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Dutch language

Language is always a part of any culture and Dutch language is a very important part of the culture of this country, because Dutch people are particularly fond and proud of it.

The only state language in the Netherlands is Dutch. It is an independent European language belonging to the West-German family of languages. Dutch is spoken also in Belgium (mainly in Flanders - the northern part of Belgium). In Belgium too it is a state language, as well as French and German. Moreover, part of the population of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and Surinam speak Dutch.

Despite their preference for their mother tongue, many Dutch people readily speak fluent English, German and French. In Amsterdam you hear English more often than Dutch.

Nevertheless, a knowledge of Dutch is very important for any resident of the country. It gives you social comfort, makes you feel free.

A simple grammar, Latin alphabet and a number of English and German words facilitate rapid progress.

By the way, our company helps our employees in their study of Dutch. There is a remote Dutch course as well as a system of stimulation. All that is required from you is the desire and time to explore a new language.

Dutch culture

The Netherlands have a rich cultural life. Museums, visual arts, design, architecture, music, dance, theatre, film, photography and literature are all well represented.

The country is replete with museums - there are more than 1,000, more per head of population than in any other country.

Generally one could say that the Dutch excel in the visual sphere. The most well-known are, of course, the works of the Dutch masters Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, and large collections of their paintings are on exhibition within the country.

Another strong aspect of Dutch visual culture is design. Dutch design was much influenced by the De Stijl ("The Style") movement in the 1920s. This group of avant-garde painters and architects gained international fame with their use of straight lines and surfaces and primary colours. Piet Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld are the most well-known proponents of this group.

Dutch architecture is of course also highly memorable, whether the Amsterdam canals with their typical 17th century merchant houses, Amsterdam's Beurs van Berlage (a typical example of the early 20th century architecture of the "Amsterdamse School") or modern work such as the cube houses in the centre of Rotterdam.

The music scene in Holland is vibrant with music from the baroque to the avant-garde, and small and big ensembles. The Netherlands have many orchestras. One of the most famous is Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which frequently performs abroad. Opera commands healthy audiences domestically: the most well-known company is the Netherlands Opera.

The Netherlands have a relatively small but varied film industry. In addition to about 20 feature films a year, many documentaries and animated films are made. These productions regularly receive international acclaim (Antonia's line won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1996 as did Karakter in 1998). Some Dutch directors have made it into Hollywood - Jan de Bont and Paul Verhoeven - and some Dutch actors, such as Jeroen Krabbe and Rutger Hauer, are known to international audiences.

Not surprisingly, Dutch literature is popular in the Netherlands, and a special effort is being made to introduce Dutch literature to an international readership. Special subsidies are available for translation. In recent decades literature from writers such as Harry Mulish, Cees Nooteboom and Hella Haasse has gained world recognition.

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