Wil je Nederlands leren in Antwerpen?

Would you like to learn Dutch in Antwerp?

jonkemp
Jon Kemp

Hi, my name is Jon Kemp and I moved from UK to Antwerp in 2014 to work as a marine engineer for International Marine Dredging Consultancy (www.imdc.be). I had only intended to stay for one or two years but I really like the city and now it feels like home.

Although not necessary for my job, I felt it was important to learn Dutch to better integrate into my new home and I have always believed that it is good to be able to speak the language spoken in the place where you live.  So after six months of enjoying the Belgium beer, making new friends and enjoying the World Cup (although, not so much for the England performance in 2014…) I decided to enrol in a Dutch Language course and since then have tried many different courses. I felt it would be good to share my experience.

Essentially there are two main options, as explained below. These are the Linguapolis courses run by the University of Antwerp and the CVO courses (CVO Antwerpen, CVO Encora, CVO LBC & CVO Sopro), which are government subsidised courses, and so are cheaper (but not necessarily of a lesser quality).

chat-23713_640All have different options in terms of timing (day/night), number of classes per week, and locations where you can study.

Before comparing the differences in the courses, one of the main differentiators when learning Dutch is the teacher and your fellow classmates, and these can often have the biggest impact on your learning experience.

Atlas

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Image from Atlas

https://www.atlas-antwerpen.be/en

Atlas can help with integration and can find suitable courses (although they are unlikely to recommend the Linguapolis course). It should be noted that waiting times can sometimes be long or the place is busy, and if you are already working full time it can be difficult to get an appointment

 

Linguapolis

https://www.uantwerpen.be/…/taalople…/taalaanbod/nederlands/

Linguapolis runs the courses at the University of Antwerp and they state that you are supposed to have a university degree, and have learnt a second language, to enter but they don’t seem to check.

studylangGenerally their course notes are well-presented in a bound book for each of the 5 levels. These courses have a solid focus on correct grammar and generally provide excellent teaching and explanation of the grammar and the rules. The courses move quickly, and you will get quite a lot of homework, which you will need to do if you want to pass the exams and keep up with the lessons.

Their Level 1 course gets you to a Level A2 in 10 -15 weeks, which would typically take you longer if you followed the CVO courses. Although there is speaking in the class, correct speaking is a key focus (e.g. ensuring inversion is used) over general conversation and simply ‘getting by’. The method of marking exams is stringent and is called negative marking. For example, if you have 15 questions and 10 points, you get a minus point for every wrong answer, meaning you could have 5 correct answers but still score 0. The price is high compared to the CVO courses though.

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Chart showing language level equivalences. (source)

CVO Vitant

CVO stands for Centrum Voor Volwassenonderwijs, and is essentially the umbrella name for adult education. There are several CVO schools in Antwerp and all follow, more or less, the same language trajectory i.e. 1.1 to 4.2 (see image above).

Sopromaterial
course books

In Antwerp there are four institutions operating along this style: CVO Antwerpen, CVO Encora, CVO LBC & CVO Sopro and all have various schools located around Antwerp. CVO LBC and CVO Sopro have a nice bound book from which to work, while CVO Antwerpen and CVO Encora provide a folder and A4 handouts. Focus tends to be on using the language and learning by use with less in the way of detailed explanation of grammar and rules. The quality is mainly dictated by the teacher and the experience you have is also influenced by your fellow classmates.

Useful links

CVO Antwerpen: http://www.cvoantwerpen.be/v…/nederlands-voor-anderstaligen/ (can see directly the availability of the courses, is also in English)

CVO Encora: https://www.stedelijkonderwijs.be/…/nederlands-voor-anderst…

(also have something called open classes, which include some self-study, with some workshops)

CVO LBC http://antwerpen.lbconderwijs.be/content/nederlands

CVO Sopro http://www.sopro.be/

Summary

Each course has its own advantages and disadvantages. The Linguapolis exams are more difficult (e.g. I passed level 3.2 at a CVO school with 77%, but failed Linguapolis Level 4 afterwards – they are both supposed to be to a B2 level in the European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Anyway, I hope you find this brief overview of some of the available options for learning Dutch in Antwerp useful. In addition to these options, there are private teachers and a school called Berlitz. There are also Facebook and meet-up groups that organise social meet ups where you can practise your new Dutch skills. Happy learning!

