I’ve been asked this question a few times recently, so I thought that it would be a great subject for a post!
Can you really get the most out of Efteling if you don’t speak Dutch?
Many of us English folk do not happen to speak Dutch, so it can be a little difficult at times to understand certain things on your visit to Efteling.
There are two main language barrier issues that you’ll come across at Efteling, from my experience. The first is understanding some of the attractions, and the second is ordering food (although there seems to be more English menus available upon request than there used to be).
As far as attractions are concerned, lets start with the Fairy Tale Forest (Sprookjesbos). Will you understand each tale by standing and listening to it? No. Most of the fairy tales you will be familiar with, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, but the ones you don’t know are impossible to understand if you know no Dutch. To help combat the language barrier, Efteling have provided decorative books next to each fairy tale, which tell the tale in 4 languages. Illustrated Efteling story books are also available at the gifts shops, making perfect reading for the nights you are staying at the park!
The two pre-shows in Villa Volta are totally in Dutch, so here’s your chance to practice your acting skills and pretend like you’re listening and taking in every word! There are boards outside on the wall however, explaining the story in multiple languages, so use your waiting time wisely by reading them.
When it comes to food, you want to know what you’re ordering, and as mentioned above, Efteling now has English menus available at most of their restaurants. Click here for Polle’s Keuken menu (2012). The vast majority of the staff members also speak English (and other languages) and are always happy to help a confused foreigner!
The park maps are multi-lingual, and the Efteling app and the website are now available totally in English too!
If you want to get a better understanding of some of the stories and attractions at Efteling before your visit, then make sure to check out this site where my friend Milena has translated all of the stories and many of the attractions at Efteling.
Although there is a lot of Dutch used in Efteling, many more attractions rely purely on visuals and music and the language barrier, when it does surface, certainly does not detract from this fabulous park!