Recommended books for learning Dutch

Suitable for both beginners and more advanced learners, we've put a great deal of effort into selecting the following books, which we highly recommend to everybody learning Dutch. The books include introductions to basic Dutch and Dutch grammar, grammar workbooks, phrasebooks, as well as a dictionary.

These books have been thoroughly reviewed, and were selected for both their quality and value — we provided a number of these books to over 25 learners of Dutch to gather their feedback, which we took into account during our selection. We also asked a handful of online Dutch-learning communities for their recommendations, which quickly revealed a surprisingly small number of books that learners had found invaluable as they learnt.

In total, we reviewed 32 books and ended with a selection of 8. From this 8, we developed a “Top 3” which you can find at the end of this page.

Without further ado, these are the eight books you should think about picking up if you're serious about learning Dutch!

The Top 3

These three books are, in our opinion, the best books available to learners of Dutch at all levels. If you're serious about learning Dutch and want a firm, solid foundation in the Dutch language, you should consider purchasing these three. (We've provided links to Amazon, but you may be able to buy them secondhand for a little less.)

  1. Essential Dutch Grammar by Henry R. Stern — By far the single most popular Dutch language grammar book, this is many learners' first (and favourite) book. It comprehensively covers Dutch grammar at a level suitable for beginners and advanced learners alike. The first Dutch grammar specifically designed for the adult with limited learning time whose objective is broader, more fluent everyday communication. Avoiding archaic, highly literary and seldom-used forms, this grammar helps those with some knowledge of Dutch use phrases and vocabulary more effectively. For the beginner, it provides all the grammar really needed for speech and comprehension.
  2. Basic Dutch: A Grammar and Workbook by Jenneke Oosterhoff — A fantastic, solid introduction to Dutch grammar, which you'll find is more detailed than its name implies! It provides a broad-but-comprehensive overview of many features of Dutch grammar. It avoids focusing only on stuffy, formal usage, so you'll learn to use modern, everyday Dutch as it's spoken today. Suitable for beginners and intemediate learners. This book comprises an accessible reference grammar and related exercises in a single volume. This Workbook presents twenty-five individual grammar points in realistic contexts, providing a grammatical approach which will allow students not already familiar with these structures to become accustomed to their use. Grammar points are followed by examples and exercises allowing students to reinforce and consolidate their learning.
  3. 201 Dutch Verbs by Henry R. Stern — Verbs can be particularly confusing, and even though Dutch has far fewer irregular verbs than English, they still trip up many learners! With 201 Dutch Verbs, you can familiarize yourself with verb conjugation in Dutch, including regular and irregular verbs. The most commonly used Dutch verbs are presented, one to a page, completely conjugated, and arranged alphabetically for quick and easy reference. Commonly used Dutch idioms that use a verb are presented at the bottom of the page of the appropriate verb.

With the help of these 3 books, you'll develop an incredibly sturdy foundation in Dutch grammar and syntax; you'll be familiar with everyday Dutch speech, able to hold a conversations beyond those of a beginner, and have a firm grasp of the grammar of Dutch, including verb conjugations and sentence structure.

Each of the 8 books we list on this page are fantastic resources for learning Dutch. The above 3, however, together provide perhaps the best and most comprehensive introduction, for beginners and intermediate learners alike.

In compiling this list, we've spoken to and interviewed hundreds of Dutch learners, and each of the above books cropped up time and time again. Clearly, learners found value in their pages — it's important to remember, however, that books alone won't be enough. You should try to immerse yourself in the Dutch language: make use of the many free apps available, and listen to as much TV, radio and news in het Nederlands as you can!

Veel succes! (Good luck!)