 

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This weekend in Antwerp: 14th, 15th & 16th June

Friday

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Atlas op het plein is an event organised by Atlas, integratie & inburgering Antwerpen, which provides help, support and information for those arriving from other countries to settle in Antwerp. Atlas op het Plein is a chance to socialise with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures, and to have a good time: there will be a conversation café, music, workshops and child-friendly activities -starts at 4pm.

Jazz fans – check out this free Jazz Bar Tour: eleven Antwerp bars offering live Jazz music across the course of the evening. Most are in the Sint Andries area of the city, but some are a little further afield, however I think with a little planning, the walking distance is not too great, and a bike would make this even easier.

This week’s addition to the Antwerp summer bar scene can be found at Plein Publiek where they open their Congé Summer bar from 5pm.

Saturday

62307314_560860957653533_2036524160045285376_oThere’s a lot going on in the Dam area of Antwerp:-

You can come and enjoy some Basketball on Damplein …

Or browse local fresh produce at Kraakvers Farmers’ Market

or join in the Trottinettenkoers (fun bike race) and neighbourhood street party.

Back in the town centre Beerlovers Bar (de Coninkplein) turns three. Lovers of Belgian and craft beer should head to Beerlovers Bar 3rd birthday.

And if you didn’t get enough Jazz at the Friday night event, there’s a mini-jazz festival starting at 6pm in Borgerhout, hosted by Madame Fortuna VZW.

On Groenplaats, look out for vintage trams, music and vintage costume (from 1pm) as the tram museum prepares to open to the public tomorrow (see Sunday). The re-opening will also be celebrated at the Zomerfeest Groenenhoek 2019 neighbourhood party which is nearby the new museum, from 11am.

Sunday

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images courtesy of Kleur je Oma

Kleur je Oma is an event that’s a little further away than those I usually include, but what is not to like about this great idea? It’s an art project for anyone who has a beloved grandparent who is gone but not forgotten. You can submit a photo of your grandparent (Oma or Opa) to the project which makes colouring pages of your picture. You can email the photo to foto@kleurjeoma.be or attend the event (from 2pm -5pm) in Park Sorghvliedt and bring your picture with you. The images and stories will become part of an exhibition, taking place in July. The event is the brainchild of artist Elske van Lonkhuyzen, and Antwerp’s very own city poet Maud van Hauwaert.

Strip en Boekenplein takes place on de Conninckplein as is usual for the third Sunday of the month. Cheap books and graphic novels for all lovers of book browsing.

Thanks to Stephanie for getting in touch to let me know that on Sunday the Vlaams Tram en Autobus Museum in Berchem (pic below, courtesy of VlaTAM Facebook page) is reopening (following a period of closure for rennovation) at 2pm. On Sundays throughout July, vintage trams will be riding between Groenplaats and the museum at 1.45pm, 3pm, 4.15pm and 5pm.

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Markt van Morgen with it’s local, cheerful selection of creatives offering fashion, jewellery, stationery and accessories for sale is on Kloosterstraat from midday until 6pm.

The weather should become nicer after a drizzly week at times -top temps of 22 degrees, though there could still be showers on Saturday.

Miscellaneous

On Monday on Nessascityblog I am publishing a guest post by Jon Kemp who has experience of various different language courses available to those who wish to learn Dutch in Antwerp. Don’t forget to check in if you think it’s time to brush up on your Dutch language skills -there will be tips about how and where to find a course that’s right for you.

Sinksenfoor has opened at Park Spoor Oost! The traditional Antwerp fair will be open daily until the 7th July.

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 19.28.55It’s show time at BATS VZW! don’t forget to order your tickets for their annual Variety Showhow via their website -this year’s extravaganza is a riot of colour and fun, and there are still a few tickets available (particularly for Sunday night).

