Studying a new language through an immersion approach is one of the best techniques. And what is a better way than to learn a new language by watching films and tv-series? Check out 12 incredible movies to learn Dutch.
The fact of Dutch, being an Indo-European language, just like English. But with time, it lagged way behind. And today, there are very few Dutch speakers in the world — nearly 24 million.
But that doesn’t stop us from learning Dutch. The ability to know Dutch can open up new possibilities and can help you settle comfortably in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Like English and German, Dutch also belongs to the West Germanic language family. And that is the reason; it shares a fair amount of its vocabulary and other grammar aspects with these lingos. Now, we know why many English and German speakers can speak Dutch, too, and consider Dutch a simple language to learn.
You can improve your Dutch by watching Television series and Movies. It adds visuals to your language learning process. The theoretical understanding gets the backing of the practical application of all the words and phrases and the context they fit perfectly.
- Where to Watch Dutch Films?
- 12 Must-Watch Movies to Help you Learn Dutch
- 1. Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) — 2008 (R)
- 2. Black Book (Zwartboek) — 2006 (R)
- 3. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Alabama Monroe) — 2012 (R)
- 4. Simon (2004) (R)
- 5. Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje) — 1977 (R)
- 6. Character (Karakter) — 1997 (R)
- 7. Antonia’s Line (Antonia) — 1995 (R)
- 8. Daens 1992 (R)
- 9. Borgman (2013)
- 10. Tot Altijd (Time of My Life) — 2012
- 11. The Resistance Banker (Bankier van het Verzet) — 2018
- 12. Amsterdamned — 1988 (R)
- Final Words on Learning Dutch with Films
Where to Watch Dutch Films?
The number of Dutch movies and Television series is insufficient. But, thanks to the influx of online streaming channels like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and many more, everyone can experience the best of Dutch Films and Tv-shows, wherever and whenever they want.
To save your time in searching for films and television shows on Netflix, you can use secret genre codes. Replace the last few digits XXXX (Netflix.com/browse/genre/XXXX) with the below-mentioned codes to explore the abundance of content.
Dutch — 70021207, Movies — 10606/ 89601, Movies & TV-Series — 109174, Audio in Dutch — 1400179, DutchMan — 60001571, Drama — 9873, Dutch Light — 70109033, and many more.
You can also try Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vimeo, and other streaming platforms like npostart.nl, to watch popular and latest Dutch cinemas and television series at your convenience.
12 Must-Watch Movies to Help you Learn Dutch
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by German, French and Italian film industry, the Dutch filmmakers have always produced several fantastic cinemas, including many award-winning motion pictures.
So, here is a list of 12 best movies that will not only help you in honing your Dutch-speaking skills but will also let you peek into Dutch cinema and culture.
1. Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) — 2008 (R)
The film is about the era after the Second World War. Directed by the internationally acclaimed director Martin Koolhoven, the film revolves around a teenage boy who becomes a part of the Dutch Resistance after helping a wounded RAF soldier.
Oorlogswinter is an enthralling tale of a poor little boy learning the ugly realities of life and war. This movie perfectly combines melodrama and thriller elements, and that’s why it has won several awards in various film festivals.
With clear and simplistic dialogues, a beginning learner of the Dutch language can benefit from it to a large extent. It is one of the good movies to learn Dutch.
2. Black Book (Zwartboek) — 2006 (R)
Weaved around the Second World War, Black Book is a mysterious drama that keeps you hooked till the end. The story is set in the fall of 1944 and receives inspiration from several real events.
The black book is a thriller about a young, good-looking German Jewish woman, Rachel Stein, who falls for a high-ranking Nazi officer while seeking revenge for her family’s killings. Directed by Hollow Man fame Paul Verhoeven, the movie is among the most successful films of the Dutch Cinema.
Black Book is my all-time favorite Dutch movie. Natural dialogues with some crude language require someone at the intermediate or advanced level of the Dutch language.
3. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Alabama Monroe) — 2012 (R)
The Broken Circle Breakdown is a heartbreaking tale of two married musicians losing their daughter to cancer. The intensity of emotions brought in the film will connect you instantly to the family.
The stage play with the same name by Johan Heldenbergh and Mieke Dobbels inspires the film. The film won the prize of Best Foreign Film at the 39th César Awards, and also the winner of the 2013 Lux Prize.
This soul-stirring drama involves the use of the vernacular language, making this film a gem for students learning Dutch. Whether you are at the initial level or an advanced stage of learning, the flick will benefit you in countless ways.
4. Simon (2004) (R)
The Dutch entry for the 2005 Oscars, Simon, is a comedy-drama based on friendship. This film brings out an independent approach that does not particularly conform to Dutch culture.
The story is about two male friends, one heterosexual and one gay. The movie highlights the issues of Euthanasia and same-sex marriage. The film eventually narrates a decade-old friendship rekindling with the onset of a severe brain tumor to a friend.
A Dutch language learner at an intermediate or advanced level can learn a lot from this film. You will also gain several phrases that will help you improve grammar and sentence formation.
5. Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje) — 1977 (R)
Based on the life of Erik Hazelhof, a Dutch Resistance fighter, Soldier of Orange is a thrilling drama that revolves around the Second World War. Some Dutch students get involved in the Resistance Movement, taking up different roles.
