The Language in Amsterdam: Dutch
“Welcome to Holland!” is something that I often heard on the streets of Amsterdam. The reason for this is that the Dutch have acquired a high level of English proficiency. It may not be your first choice when thinking about English-language courses (why not check out our English language library, Kudos, if this is what you’re looking for?), however, Amsterdam is an ideal place to learn English. There is nothing more romantic than riding through narrow streets on a bike, drinking a coffee at a pavement café and talking to people from all around the world.
For several years, the Netherlands has been in the top three countries of the English Proficiency Index, (it’s currently rated number 1!) which rates the level of English proficiency around the world. Almost everybody speaks English here − whether you want to buy groceries at the market, order a pint of Heineken beer, or buy a metro ticket.
According to World Population Review, The Dutch city is home to more than 170 nationalities, making it the most culturally diverse capital in Europe. English is by far the most used language, not only by expats, but also by those who are not (yet) proficient in the Dutch language. You will never feel alone as you will come across so many different nationalities in shops, restaurants or in one of the many activities organised by − and for − foreigners. So, there’s no need to feel homesick.
But, what about the Marketing campaigns in Amsterdam?
Well, something that I came to Amsterdam for but was unable to find during my quick weekend visit was the ‘globally recognised I amsterdam sculpture… So, as you can see from the photo, I settled for the I love Amsterdam seat instead! With smartphones and visual social media on the rise, the I amsterdam letters were an innovative example of how destination marketers can harness the power of marketing. Visual, user-generated content such as tourist photography plays a particularly important role as social media is increasingly based on visuals.
As a keen marketeer, I was gutted to not find (or take a selfie) with the iconic I amsterdam sign. Every destination needs that one place-indicative photo. Think of the Eiffel Tower or Brandenburger Gate. The reason why these buildings are photographed and shared on social media time and time again is because they contain the information of place. These images have ‘PARIS’ or ‘BERLIN’ written all over them and set the stage for the following images and travel narrative. These images are fundamental as they add context to our stories.
The I amsterdam sculpture elegantly brings the information of place in a meaningful way. By being able to touch, climb and photograph the sculpture, tourists could literally touch and feel the brand, something that usually is very abstract and intangible. This brings the brand to life and makes it fun to interact with.
Today, the I amsterdam letters are the city’s most important marketing weapon. Given the great success of the initial sculpture, there are now four sets of letters around the city, and other destinations are following suit. Given the vast social media success, it should come as no surprise that other destinations are mimicking Amsterdam’s brand sculpture concept. Lyon stands out as the most obvious example: the ’ONLY LYON’ sculpture was inaugurated in 2010 – five years after the first I amsterdam letters. However, none of the sculptures have reached the level of success that the I amsterdam letters have.
But Amsterdam remains the most successful destination brand on social media. Comparing user-generated branded content on Instagram, Amsterdam’s campaign has undoubtedly generated the most buzz.
At Dialogue, we keep up to speed with social media marketing trends. We offer marketing services like transcreation as well as other successful multimedia strategies such as subtitling. Book a call with us today to see how our translation services can impact your marketing campaigns to help your company cater to a global audience.