5x Fun ways to practice Dutch and dive into the local culture
Kudos to everyone who learns Dutch! Frankly, sometimes it feels like a mission impossible (particularly when you discover de/het articles). Mastering vocabulary, grammar, and the 'G' sound might be overwhelming. Yet learning a language goes beyond grammar and vocabulary.
'Is there more?' Don't be afraid; it's the fun part. Language is the key to understanding a culture; it helps to find common ground with the locals. So let's practice Dutch and become a bit more Eindhovenaar and Brabantian.
Learn the lyrics of Guus Meeuwis' song 'Brabant'
In the south, mastering the 'G' sound is easier for most internationals because it's soft. Guus Meeuwis, the Dutch singer and songwriter, praises his home region Brabant for that feature.
Ik mis hier de warmte
Van een dorpscafe
De aanspraak van mensen
Met een zachte 'G'.
I miss the warmth
Of a village cafe
Where people speak
With a soft 'G' sound.
The song is sweet, nostalgic, and full of love for the Brabant region, and singing it might make your new local Dutch friends shed a sentimental tear. Yeah, we really mean it!
Check the lyrics out and try to sing along with Guus Meeuwis.
Order worstenbroodje in a bakery
Did you know that traditional Brabant worstenbroodje is on the official list of Dutch cultural heritage? Twenty-five million worstenbroodjes are eaten every year, so join the crowd!
Go to the bakery and say, 'Een worstenbroodje, alstublieft.' It's amazing how satisfying it is to ask someone a question in a new language, and they understand you, and you get what you want in the end.
Next level for a pro: check out a recipe for a worstenbroodje in Dutch and try to cook it yourself.
Learn the PSV Eindhoven chant
Food and sport connect people. The food we've already covered; now let's talk football. Even if you are not a big fan of that sport or cheer for Ajax (we know we are on dangerous ground now), the PSV Eindhoven chant is worth learning!
Repeat after us:
Succes is niet alles in het leven,
Liefde gaat verder dan dat.
Dus zullen wij altijd alles geven,
Voor de kleuren, de club en de stad.
Success is not everything in life,
Love goes beyond that.
So we will always give everything,
For the colors, the club, and the city.
We have goosebumps! Powerful words, especially repeated by thousands of people together, like in this video. Learn the chant and practice it in the PSV stadium, on the streets, or in a local pub on the day of a match.
Watch 'New Kids: Turbo!'
In a small village in North Brabant called Maaskantje a group of creatively-dressed friends gets fired and goes wild, so local police need to call for national forces. Welcome to the 'New Kids: Turbo!' reality and one of the most popular Dutch films of all time.
They say it's the only Dutch movie where Dutch people need subtitles. We'd say a tough nerve is also required. Consider yourself warned.
Nonetheless, the movie is iconic. The IMDb user Knighthawk701 confirms it by saying, 'I went to school in the 90s in Eindhoven. At that time, many people dressed as the people in the movie. They drove the 'Sita' scooters and 'Opel' brand cars, pretending to be the tough guys. Those people were called Johnny and Anita. Sneakers, sports clothing, and haircuts in the movie were all over the place.'
Even if you struggle to understand what the characters say, you'll surely learn one word, 'junge,' which means 'boy,' 'dude,' 'lad,' 'fella,' you probably have a version of that in your language as well. You can use it to express your confusion, anger, delight, shame, excitement — pretty much everything.
'Juuuuuuuuunge!!!' We couldn't help ourselves.
Be 'Brabant 15 minutes' late
You've probably heard about Dutch punctuality, obsession with calendars, and scheduling appointments months in advance. So don't think we are villains who advise you to risk your life and be late for a meeting. It's Brabant! Fifteen minutes is fine. There is even a name for this anomaly, 'Brabant 15 minutes,' literally.
Once you've entered the meeting room, start a small talk for another 10-15 minutes. In Dutch, obviously. Break the ice, chit-chat, and embrace the welcoming atmosphere of the room. In the south of the Netherlands, people are known to be a bit more generous, kind, and friendly. Feel it to believe it!
PS Don't overuse 'Brabant 15 minutes,' though. Maybe someone in the room is a northerner. You never know!
Share this article on your socials and let us know if you know other fun ways to practice Dutch and dive into the local Eindhoven culture. Tot ziens!