Stepping up to a higher language level: Who pays the bill?

Are you wondering if you will ever speak proper Dutch? Especially, after the Dutch government has decided to cut back on language courses? Don’t worry. There are still many chances to follow low-priced and even free Dutch courses. And many people can get a loan and, if they pass the exam, a reimbursement.

Let’s look at a number of opportunities:

 Loans & Reimbursement

In spite of significant cutbacks since January 1, 2013, the Dutch government is still willing to support people to learn Dutch and facilitate participation in the Netherlands.

According to the DUO website, the compulsory participants (verplichte inburgeraars) have the opportunity to get a loan and to receive a reimbursement of up to 70% for the course and the exam, if they pass the exam. This means that many people only pay 30% of the total costs.

However, other rules apply to voluntary participants (vrijwillige inburgeraars). Some can have a loan, but they will not receive a reimbursement. Detailed information and the loan application form are available on the website of DUO. This site is in Dutch and contains many pages, so hopefully the above summary is of assistance when trying to find out about the conditions.

And if you need advice or support when completing the loan application form, then contact a language school. Often, they are willing to assist you.

 Free courses

At local level, there are different opportunities. For instance, the Amsterdam municipality offers a large number of free Dutch courses, which usually last only six months. These courses particularly focus on men and women who are not able to sufficiently participate in Dutch society because of poor language skills. They are, for instance, unemployed for many years.

The courses are given all over the city of Amsterdam. But keep in mind that if you are a highly educated person with a rather good language level, you will most likely not fit in.

Possibly, other cities have similar courses that are developed in collaboration with language schools. Therefore, check the sites of language institutes close to your home.

 Special offers

And did you ever look at the special offers on the sites of language schools? Some give reductions of up to 25% on Dutch courses. Moreover, you often get a discount when you do a follow-up course at the same institute. And, even when it is not mentioned on their sites, you can always ask for their special offers.

So, do you want to climb to a higher language level? If yes, what is your next step? First of all, you can contact a language institute and ask for a free meeting, including a language level test. Based on the test results and their advice, you can decide on your next step.

There are many opportunities. Choose & Step up!

Anna Maria Doppenberg is a communications advisor for Pace Language Institute in Amsterdam. Pace offers Dutch language courses for all language levels, including exam training programmes to prepare for the "Staatsexamen" and Perfect Dutch courses for those who passed the "Staatsexamen NT2-II." For special offers, visit

Anna Maria Doppenberg


Anna Maria Doppenberg

At Pace Language Institute (, I work as a Senior Communications Advisor. I am also a text writer (Dutch and English) for many non-profit organisations. See my site

Read more



Leave a comment