If you live in the Netherlands and plan to stay here, you’re probably going to have to take the inburgering (immigration) exams. Whether or not you have to take them depends on your visa, country of origin, and more. You can find more info about the rules on the government immigration website.
As an American who moved to the Netherlands for love, I had to take all five immigration exams. Four of the exams were language exams, and the fifth was about the culture, the history, the political system, and more. Although the exact questions on the exams legally must be kept secret, I’ll share what I can about the process and the topics of the exams.
What I Have To Do To Immigrate
In addition to having to participate in a class all about culture and the rules here and signing a document called the participatieverklaring, I also had to take five immigration exams. I also still have to submit to the government that I am a business owner. That way I can possibly be exempt from going through the work orientation. My exams were all A2 level. But depending on when you moved here, the level can be different. I moved to the Netherlands in December 2018.
Four of the exams were on language, and one was about culture and more. The language exams are reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can take the exams in any order you want. As of writing this blog post, each exam cost 50 euros. You can also take practice exams on the inburgering website to prepare you for the exams. I took all of the exams in Rotterdam, but there are several locations throughout the Netherlands. I usually got the results within a few weeks of taking the exams.
How I Prepared For The Exams
I’ve been studying Dutch at a Dutch school since the end of 2020 I think. Over the years of living here, I’ve also been trying to keep up with doing small daily lessons on the language learning app Duolingo. In addition to going to class and Duolingo, I have tried to get more comfortable with speaking Dutch with my partner’s family, people I meet in public, and just everyone I come into contact with. Regarding the exams themselves, I only took a practice exam for a few of the exams.
Lezen (Reading) Exam
The first exam I took was lezen, or reading. Basically, I had to read some texts in Dutch and answer questions related to those texts. I did do a practice exam because I didn’t know what to expect. Personally, I found this exam and the rest quite easy, much easier than I expected.
Luisteren (Listening) Exam
The next exam I took was luisteren, or listening. For this exam, I had to wear headphones and listen to stories in Dutch. Then I had to click on the correct answer regarding what I heard in Dutch.
Spreken (Speaking) Exam
Then I took the spreken, or speaking exam. For this one, you had to listen to some stuff in Dutch and then give an answer related to what you had heard. You had to speak the answer into your headset.
Schrijven (Writing) Exam
The last language test I took was writing. I was a bit concerned about this one because my Dutch grammar and sentence structure isn’t great. But it wasn’t so hard actually. I got a booklet of papers. On each paper, there were questions and prompts. Like, write an email with these specific details and such. Then you had to write out the answers, etc. with a pen. I was surprised that you didn’t get to use a computer for this. I have terrible handwriting.
Kennis Nederlandse Maatschappij (Knowledge About Dutch Society) Exam
I saved this exam for last because I didn’t really learn a lot of Dutch history, etc. I did take a practice exam, and it was quite difficult. But honestly, the exam itself was quite easy. It covered topics about everything from the political system and laws to medical emergencies and working in the Netherlands.
Don’t Worry Too Much
All of the exams are in Dutch. So you need to understand and speak Dutch at the level the exams are in. You can find practice exams and a lot more information on the inburgeringswebsite. If you’re good with languages, you’ll do fine. Even if you’re not good with languages, the exams are much easier than I expected. And if you fail an exam, you can always retake it. Make sure not to take the exams back to back so you have time to relax and reenergize before every exam.
The featured photo was taken by Roxen Pap.
Let me know what questions you have about the exams in the comments.