18 Great Books to Learn Dutch for Beginners & Beyond

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Thinking of traveling or migrating to the Netherlands, Belgium, or Suriname? While you can get by with English, learning the local language, Dutch, has its advantages. For a strong foundation, you’ll need books to learn Dutch.

If you’re an English or German speaker, you already have the upper hand because Dutch shares a lot of similarities with these two. But reading Dutch language books will help you learn the fundamentals in a structured manner.

Below are the best books to learn Dutch for learners of all levels, including textbooks, audiobooks, and even storybooks. Ready to learn how to use de and het and how to make the guttural g sound? Let’s go!

Best Dutch books for beginners

1. Dutch Made Nice & Easy

Part textbook, part guidebook, Dutch Made Nice & Easy is based on the language course developed by the U.S. government for foreign service personnel assigned abroad often on short notice. This means it’s designed to help learners understand and speak the language as quickly as possible.

This coursebook contains basic words, phrases, and expressions one can use to speak to locals. It also delves into basic grammar, with explanations that are clear and easy to understand. Each word or phrase has accompanying pronunciations.

This book also includes a compact overview of the Netherlands’ history and relevant facts. Photos of many sites are also included. You’re not only learning the language, but you’re also learning the history and culture.

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This book is best for:

  • Absolute beginners with no Dutch background
  • Learners who are pressed for time
  • Basic but well-rounded Dutch lessons

2. Colloquial Dutch: The Complete Course for Beginners

If you want an in-depth approach to basic Dutch, this one’s for you. One of the most thorough Dutch books for beginners, Colloquial Dutch is brimming with readings and exercises that promise to improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills at near-native speed.

This language textbook provides a step-by-step Dutch course through excellent explanations of grammar, written exercises, an ample amount of vocabulary, and realistic dialogues. Audio materials are available on the publisher’s website so you can listen to and practice the dialogues.

For self-learners, a full answer key, a grammar summary, bilingual glossaries, and English translations of dialogues can be found at the back.

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This book is best for:

  • Compendious but user-friendly and non-intimidating Dutch lessons
  • Clear and jargon-free grammar explanations
  • Vocabulary that can be used in real-life settings

3. Conversational Dutch Quick and Easy

We have to admit, learning a language takes time. But if your goal is simply to hold a conversation with locals, and not necessarily fluency, you should consider this book.

As its title suggests, Conversational Dutch Quick and Easy helps learners to be almost effortlessly conversant in the quickest way possible.

This time-saving approach involves choosing 350 words that are most likely to be used in real conversations. These words are structurally interrelated and, when combined, form sentences.

At 46 pages, this is one of the most compact books to learn Dutch. It’s one of the fastest ways to be able to understand and be understood by the Dutch. Don’t expect formal grammar lessons though.

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This book is best for:

  • Fuss-free beginner lessons
  • Developing Dutch conversational skills
  • A time-efficient and innovative way of learning Dutch

Best Dutch grammar books

4. Essential Dutch Grammar

Without a doubt, the most popular Dutch grammar book, Essential Dutch Grammar is a favorite of most Dutch learners. It covers comprehensive grammar that’s needed in understanding and speaking Dutch.

One of the best things about this book is its emphasis on the strong similarities between English and Dutch. It teaches spelling, word order, articles and nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, verbs, conjunctions, and prepositions. What’s more, these lessons come with lots of easy-to-understand examples.

Essential Dutch Grammar avoids highly literary and seldom-used forms. While it barely covers vocabulary, it provides some useful expressions and detailed appendices on verbs and grammatical terms. Overall, one of the best books to learn Dutch.

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This book is best for:

  • Upper beginners to intermediate learners
  • Enhancing prior knowledge of Dutch
  • Streamlined Dutch lessons in the shortest possible time

5. Basic Dutch: A Grammar and Workbook

Grammar is one of the most intimidating but important aspects of learning Dutch. Thankfully, this workbook provides a comprehensive overview of Dutch grammar without being too formal.

Basic Dutch presents 25 individual grammar points in realistic contexts. It has useful exercises, grammar tables for easy reference, and comparative references to English grammar. It also contains an appendix of irregular verbs and an index of grammatical terms.

Furthermore, Basic Dutch introduces culture through contemporary Dutch language. You can be sure that you can use what you’re learning. Truly one of the best Dutch grammar books out there.

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This book is best for:

  • A solid introduction to Dutch grammar
  • Learning how to speak modern, everyday Dutch as it’s spoken today
  • Classroom use and self-studying

6. 201 Dutch Verbs

Did you know that Dutch has far fewer irregular verbs than English? However, learning verb conjugations in Dutch is still challenging.

This is where 201 Dutch Verbs come in handy. It’s exactly how it sounds – a collection of 201 commonly used Dutch verbs, both regular and irregular. One verb is presented per page, completely conjugated, and arranged alphabetically for easy reference.

One of the most incredibly helpful books to learn Dutch, this one also includes commonly used Dutch idioms that use verbs.

