First Dutch school in South Florida

When Marleen and Bart immigrated to the United States in 2005, Marleen was pregnant of their eldest son. Little did she know that 5 years later he would be her inspiration to start a new Dutch school in South Florida. With a team of 10 volunteers she plans to open a new Dutch language and culture school in September 2010.

Marleen and Bart speak Dutch at home, though some English will occasionally slip in. In the early years in the States they had limited contact with other Dutch people but when their kids became of ‘Sinterklaas age’ they got in touch with other Dutch people to maintain the traditions. There's an active Dutch club in Florida with many young families. Marleen realized there's a need for a school where children can improve their Dutch and she started an initiative group,

Setting up a Dutch school
The Saturday-morning school will target children of Dutch expats and immigrants. "A relatively large part of the Dutch American community in Florida is staying permanently", says Marleen. The school expects children of different ages. "We're aiming for kids from 4 to 12 years old. They will be divided into smaller groups during the lessons, probably three levels, and the teacher will teach them with help of volunteers". The school will provide classes on Saturday mornings; each two to four hours per week.

A list of children that is interested has been drawn up. "We have about 30 families that are seriously interested and the registration will start soon", says Marleen. The initiative group is working out various details. The school will cover Broward County, Miami Dade County and West Palm Beach County. The school will be located in Davie in Broward County, right in the middle of the three counties.

The fee for the school is $600 per child per year. The second child in the family will get a 25% discount; the third 50%. There's a one-time registration fee of $100. A website for the school is in the works, as well as a Facebook page and a Hyves page.

Commitment is required
Marleen explains the required commitment: "The kids have to be between 4 and 12 years old. Beside that, at least one of the parents has to speak Dutch at home. It is impossible to learn or keep up the Dutch language with only a few hours in class. The kids have to speak Dutch actively at home to see progress in their language skills".

The initiative has received a lot of positive responses, from students as well as volunteers. Marleen is looking forward to a bright future for the first Dutch language and culture school in South Florida. Marleen: "We have a great initiative group and great families so all ingredients are here for a successful result!"

If you're interested in the school contact Marleen via email or phone. The school is also still looking for a qualified teacher in Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur (NTC).

Marleen Ariens-Tessel
954 389 1704



I think this is a great idea! Our family moved to the states when I was 2 and I basically lost all my Dutch language skills by high school since my mother remarried an American and we spoke English at home.

At 32, I now regret not being able to speak Dutch and even though I am an American Citizen (since 16) I still feel Dutch at heart.

I feel the same way. I have lived in America for so long that my Dutch has become just a passing fancy. I am now on livemocha trying to reteach myself. Having a Dutch school is a terrific idea!!

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This is Ria, in North Carolina. We are aiming at a Dutch school in NC, in the triangle Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.
THis past year we have been teaching kids and adults. Problem is that renting space was expensive so we are teaching from people's homes but distance is always a problem for one or more parents wherever you are located. I was wondering if you are experiencing this too. I am also wondering if you have the programme from the Dutch Embassy. We are not an official school yet and have our students pay 100 dollars per 10 lessons but think we may need to raise that amount. One of us teaches amall kids up to the age that they can start reading but than for the group starting at age 6 or 7 up to 12 we do not have enough kids to make it work for a teacher. Can I ask what methods you use or are you preparing your own material. I just found the website on facebook The Dutch in America. And then your news on the news section. I would also like to know how you reached your target group.
I would be very thankful for your response.

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My partner and i would really love to learn Dutch. We have been trying to find a school, but unfortunately they only teach German or french... My best friend is from the Netherlands and she comes to visit me every year. We would really love to be fluent in the language. Can you give us information about how much the classes will be and when and where they will take place.


Hi, wat is jullie address, wij willen volgend jaar zomer naar Florida verhuizen, dan kan ik kijken of ik in de buurt kan gaan zitten.

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mijn naam is karin, en ik woon in florida (pompano beach) since 1990, (feel so old when I say 1990)
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laat mij weten als je school start.

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