Today is Monday and that means–in my agenda at least–that Dutch lessons are tonight. I'm actually improving in my Dutch abilities quite swiftly with these formal lessons of mine. I'm currently studying-slash-preparing for the NT2, which is the big-official test that you need to pass to be considered a Dutch speaker in the eyes of the Dutch government. The population of Amsterdam is more or less 50% ethnic/native Dutch, and 50% non-native Dutchies, mostly of non-European decent. So you see, Amsterdam is quite linguistically varied, and speaking Dutch is by no means a necessity if you live in this tiny village on the North Sea. But, if you do speak Dutch, windows and doors will be thrown open for you, and opportunities will be further abound. Not to mention that understanding written communication within the city will be second-nature, and all 'official' communication with the city itself, is much easier to confront, in Dutch. I like that my Dutch is on-par, able, and more importantly–improving day by day.
The days of pretending to understand Dutch, are over.
And that's nice.