It all starts with language!

Language is important to build a network and to find a study programme or job. For most MBO3 or MBO4 courses you need a minimum language level of Dutch B1 (State Examination Programme 1). For most HBO and WO / University courses you need a minimum language level of Dutch B2. (State Examination Programme 2).   

Have you not yet started B1 level? Then read our advice below on what steps you can take.

Mentor koppel

Civic Integration & Borrowing Money

If you received a residence permit before January 1 2022 you can borrow money from DUO for a language course. This is only possible if you take the course at an approved school. You can also borrow money for the Nt2 exam. At you can read all about civic integration and choosing & paying for language courses. 

If you received an asylum residence permit after January 1 2022 you then fall under the new Dutch Civic Integration Act (Wet inburgering). This means that the municipality guides you in your civic integration. Together you will make a plan that fits your wishes and ambitions. We call this the Civic Integration and Participation Plan (PIP). This plan will contain all of the agreements you make with the municipality and is your personal plan for your integration process. The plan contains agreements about:

  • which language course you will follow and at which school
  • to which level you will learn Dutch
  • which exams you will take


The municipality arranges and pays for the language course and for the first two attempts at the exam. This applies to all parts of the exam. You cannot borrow money from DUO. Read more about the new Civic Integration Act at

Choosing a language school

First check which language school is in your neighbourhood and has the BOW seal of approval. You can do this via:

Find a language buddy

Learning Dutch is not always easy. A good way to learn Dutch is to speak it with others. In the Netherlands, there are several organisations that can help you find a language buddy. A language buddy is a volunteer who meets with you regularly. You can always count on him/her to answer any questions, you can do language exercises together and you have a pleasant conversation partner!  

For an overview of organisations offering language buddies, see the website of ‘Het Begint met Taal’. The website allows you to search for volunteer organisations in your area. Contact the organisations and ask about the options.  

Often there are all kinds of local initiatives that help refugees with the Dutch language. Ask the local branch of Vluchtelingenwerk if they can help you with this.  

You can also go to the library or community centre! Language cafés are organised there on a regular basis. A language café is for anyone who wants to improve their Dutch. In the language café you will do all kinds of language exercises such as having conversations, playing language games, reading & writing as well as meeting new people and having coffee together. Lots to do and admission is free. 

Language tips

Even if you do not have a residence permit yet and cannot take a standard language course,
you can find some tips & links for practicing Dutch below. 

Useful websites for learning the Dutch language 


Online courses 


  • DUO-lingo Translation (vocabulary, sentence structure), grammar, comprehensive and thematic 
  • De Het App How to use ‘de’ and ‘het’ 
  • Anki Basic flashcards for vocabulary, including audio 
  • Spreek Beter App Pronunciation and intelligibility  

General language tips  

  • Do volunteer work! For instance, via Nederland Cares (Utrecht), vrijwilligers vacaturebankThe VCA (Amsterdam) or the volunteer centre in your area  
  • Seek contact with Dutch-speaking people and speak Dutch as much as possible  
  • Watch Dutch television programmes with Dutch, English and Arabic subtitles via the website of Net in Nederland
  • Download audiobooks free of charge from the library 
  • At a Taalhuis (Language Centre), several local organisations work together to help people with language, maths or digital skills such as using a computer. Find a Taalhuis in your area.

Registration & advice

Do you have a question for us? Then please fill in the contact form. We will contact you within four working days. 

Before we register you with UAF, we will first contact you to discuss your request for assistance and how exactly we can support you.

Would you prefer to talk to someone on the telephone? Then please call us: 030 – 252 08 35. 

Do you want to sign up to receive support from UAF? Then you should first read the registration conditions