The story came from the autobiographic book Soldaat van Oranje by Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema. Based on real events, it is an intriguing anecdote of the Nazi occupation to the end of the Second World War. If you are a fan of espionage, it will satisfy your inner spy to the fullest.
With some advanced vocabulary, the film is apt for intermediate and advanced Dutch language learners. Don’t miss the opportunities to hone your Dutch learning skills while enjoying the thrill it brings from this drama.
6. Character (Karakter) — 1997 (R)
This Oscar-winning family melodrama is a well-crafted piece of art. The story, based on a novel by the same name, revolves around a murder mystery. The tale turns unpredictable to keep you glued.
Set in Rotterdam during the first half of the 20th century, the waging personal battles turn things ugly between a father and his son, leading to the unfortunate incident. Karakter is not an ordinary thriller, but more of psychological suspense, which demands attention throughout this flick.
The language used in the film involves average simplicity, and the vocabulary is a little advanced. It is best suited for students of the intermediate level and preparing for various Dutch proficiency exams.
7. Antonia’s Line (Antonia) — 1995 (R)
In 1996, Dutch director Marleen Gorris won an Oscar for this talkie, Antonia’s Line. This Academy Award winner is all about women-power. The film narrates the story of a strong-headed lady who lives at her family farm without a permanent relationship with a man.
She decides to have a child without a husband. Her child follows the same path representing an independent woman’s freedom. Antonia’s Line offers a beautifully refreshing depiction of love in all shapes and sizes.
With everyday language used and basic vocab, the film is suitable for all levels of Dutch language learners. Even without subtitles, you will gain an immense deal of vocabulary, verb expressions, including words related to society.
8. Daens 1992 (R)
Directed by Stijn Coninx, Daens is the biography of Catholic priest Father Daens, in Flanders in the 19th century. This period drama won an Academy Award nomination for its detailing. The movie portrays the story about poor labor conditions in a small Belgian village in the 1890s.
The textile factories in the region exploit women and children against which Daens take charge. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1992.
To understand the full beauty of the movie, you need to understand Dutch. The language and dialogues are simple to understand with the basic vocabulary. It is an excellent film for the beginners of Dutch.
9. Borgman (2013)
Directed and Written by Alex van Warmerdam, Borgman is a twisted psychological thriller Dutch film that quickly achieved cult status after its release in 2013. The film crafts a story of a homeless (Jan Bijvoet) who invades the lives of an upper-class family. The story seems bizarre and evil and also funny at the same time.
With some pitch-black humor and unsettling scenes, Borgman gives a certain charm that will captivate the viewer right through the 113 minutes running time!
While this is not the typical action and engaging movie, you will undoubtedly enjoy this perplexing movie from Holland. The lexicon and syntax are simple to understand and suits the comprehensive abilities of intermediate Dutch students.
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10. Tot Altijd (Time of My Life) — 2012
Based on a true story, Tot Altijd tells the story of Multiple sclerosis patient Mario Verstraete who was not only an advocate of legalizing euthanasia in Belgium but was also the first to use the new law.
Verstraete was the first Belgian to commit euthanasia on 30 September 2002. Verstraete was on the pathway of a successful career in politics when he came to know that he has a ravaging form of MS. It led him to become an outspoken champion of assisted suicide. You can see the plight of Verstraete through the eyes of his dear friend Thomas.
The lengthy conversations about the complicated situation will surely prove to be hard, but valuable for intermediate and high-level learners. You will learn many words related to contemporary society.
11. The Resistance Banker (Bankier van het Verzet) — 2018
If you wish to enjoy impressive cast and cinematography, I strongly recommend you to see The Resistance Banker. The film is about the true story of banker Walraven van Hall, who financed the Dutch resistance during the Second World War. It is no surprise that The Resistance Banker was Netherlands’ entry to the Oscars in 2018.
It is a gripping film that is well written, well-researched, magnificently crafted, and one that can deservedly possess some of the most splendid performances in recent times. Through this film, you will witness the challenges the Walraven brothers face while they were supporting to fund the Dutch defense in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
This movie serves its purpose well, exhibiting plenty of slang at a rapid pace. It would be challenging to watch if you’re an elementary level Dutch students. If you want to understand, watch it with subtitles.
12. Amsterdamned — 1988 (R)
Directed and written by Dick Maas, Amsterdamned is a 1988 Dutch horror film about a serial killer who uses the canals of Amsterdam to murder random people.
Assigned to the case is a police detective, Eric Visser (Stapel), who sets out to capture this gruesome serial killer. Will he be successful? Watch the film how Amsterdam’s beautiful waterside vistas turn into a waking nightmare.
There is a significant variation in the language used in the talks compared to the standard Dutch. The slow-paced, however, provides enough time to understand the accent and sentences and eventually motivate you to watch more movies for learning Dutch.
Final Words on Learning Dutch with Films
There are ways to make the language learning process enjoyable and straightforward. And what is better than viewing movies? Watching Dutch cinemas and Tv-series allows you to get used to the Dutch language is an authentic way.
I hope you enjoy my selection of the 12 best movies to learn Dutch. If you want more suggestions or any questions, you can always ask in the comment session below. Have Fun! Veel Plezier!