All you need to know about the Dutch civic integration exam, also referred to as "inburgeringsexamen"


For many people relocating to the Netherlands and the maze of procedures and "how-to's", when doing so, prove to be quite a headache. We provide advice and assistance to our students with these topics on a daily basis, we decided to compile this article to help others with some of the most common questions we are asked. One of our most frequent answers: If you are a spouse of a Dutch national, you want to get Dutch citizenship or permanent residence, you will have to pass the Dutch integration exam ( het inburgeringsexamen) first.
In this series of articles we give you more information, hints and tips on the 'inburgeringsexamen', to improve your chances in passing the exam.

1. Two types of inburgeringsexamen. 

The first thing to know is that there are two types of 'inburgeringsexamen'.
The basic integration exam or M.V.V.-toets is for spouses of Dutch nationals. If this is you, click here for more info.

The regular civic integration exam or 'inburgeringsexamen' is for anybody from outside the EU, who wants to get Dutch citizenship or permanent residence. We will discuss the regular civic integration exam more into detail in this blog.  

2. General information about the 'Inburgeringsexamen'. 

If you want to become a permanent resident or a Dutch citizen, you need to prove that you have, or are able to, integrate into Dutch society. Topics covered are based on daily Dutch life and practices. Most of these are fairly common and similar to daily life in most of the western world, only with Dutch characteristics. 

For this exam, a language proficiency level of A2 is required, but from 2023 the bar will be raised to B1 level in accordance with the Common European framework of reference or CEFR.

This A2 level tests your ability to participate in daily conversation, such as with your child's teacher, a colleague etc. and can also describe experiences and events such as, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. You need to be able to understand most of what is said, especially the key points, as well as be able to respond in an intelligible manner both in speech and writing. Native level proficiency is not expected but rather the ability to use short connected and coherent sentences. For more on the different CEFR levels: klik here 

Would you like to know your current Dutch level? Feel free to use our level indicator. 

3. 6 Exam components 

The exam is broken down into 6 separate tests.

1. Reading
You will be presented with text to read on which you are tested with a multiple choice questionnaire. For more detailed information with some hints and tips about the reading exam, follow this link

2. Listening
Here you are either shown video clips or listen to audio clips after which you will be required to answer multiple choice questionnaire on the clips. Click here to up your chances to pass the listening test. 

3. Writing
To pass this exam you will have to write practical texts in Dutch. Click here for more information. 

4. Speaking
You will be required to answer some questions in Dutch. This link will guide you through the steps of taking the Speaking exam. 

5. Kennis van de Nederlandse maatschappij (KNM)
This multiple choice test is about your knowledge of Dutch society, customs and habits which you need to know if you want to be a Dutch citizen or permanent resident. Click here for more information about the KNM exam

6. Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt
Here its all about work and employment. You have a discussion about the various related aspects with an official from  DUO as well as hand in a professional portfolio. Here you can find out more about it.

Once you passed these tests you will receive a integration diploma from your gemeente.

4. How long will the proces take?

To complete the process, from application to recieving your diploma, takes on average one year. This can be greatly influenced by how far appart your exam dates are scheduled as well as if you pass all the tests the first time.

Here is a breakdown:
When you apply for the exams you can choose which exams you would like to do first and you can choose an exam date. The dates are about 4 weeks from the date of your application.

The results of the exams are given 8 weeks after completion meaning each exam runs in a 12 week cycle. For every exam you need to re-do, you can add another 12 week delay to completion so needless to say that preparation is key. 

The inburgerringexamen should be viewed as a medium term project with significant personal investment, if you want to pass the first time.

There are instances where someone is exempt from part or even the entire exam. Here is a detailed list on who can apply.
If your circumstances match any on the list, contact DUO for more information. Office hours are from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00 CET. The telephone number is (050) 599 96 00, or click here to go directly to their contact page. 

We have a tailored beginners course, to cover all aspects of the integration exam. The course covers all the aspects of the various tests in one place. For more info about our courses click here. We also provide help with the ONA exam.
 Contact us now to sign up or enquire. We are here to help you with the Dutch language as well as all the information you need about Learning Dutch Online.