September 3, 2013
Expats who want to speak Dutch in The Hague, rarely get the opportunity. When they try to, they are usually answered in English. After a while they stop trying. Direct Dutch Institute wants to break this cycle. That’s why the language school started the campaign ‘Spreek Nederlands! Met Mij!’ (Speak Dutch! With me!).
Teachers at Direct Dutch Institute hear it all the time. Owners of restaurants and shops in the city centre of The Hague prefer to deal with international customers in English. They assume that it’s what the customer wants. Besides, speaking English speeds up business.
Direct Dutch would like to stimulate that expats get more encouraged to speak Dutch. Mastering the language of the place where you live and work makes your stay much more pleasant, even if it’s a temporary one. In the end it is also advantageous for Dutch entrepreneurs when their customers feel at home in this city!
Students of Direct Dutch are now handed out a button with the text ‘Spreek Nederlands! Met mij!’ (Speak Dutch! With me!). Ruud Hisgen, teacher and managing director of the Direct Dutch Institute: ‘We would like to achieve that people working in shops, cafés and restaurants are more aware of the group of expats who wish to learn and speak Dutch. At our institute students learn to have conversations in Dutch within two weeks. But this will only work, if they get a chance to practice what they have learned. ‘Hagenaars’ who hear a foreign accent, immediately change over to English. Be a little patient, we say, and you’ll have a happy customer.’
Following the button-campaign there will be a campaign to raise the awareness that many expats are willing to speak Dutch. The buttons can be collected free of charge from the Direct Dutch Institute or at the ACCESS Expat desk in the Atrium of the Hague City Hall. If you’re unable to pick up the buttons yourself, send an email to info[at]directdutch.com.