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Happy Incuversary from the Dutch Team!

It has been 365 wonderful days since the Incubator was first released by Duolingo. Why our tiny but lovable language of Dutch was included in the beginning among such important world languages as Russian, Japanese and Chinese… well that should be a no brainer by now :)

To celebrate the Incuversary, we at the Dutch Team HQ have decided to reflect on some of the great milestones that we have experienced since the release of the Incubator.

The beginnings

As you know, the Incubator was released on October 9th last year. Around this time, in the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA, four ambitious young language enthusiasts sat behind their personal computers, did that cool knuckle-cracking thing and began typing up their applications…

Lavinae and kirlll were invited as moderators on October 31st and broke ground for the English course for Dutch speakers starting November 1st! Irked that Lavinae was to find out that kirlll had already started with the few easy beginner skills, while she was sound asleep (back when she still slept at night…).

November 26th, the first contributors were chosen. Both chosen ones - KaiEngle and Rhynn - responded to this call within 5 minutes!

They had already shown their boundless excitement in the months running up to the release of the Incubator:

First course into beta

After a long, cold, arduous December, our course reached the beta stage. Our hard work had paid off. It was a miraculous Christmas gift that Santa’s elves would be proud of. We were over the moon, but not quite prepared for all the forum building! Luckily, we did get the hang of it in due time… as Lavinae managed to find the ‘sentence discussions tab’ after all...

Reverse course begins to be built!

Then, at the beginning of the next year, Duolingo staff granted us the opportunity to also work on the reverse course! This made our day, week and month for sure!

This was an entirely different experience for all of us as we had never truly built a course from scratch. It allowed us to be really creative and approach a Duolingo course as both a teacher and learner. How do we do Duolingo? What are some of your favorite sentences in our course?

Feedback request

Before finishing our course we asked you for your feedback here: the Dutch words you really wanted to see in our course. We were so happy to see so many responses and so much enthusiasm. Here, we’d like the take the opportunity to thank you again. Thank you.


In the end, we reached beta not too long ago. Thanks for supporting us along the way. Our course is still a work in progress, but improving daily along with the help of additions to our team over the past few months, MrsKwakker and Simius. We can’t wait to see our course content improve and learners grow even further. ^^

The Dutch Team!

In the end, to provide you with some insight into how we work in the incubator, we have included these personalized sloths. How are the team dynamics?

Here is an accurate depiction of Lavinae’s avid toy giraffe collecting (she hasn’t done that for years really, but she has 100s of them in boxes…) and of her collapsing after a long day of checking reports

Here is Kai playing his guitar (he actually loves music, did you know? If so...stalker.. )

Here is Rhynn contemplating her next sentence…

Here we have Simius and MrsKwakker, struggling with the incubator formatting for the first time.

Words of thanks

Secretly, our use of sloths was inspired by Myra, because we know she likes them! Myra, thanks for supporting us so much, along the way! <3

And to you, our learners, thanks so much for giving our courses a go! We never did expect our courses to be this successful and it makes everything so worthwhile.

To all you


learners, you are owlsome.

October 9, 2014



Dank je wel for posting, Kai! Your course is awesome, and I don't remember having a better duolingo experience than when I'm translating sentences about poffertjes and vuurtorens. :) You guys are awesome! (or owlsome)

Lavinae, can you send me some of your toy giraffes? I'm sure you have plenty to spare.


But of course, Field Marshall GeniusJack!

I will send you a form which you an use for filling out your desired giraffe size, texture and color. Get back to me within a week and I'll send you some toy giraffes that match the criteria.


Thank you, Eternal Commander! He should be orange, like the House of Orange-Nassau. His texture should be silky, like tulips blooming in the spring. And he must smell like fresh-baked poffertjes. \(@ ̄∇ ̄@)/


Oh, great description there! I'm on it. ٩(^ᴗ^)۶


You guys make me understand why: De wetenschappers kwamen tot de conclusie dat Nederland debeste is.


That means so much to me, thanks :')

You've been a pleasure to have hanging around in our forum!