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This book is best for:

  • Learning a variety of verbs that you can use in forming sentences
  • Beginners to advanced learners. However, beginners need to consult other resources.
  • Vocabulary expansion through grammar lessons

Best Dutch vocabulary books

7. 2000 Most Common Dutch Words in Context

Learning Dutch words is great but if you’re not learning words that you can actually use, then you’re probably just wasting your precious time. Fortunately, this is not the case with 2000 Most Common Dutch Words.

This book promises to teach you 2000 commonly-used Dutch words, their meanings and translations, and example sentences in both Dutch and English. You won’t be learning words alone, you will also see how these words are used in context.

The entries are arranged by frequency of use. There are also tips and tricks on how to learn Dutch faster.

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This book is best for:

  • Expanding your vocabulary
  • Learning word usage
  • A quick way of learning practical Dutch

8. The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary (3rd edition)

One of the best ways to improve one’s vocabulary in any language is by using a dictionary. The Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary is one of the most recommended for Dutch language learners at all levels.

This dictionary comes with over 33,000 Dutch entries, translations, and phonetic transcriptions that aid pronunciation. It also provides gender markers for nouns, contextual information, and an appendix of Dutch irregular verbs.

To make it even more useful, this dictionary contains both colloquial and idiomatic language. One of the most comprehensive resources for Dutch learners.

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This book is best for:

  • Dutch vocabulary building
  • Grammar notes
  • Phonetic spellings for speaking practice

9. Collins Dutch Phrasebook

Judging by the rave reviews, you’ll know that this phrasebook is among the most useful books to learn Dutch.

Collins Dutch Phrasebook is a portable and easy-to-navigate collection of topics and phrases that regularly crop up on vacations and day-to-day scenarios. It has a 3,000-word dictionary, a comprehensive menu decoder, and grammar and pronunciation sections. Comes with a CD, too.

For travelers, you’ll find the travel information and tips useful. But even if you don’t plan on traveling to the Netherlands yet, this is still pretty handy.

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This book is best for:

  • Travelers who wish to converse with locals with ease
  • Vocabulary expansion
  • Dutch words that can be used in real-life settings

Best Dutch audiobooks

10. Learn Dutch for Beginners Easily & in Your Car

With over 1,000 common Dutch phrases that you can learn on the go, sitting through traffic doesn’t sound like a drag anymore.

Learn Dutch for Beginners Easily & In Your Car is perfect for people who have always wanted to learn Dutch but simply don’t have the time. You will learn common phrases for greetings, expressions used while traveling, shopping, dating, working, and more.

Each phrase is read slowly and multiple times so you can learn the correct pronunciation. If you manage to spare some time for further studies, you can also check out the paperback edition for spellings of the words.

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This book is best for:

  • Beginners and intermediate learners
  • Auditory learners
  • Learning useful vocabulary on the go

11. Pimsleur Dutch

Pimsleur is one of our recommended apps to learn Dutch. This audio CD format is here for the same reason: Pimsleur’s scientifically proven, time-tested method of teaching languages.

Pimsleur promises that you can master Dutch through its 30-minute audio lessons. Through the spaced repetition method, you will learn new words and phrases and be able to retain them longer.

Lessons cover the basics, from greetings to asking for to giving directions, and intermediate level that includes more advanced vocabulary. The goal is to learn to speak Dutch confidently and comfortably.

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This book is best for:

  • Scientifically-proven method of learning Dutch
  • Strengthening Dutch listening and speaking skills
  • Beginners to intermediate learners

12. Spoken World: Dutch

Living Language is a prominent publisher of foreign language self-study resources. Its Spoken Word series is one of the most recommended materials for auditory learning.

The Dutch edition is an excellent audiobook, ideal for learners who have no background in the language. It expertly incorporates grammar and everyday word usage, slowly progressing at an easy-to-follow pace.

The audiobook explains concepts with plenty of examples. It comes with a PDF that has grammar notes, a glossary, and notes on culture, cuisine, history, geography, and more.

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This book is best for:

  • Learning Dutch vocabulary for real-life usage
  • Absolute beginners to intermediate learners
  • Well-founded introduction to Dutch

Best Dutch storybooks

13. Dutch Short Stories for Beginners

One of the best ways to learn Dutch (or anything, really) is through stories. You probably want to read Dutch novels but before you dive into expert-level literature, try reading Dutch stories for beginners first.

This storybook is a compilation of 20 easy-to-read, compelling short stories that allow you to expand your vocabulary while having fun. The stories use realistic and day-to-day language so they’re easy to grasp.

Apart from translations, there’s a vocabulary review list and some questions for you to answer and prove that you understood.

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This book is best for:

  • Simple but engaging way of learning Dutch
  • Contextual learning
  • Beginners to intermediate learners

14. Short Stories in Dutch for Beginners

For learners who are hesitant to pick up Dutch children’s books (you shouldn’t be – children’s books are great for language learners), this collection of eight captivating short stories is ideal. These stories feel more “grown-up” and come in a variety of exciting genres, from science fiction and crime to history and thriller.

Short Stories in Dutch for Beginners helps you gain new vocabulary, including 1,000 most used words. The stories also teach grammar structures in a natural, accessible way.

