The media keeps writing that if foreigners do not speak Dutch, they cannot get a job. Nonsense! First of all, 99% of the time this statement is aimed at the large Turkish and Moroccan minorities who have a completely different set of linguistic problems than ‘expats’. Second, in Amsterdam and much less in other cities, Dutch people switch to English, showing off either their English or their Dunglish. Problem is, how can expats and immigrants practice their Dutch if they are constantly answered back in English? This article by Hans Kregten gives an idea of how tough it can be for many expats who are doing their best to actually use their Dutch on the Dutch.
As for myself, after I had been living in the Netherlands for one year, people in Amsterdam stuck to Dutch. I started every sentence with “sorry, I do not speak Dutch yet” and yes, I had learnt some Dutch prior to setting up shop here by way of chatrooms, reading and finding Dutch people in my country of origin. After seven years of living here someone switched to English just yesterday and I was insulted. I asked them why they did that. They said “I heard you had an English accent.” Then I politely replied in Dutch “So do many people, does it matter?” They got shy and said “well, no”. I smiled and said, “so just stick to Dutch.”