, but the benefits of improving your Dutch are wide-ranging. ‘When you speak the language you feel more at home,’ says Tess Schuurman-Visser, marketing manager for Taalthuis. ‘So if you’re new in a family, the quickest way to feel more at home is to start speaking some Dutch, to understand what they are talking about over Christmas dinner! And it’s a great New Year’s resolution as well.’
Dutch lessons are also a great way to make new friends, adds Meens. ‘You meet new people who are in the same boat as you are and are getting to know the culture as well, the quirky things the Dutch do! Not only the language, but the customs and the way we celebrate things. Your teacher can explain things that you might find weird or different and answer any questions on cultural differences.’
And outside the lessons, your social life benefits too, improving your connection to the people around you. ‘It’s a snowball effect,’ explains Meens. ‘Once you start learning the language, you’ll be able to broaden your circle of friends.’ And if your partner is Dutch, the relationship will benefit too. ‘It gives you a greater insight into the culture your partner has grown up in,’ she adds.
Needless to say, speaking Dutch will earn points with the in-laws, too. Returning the unwanted pyjamas they bought you will of course do the opposite.
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