The benefits of multilinguism | Undutchables

The benefits of multilinguism

Learning a language does not come by itself. It takes a lot of motivation, time, and patient! I know from my own experience, that I moved to a German-speaking area to learn German. Thereafter I moved to The Netherlands and learned Dutch. Speaking Swedish and English helped me learn German and all three languages helped me when learning Dutch. Depending on what you need the language for, I suggest starting with the spoken language and letting grammar and written communication follow.

When moving to either Netherlands or Sweden it seems that the importance of speaking the local language for foreigners is bigger in Sweden. The Netherlands is located in the middle of Europe, as well all know they are also phenomenal at speaking a number of languages, and they are also tradesmen that have had global contacts for a long time. You will get around by only speaking English in The Netherlands.

For Sweden, it seems that scale-ups in Sweden that are expecting to work globally Swedish isn't important from the very beginning and the teams tend to be from anywhere. However, they say ‘business is being done by the coffee machine in Sweden’, so it is to a great advantage if you do learn some Swedish in order to understand a context in a conversation. Also, when living in Sweden, as an ex-pat, in order to be able to communicate with teachers, medical staff requires at least a basic understanding. It is always beneficial to speak another language. Also, it makes it easier for you to connect with people from other cultures. Apart from having a better time when you understand the locals, learning a new language is good for neuroplasticity.

Definition of languages – what is a language

Language is a system of conventional spoken, manual (signed), or written symbols by means of which human beings express themselves.
It is a system of conventional or written symbols that human beings are communicating. consisting of sounds, words, and grammar.

To learn a new language URA style

The most spoken language in the world:

  • The 10 Most Spoken Languages In The World The 10 Most Spoken Languages In The World
  • Chinese — 1.3 Billion Native Speakers
  • Spanish — 471 Million Native Speakers
  • English — 370 Million Native Speakers
  • Hindi — 342 Million Native Speakers
  • Arabic — 315 Million Native Speakers
  • Portuguese — 232 Million Native Speakers

Why would you need to learn a new language?

First of all, it enriches you and your brain if you speak more languages. It is also considered as polite to learn, at least in some extend, to speak the language you wish to live (long term) in. It does make your life easier if you understand the language where you live. Living in another country is an amazing cultural experience and if you are able to learn the language that is, of course, a huge benefit for you. Speaking other languages makes you a better communicator, learning a language encourages creativity and improves your memory!

Maintaining your first language is critical to your identity and contributes to a positive self-concept. Linguistic proficiency also helps immigrants to preserve cultural and linguistic connections to their home country and being fluent in another language helps foreigners adjust more easily to new cultures. You can read here three reasons you should love your native language.

What Dutch and Swedish have in common is that both languages are considered easy to learn for non-natives.


  • The official language of The Netherlands and of Flanders, Belgium. It is also a national language in Suriname, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles
  • Germanic language
  • Approx 23 million people worldwide speak Dutch as their native language. Primarily in The Netherlands and northern Belgium
  • Europe is home to most Dutch speakers. 16 million in NL, 7 million in BE
  • 140 000 Dutch speakers in the US
  • For starters, Dutch is relatively simple for English speakers to learn
  • A lot of words similar to English, also similarities to German
  • Fourth on the list of easiest languages



  • A niche language
  • Official language in Sweden*, as one of the two national languages in Finland
  • Germanic language
  • Approx 10.5 million speakers around the world
  • 9.2 million inhabitants in Sweden with Swedish as native language
  • 90% of the Swedish speakers live in Sweden
  • (fun fact: 780 million customers worldwide visit IKEA stores every year. There are 8.5 million people living in NYC; the amount of Swedish speakers)
  • Swedish is Indo-European languages, descended from Old Norse, which was spoken by the Germanic people during the Viking Era.
  • Swedes, Icelanders, Danes and Norwegians once spoke the same language.
  • Today Swedish, Norwegian and Danish is still mutual intelligible (depending on dialect)
  • One of the easiest languages for an English speaker to learn

* There are five languages of official status in Sweden, except for Swedish. Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani, Sámi and Yiddish – and Swedish Sign Language.

  • Swedes and Dutch have a similar culture. They understand each other. However, small differences can be big

Do you need to learn Swedish in order to work in Sweden and do you need to learn Dutch in order to work in The Netherlands?

My experience is that on a expat /higher management level there is no need to learn Swedish or Dutch for a job. Up to and middle management jobs, I would say Swedish is a must in Sweden, however English would be OK in The Netherlands.

It is always a benefit if one shows interest in learning a language. Learning Swedish in Sweden is more important than learning Dutch in The Netherlands.

How speaking several languages benefits the brain

  • Multilingualism also offers cognitive benefits in everyday life. Speaking multiple languages can aid in resolving conflicts, multitasking, or even understanding the perspectives of others.
  • Recognized social and career benefits


  • A more efficient and better-developed executive control system in the brain. When you are multilingual, you constantly switch between languages without thinking about it. ... This is the part of the brain that controls your ability to switch your attention and exercise working memory.

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