Dutch Language Qualifications

Information about official language qualifications in the Netherlands, how to learn Dutch, language skill levels, and state language programmes like the NT2, HBO and WO...

While being able to speak Dutch is not a requirement for living in the Netherlands (with the exception of those individuals subject to Civic Integration requirements), having a basic knowledge of the language is extremely helpful for expats living in the Netherlands.

Dutch language training is available through language schools, adult education centres, in-business training programmes and personal tutors. Classes are organised according to skill level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and correspond with CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) levels.

CEFR levels are based on the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. These codes range from A1 (limited skill) to C2 (near fluent).

There are several state exams in the Netherlands which test Dutch language skill level:

  • Dutch as a Second Language State Exam (NT2 Staatsexamen Programme I)
  • Dutch as a Second Language State Exam (NT2 Staatsexamen Programme II)
  • The Civic Integration Exam (Inburgeringsexamens)

Dutch as a Second Language is offered at two levels. Employers seeking to fill specific positions which require knowledge of Dutch will often refer to the NT2 exam, and whether the Programme I or Programme II skill level is needed.

Within higher education, students wishing to pursue an MBO programme (vocational studies course) must have passed the NT2 programme I exam, while applicants for HBO or WO programmes (university-level courses) must have passed the NT2 Programme II exam.

  • More information about the secondary and higher education systems in the Netherlands can be found in the Family section.

The body ultimately responsible for the administration of national examinations in the Netherlands is the Board of Examinations (College voor Examens).

The Civic Integration Exam (Inburgering) is a state exam testing Dutch language skills and cultural knowledge of the Netherlands. It focuses on using Dutch in practical, everyday situations. In order to pass, a Dutch language skill level of A2 is required.

  • See the Dutch Civic Integration page found on the left 
  • To learn more about language levels and to take a self-assessment test, see the Europass website
With some information provided by Josien Deknatel, Director, Kickstart School Laan Copes van Cattenburch 86, 2585 GE Den Haag Website Email Tel: 070 360 7860