Languages

Does your job require you to be proficient in a foreign language? Would you like to learn a new language, or could you use a refresher course?

For BZ staff and other central government employees with an international role, it’s essential to have a good command of one or more foreign languages. This makes a big difference in our representation of the Netherlands abroad. It also helps us promote our international interests effectively, and that means we achieve better results.

For BZ staff

At BZ we all work within the international and diplomatic fields. So languages are important for all staff. This means staff in the Netherlands need to have excellent language skills in Dutch, have a good spoken and written command of English, and preferably have a command of one or more other languages. In some cases it’s even a specific job requirement.

The Academy offers various ways to work on your language skills:

  • Regular language courses: group courses in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic, organised twice a year for staff at the ministry in The Hague. They are taught by Elycio language institute. Courses are offered at different CEFR skill levels (A1-C2).
  • Individual language courses, available in each language, to help you prepare for a posting abroad. Different types of individual language courses are available:
    • regular course (prior to departure);
    • intensive course (shortly before departure to the mission); and
    • language course at the mission (after departure).
  • Dutch language course: if you want to perfect your Dutch grammar and spelling, start with the online course, Gewoon goed Nederlands. More intensive courses are available too.

See the complete range of language courses for BZ staff (don’t forget to log in).

If you want to do a language course, first discuss it with your manager and make sure you have their approval before registering.

Language training for your partner

If you’re a BZ staff member or an attaché preparing for a posting to a mission, there are various options available for your partner to prepare for moving abroad too.

  • Language courses for partners are paid for out of the partner’s professional development (POP) allowance. Visit the 3W website to read all about the conditions your partner must meet to be eligible for the POP allowance (in Dutch only).
  • To apply for an allowance to cover your partner’s language course, visit the 3W website (in Dutch, go to Onze diensten > Vergoedingen bij uitzending naar een post > Vergoedingen tijdens de uitzending > Vergoeding Professionele Ontwikkeling Partners (POP)).

For staff of other ministries

Other central government staff who want to take a language course should ask about the options provided by their own ministry. Each ministry has its own policy on who can take language courses, where, when and who pays.

If you are an attaché taking up a post abroad, ask your ministry about the conditions for taking an individual language course. The 3W website also provides useful information about topics such as allowances (in Dutch).

BZ has general guidelines for staff who wish to take a language course to prepare for their posting abroad. When you are posted to a mission, BZ will pay for 96 hours of language classes in the language of the country concerned. You can take a course either before departure or within one year after taking up your post. Courses are often provided in blocks of 24 teaching hours. Different teaching formats are provided by various language institutes.

Language is inextricably linked to culture. The Academy offers various intercultural courses with a practical approach to help you perform your international job effectively.