Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9607710:

Language Barrier 10 3, 9:34pm

@Nevermore The first time I was in the Netherlands on my own, I stopped to ask directions of a woman at a bus stop in Amsterdam, I completely vaporlocked on the Dutch word for "excuse me" and said "entschuldige" instead. She smiled and said "How can I help you?" in English. I pride myself on not being *obviously* American, but it failed me that time. She was very nice about it, though!

On the other hand, there was a clerk at the train station in Venlo who claimed she didn't speak any English, which seemed peculiar considering her job...

Germany, on the other hand... my experience has been that if I address someone in German, they will continue in German unless I get obviously flustered and can't understand (unless they don't speak English, and then it turns into a lot of funny facial expressions and hand gestures). I read German fairly well, but I don't speak it well enough to have a conversation - but I can ask for directions/advice and mostly understand the response.