Answers from Our Experts (1)
Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and the most widely spoken language in Amsterdam. However, the Dutch are exposed to English from a young age, via imported television shows and films which are rarely dubbed, and at school. As a result, most Amsterdammers speak fluent English.
Many public and municipal services are geared towards international visitors and residents. The majority of official websites have an English version, and signs and announcements on public transport are usually in both Dutch and English. Consequently, you don’t need to speak any Dutch for a visit to Amsterdam—unless you particularly want to. There are numerous (free) online courses with audio clips to help you learn the basics.
Dutch is a West Germanic language and, although the pronunciation is sometimes quite different, German speakers will recognize the German roots. Dutch has also assimilated various French and English terms. Listen to an average conversation in a cafe and you should quickly be able to identify plenty of familiar words, including "menu," "koffie," “telefoon” and “computer.”