You're welcome, and thank you :) I don't know how much I've been in the Dutch forum, I should probably spend more time there. :)


I've seen you around... how could I mistake you and your amazing vuurtoren pic!! ;)


i came here for the sloths... but good post

<h1>Dank je wel!</h1>


Gefeliciteerd! What a great group of people you all are to make such a wonderful course! Hopefully we will travel to Europe soon and experience the Netherlands and its great people and your sweet gezelligheid there!


Thanks for your sweet words Knoxienne!

We'll keep some bakjes troost standby. ;)


Yup, such an appeal the Netherlands therefore has, an understandable destination indeed ;)

Which is why I need to get there ASAP myself!

<h1>Dank je wel. :)</h1>


Dankjewel for the course, Team Dutch! I came to Duolingo for Dutch alone, and I was not disappointed ;) back then the reverse course was not available yet, so I struggled with the Dutch-English course and eventually gave up. Now that we have English-Dutch, I'm proud to say I have finished the tree and got my first uil!


This has been one of my favorite posts to read by far, it's a really fun read. Thank so much for sharing your journey with the rest of us. :D


Thanks Oneduhhh! Have you tried our course yet?


I have... and it is fabulous!


Funny Story; where I work we have customers from the Netherlands and I just recently replied to the contact with a Dank je wel, so the person replies back and says wow that's written correctly do you have Dutch heritage or did you just use google translate?. I just responded that I use a site called Duolingo to learn languages. I'm always reading the discussions for this language so I might as well, right? :D


Thank you again Dutch team. I'm in Hong Kong doing the Dutch course (just because I can!) and I was delighted when I went into the Business Office here at school and made my Dutch colleague laugh with "Ik hoor de koeien; horen je de koeien?" I was thrilled she understood me- on the first go!


Leuk dat meer mensen kunnen proeven van de nederlandse taal! Ik denk dat het heel lastig kan zijn. Maar dankzij deze course zijn er toch weer nieuwe deuren open gegaan voor mensen die nederlands willen leren! Super gedaan!


Jullie bedankt voor het maken van de geweldige cursussen! Aan de forumposts alleen al kan je zien dat mensen er veel van leren.

Thank you guys for making the great courses! By the forum posts alone, one can see that people learn a lot from them.


Dank je wel, Duolingo! I originally came across Duo trying to learn Dutch, but I settled for German instead. Thanks so much Kai, Lavinae, Rhynn and all the other amazing polyglots who are behind Duolingo!! :D Can't wait for Japanese...


Thanks to you! I'm working on my German right now, but Dutch is definitely next on the list! Many many thanks for your effort!




I laughed so hard at the last pictures! Felicitations mes amis et amies :P



I just wanted to extend my thanks to the team. I really waited for the Dutch to appear to DL. Dutch is not a much studied language in general (unfortunately), and good resources and courses are not easy to find. As such, I think you have made a very valuable contribution.


Dankjewel, Kai, Lavinae, Rhynn, Simius and MrsKwakker <3

Deze cursus is zo, zo nuttig <3 Het hielp me... en 750.000 andere mensen! Ik gebruik geen Duolingo nu, ik leer met een maatje. Maar... Duolingo leerte me mijn eerst woorden... Ik ben zo, zo, zo dankbaar voor jouw hulp <3

If my Dutch was so bad you can't read that, then:

This course is so, so helpful <3 It helped me, and 750k other people! I do not use Duolingo now, I learn with a friend. But... Duolingo taught me my first words. I am so, so, so grateful for your help <3


Thank you so much for this course! I practice with my friend and has made both of our lives a lot more easier :) Dank je wel. But what's the difference between Flemish and Dutch (Netherlands)?


The short answer: you can roughly compare it to the difference between UK English and US English. There are many small differences and very few big ones.


I hope the Translations feature is coming soon! :)


I've been a member of Postcrossing for about a year and a half, and I'm getting a real kick out of writing to Dutch members in Dutch. I ended one postcard with "De krab eet het boek" and the receiver thought it was hilarious. :-)

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