This storybook also comes with a glossary, bilingual word list, and questions to test comprehension. Absolutely one of the most enjoyable books to learn Dutch.

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This book is best for:

  • Authentic spoken dialogues to help improve conversational skills
  • Strengthening vocabulary and grammar knowledge
  • Upper beginners to intermediate learners

15. Learn Dutch with Short Stories: Interlinear Dutch to English

Want to start reading Dutch literature but still don’t understand a lot of Dutch words? This book is for you.

The Interlinear series presents short stories from classic Dutch authors like Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) and Hildebrand (Nicolaas Beets). But instead of consulting a glossary, you can immediately see the English translations of each word, eliminating the lookup time.

The word-for-word translation means that some English sentences don’t make sense. That’s okay because your goal is to understand and retain as many Dutch words as possible in the shortest time possible.

For pronunciations, you can download the MP3s from Hyplern’s website.

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This book is best for:

  • Intermediate to advanced learners
  • Fast way of learning Dutch through stories
  • Vocabulary expansion and recall

Best Dutch textbooks for intermediate to advanced learners

16. Routledge Intensive Dutch Course

True to its name, this is one of the most intensive books to learn Dutch. This coursebook tackles all aspects of Dutch skills – reading, writing, speaking, and listening (with audio).

The lessons are lively and fast-paced. Learners will not be bored because there are a variety of activities of source materials from different media.

This book promises to take students from beginners to intermediate level in one year. While it’s true that it’s useful for beginners, it is a bit too much for self-learners and those with zero Dutch background.

Maybe get some introductory lessons from Dutch learning apps first?

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This book is best for:

  • Upper beginners and intermediate learners
  • Improving all four key skills of language learning
  • Learning in a classroom or with a tutor

17. Complete Dutch

One of the most exhaustive Dutch books in this list, Complete Dutch introduces language structures through life-like dialogues. It starts with essential conversations, gradually teaching grammar, and then testing retention through written and audio exercises.

Although the book is multipurpose, it is also quite grammar-heavy. Absolute beginners may feel lost and may need basic grammar lessons first before diving into this.

For intermediate to advanced learners, this book helps reinforce prior knowledge and strengthen reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

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This book is best for:

  • Intermediate to advanced learners who need more structure in their studies
  • All-inclusive Dutch lessons that deal with all key learning skills
  • Systematic way of tracking your progress from various tests

18. Intermediate Dutch: A Grammar and Workbook

Ready to go beyond the basics? This one’s for you.

Intermediate Dutch is designed for learners who have already mastered basic grammar and wish to refine their knowledge of the language. This is done through clear and concise summaries of the essentials points of grammar and exercises that will test your skills.

The book contains 24 units, each presenting a grammatical topic through explanations, examples, and contextualized exercises that reinforce learning. Also comes with answer keys, references to English grammar, an appendix of irregular verbs, and an index of grammatical terms.

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This book is best for:

  • Independent learners
  • Knowing the finer points of Dutch grammar
  • Robust grammar refresher for advanced learners

How to learn Dutch from books

These books to learn Dutch help improve your skills but ultimately, it is up to you to develop healthy reading habits. After all, books are not exactly cheap. Make sure you get the most of your books with these tips:

Keep a dictionary handy

Unless you’re uber fluent, you will come across Dutch words that you don’t know. Instead of guessing what the word means, take that opportunity to expand your vocabulary by looking it up in the dictionary.

Reading bilingual readers, parallel texts, and interlinear texts can also help.

Write what you learn

Writing helps retain information. Plus, it helps develop your writing skills.

Write summaries of your lessons or the definitions of the words you looked up in the dictionary. Keep it in one notebook so that you don’t lose your notes.

If you’re more of a digital note taker, keep all your notes within one digital notetaking app. You can also build digital flashcard decks to build vocabulary.

Set up your reading space

Learning a language is just like studying any subject. It requires undivided attention. To get the most out of your books, assign a reading spot and reading time. This can be one hour every morning in your workspace.

In addition, refrain from using your smartphone or other devices while reading a book.

Read content that interests you

Textbooks are useful, especially for beginners. But as you progress in your studies, keeping your reading resources diverse will help you enjoy the learning journey.

Don’t limit yourself to formal books. Whether it’s a comic book, a cookbook in Dutch, or a Dutch novel, it will expose you to more Dutch words while also having fun.

Listen to audiobooks

The ultimate goal of learning a language is to be able to speak it. Dutch audiobooks improve your listening skills and help you learn pronunciation so you can speak confidently.

You can immerse yourself even more by reading a book and listening to its audiobook version simultaneously. It’s difficult at first but once you get into the habit, you will be able to better associate words with the corresponding pronunciations.

Support your learning with other resources

To improve on all key learning skills in Dutch, expose yourself to as much Dutch content as possible. Aside from books, you can use apps to learn Dutch.

Enroll in online courses or get a private tutor. Listen to podcasts, watch Dutch Netflix shows. this will help you gain the confidence to converse in Dutch.

With this list of Dutch learning books and the handy tips above, you’ll be ready to conquer the language in no time. Just stay motivated and stick to it. Happy learning!

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