The complete Antwerp summer programme (Zomer van Antwerpen) was released on 28th May at http://www.zva.be/ -get in early for ticketed events that you are interested in. Helpfully, there are English and French versions of the programme in downloadable pdf form.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd & 24th June

Here’s the map!

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 19.31.34Good times! It’s Bier Passie Weekend over the whole weekend on Groenplaats. Bier Passie opens on Friday at 5. The opening hours for Saturday 1pm -midnight; and for Sunday – 11am -8pm. Sample many different beers by buying and picking up a glass and your jetons (2 euros each) before you make your way around the selection of 200+ different beers.

 

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Over both days in the Klapdor- Paardemarkt- Falconplein -Varkensmarkt area it’s Ramblas Antwerpen rest assured this event is ON, despite confusion caused by an online announcement that Ramblas 2017 would be the last one. I am assured that this one will be a great edition of this busy neighbourhood street party, and many streets in the area will be car-free, to make way for the live performances, kids’ activities and food & drink.

Friday

Atlas  is an organisation which helps newcomers and non-natives to feel at home in Antwerp. They can help you integrate, understand Belgian culture, access services and find out where to learn Dutch.

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Atlas op het Plein is an event on Theaterplein which showcases their work, and the theme of making connections in the community. The idea is to go along, meet people of different cultures while additionally enjoying something very Belgian: frietjes! (fries). There will also be drinks, kids’ entertainment (baking fortune cookies together; children’s theatre on a bus; face painting and henna (NL: ‘Kindergrime en henna-tattoo’); arts & crafts (NL: ‘tekenen en knutselen’); Rollerdisco for kids 8+). There will be DJs & music until 10pm.

Beerlovers Bar on de Coninckplein is a bar which I really like and this weekend it celebrates its second birthday. Enjoy an extra 8 beers on draught on Friday night, and/ or come along for further festivities (and World Cup football) from 13.30pm on Saturday. Beerlovers is definitely an Antwerp bar worth knowing about.

Saturday

borgerriocollageBorgerrio takes over the Turnhoutsebaan today! Streets will be cordoned off to keep this event traffic free and things will be busy from 11am at the heart of this most multi-cultural of neighbourhoods. The highlight is the hugely colourful parade which takes place from 3.30pm, but there’s also food, music, local selling & info stands, plus a special program of kids activities to enjoy all day. This year is the added bonus of the Belgium -Tunisia World Cup game showing in the evening. Borgerrio is free, and festivities continue until 8pm.

Sunday

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Lambermontmartre

It’s Lambermontmartre, down by KMSKA. This monthly art market showcases and offers for sale the work of local artists, painters and photographers. There’s a Ricard bar, as well as other drinks and snacks. There’s also always live music (2.30pm and 5pm) and a relaxed atmosphere: just right for a Sunday afternoon.

Port of Antwerp are holding a picnic in the harbour – register via the link for a family event with a varied menu (including fruit, sandwiches, chocolate, salads, cookies, coffee)  for just 5 euros pp. Half of the money raised will go to Mercy Ships: a hospital boat which provides treatment and care to people in sub-saharan African nations (including children) who cannot afford it.

Miscellaneous

Tickets for the ticketed events on the Zomer van Antwerpen agenda are now for sale via the program page of  the ZVA website.

The OLT (Rivierenhof) has a summer music program. Info and tickets here.

The Baroque Antwerpen program is underway.

Next Wednesday is the last of the month, so Antwerp city museums are free on that day.

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Last chance to visit Sinksenfoor (annual funfair) in Park Spoor Oost and it is HUGE. We went  and had a great time. It’s on until Sunday. And you can print out some vouchers for deals and reductions on rides & food here.

For World Cup Big Screen action try the Irish Bars (An Sibhin, Molly’s, Irish Times & Kelly’s). Games are also being shown on the big screen at Dagerraadplaats, The Hyundai Fan Village, Bar Nord, Bar Leon and at de Koninck brewery. Here is the schedule of World Cup matches. Do you know of other fun venues to watch the games? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

I’m publishing an extra post about Casa de Sonny on Monday -keep an eye out for that if you are interested in the Antwerp music scene.

I will be taking a month off from mid July- mid August. There will be a summer post with some key links and events to cover this period.

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