Learning Dutch: Hagelslag, Sesamstraat, and Het Huis Anubis

Dutch was not the first foreign language I studied, but I haven’t found many blog posts by other learners. Here’s my attempt to fill in the gap a little.

When I learned that my flight to Uganda would have a layover in Amsterdam, I decided that it might be useful to learn a few phrases – maybe order breakfast. A delayed flight dashed my dreams of hagelslag, but I did meet a Dutch lady in Jinja. She said I sounded German. Oh well, it was a nice try.

Fast-forward three years – and I’m still learning Dutch. I even hope to study abroad in the Netherlands next summer. It’s been a fun journey, and I managed to find some resources that boosted me along the way.

Here’s how it went:

At first, I played around with a few resources: Taalklaas, 2bdutch.nl, and Sesamstraat.

Then, I requested Teach Yourself Dutch for Christmas. I got about half-way through it and learned a lot. However, at about the halfway point, the chapters got much denser, and I felt that I was not absorbing enough out of it.

Around that time, Dutch was added added to Duolingo. I added it to my school schedule and completed the tree in time to graduate high school.

Duolingo Owl Trophy

Along with working through Duolingo, I watched Het Huis Anubis – a Dutch young adult fantasy TV show with English subtitles. All available on YouTube. I only got through the first season, but I got pretty hooked. I got to improve my listening skills while learning the secrets of the “levenselixer” – the elixir of life – as well as some cultural information. Sibuna!

Afterwards, I jumped back into TY Dutch. I also was delighted to realize how much of their current television shows the Dutch broadcasting companies put online – with Dutch subtitles. I also joined italki, a language learning company that revolves around the exchange of language skills. I especially like the written component.

I don’t know where I’ll go from here. But I do know that I do not want to stop learning Dutch. I’ll at least finish Harry Potter en de Geheime Kamer… and maybe spend a summer in Utrecht… Maybe I should go study something I’m being graded on.

Free Resources for Learning:

  • Duolingo: A gamified, solid introduction to Dutch
  • Taalklas.nl: A series in Dutch designed for immigrants
  • Oefenen.nl: Exercises in a cultural context

Free Resources for Practice


  1. You almost make me want to learn dutch!

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