Dutch Language Courses

Learning Dutch in small groups - the Hague (Den Haag), area Leidschenveen


ELBEST - The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe.

Why is CEFR relevant for you?

These levels are relevant for you to compare courses from different language schools, because most schools in the Netherlands have now adopted this classification. In total six reference levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) are distinguised. They are explained below.
Another use is to determine what kind of communication level you would like to achieve after a while. For instance:
  • Casual talking with the Dutch (→ level A2)
  • Having a real discussion in Dutch with the Dutch (→ level B1)
  • Reading newspapers and understanding Dutch television (→ level B1 or B2)
  • The level needed for the "inburgering examen" (→ level A2)
  • The levels needed for the "Staatsexamen" (→ level B1 and B2)

Testing your level

You can find free online tests on our website to get an indication of your current commandment of Dutch. If you are looking for a more dedicated opinion, you can always ask our teacher for free advice via our online contact form. We can then also discuss individual demands with you.

Description of the 6 reference levels

Basic User
Level A1 - Breakthrough or beginner
  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Level A2 - Waystage or elementary
  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Independent User
Level B1 - Threshold or intermediate
  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Level B2 - Vantage or upper intermediate
  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Proficient User
Level C1 - Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced
  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Level C2 - Mastery or proficiency
  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

For further reading we can recommend Wikipedia or just search for "CEFR" on the internet.

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Dutch lessons for foreigners - The Hague (Den Haag), area Zoetermeer, Leidschendam, Voorburg, Delft