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Certificate of Dutch as a Foreign Language

Certificate of Dutch as a Foreign Language, or CNaVT (In Dutch: Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal), is an internationally recognised certificate to prove the Dutch language proficiency. The examination is managed by CNaVT- a government-subsidised non-profit organisation that is affiliated with the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. The Catholic University of Leuven conducts the examination. The CNaVT functions under the support of the Dutch Language Union.  CNaVT is also a member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE).  The examination matches to different levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CECR). The candidates can choose the profile exam as per their needs. Candidates can sit for this exam in their home country, with the assistance of the Dutch teachers present in their region. Around 2519 candidates registered for the exam worldwide in 2012. 

Usage of CNaVT 

The CNaVT certificate- PTHO and PAT exam levels are acknowledged and accepted by educational institutions in Belgium and also for immigration and working purposes. It demonstrates the candidate’s proficiency in the Dutch language.  

Dates and Deadlines

The examination happens annually in early May every year. The registration for the exam generally closes before mid-March. 

Exam Structure 

The exam has five different profiles and each profile demonstrate the Dutch proficiency levels of the candidates, i.e. their ability to read, write and speak the language in different settings. These profile exams corresponds to the different Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CECR) levels. Each profile comprises of three sections-
  • Section 1: Listening
  • Section 2: Writing
  • Section 3: Oral
In the listening section, an audio is played and based on it different tasks are to be performed.
In Reading and Writing section, texts are given and based on that perform the different tasks.
In Oral section, face-to-face conversation/interview takes place.  Oral communication of the candidates is assessed. 
Section 1 & 2 tested in a classroom context. 

*Dictionary can be used for Section 1 & 2,  for listening and writing

Profile Tourist and Informal Language (PTIT)

This profile exam corresponds to CECR level A2 and is for those individuals who wish to go in Dutch family or friends, or for those who want to interact with Dutch-speaking tourists in their own country. This profile exam mainly is for informal communication.
Communication Partners are Known people as well as Unknown people. Known people are friends and family, while Unknown people can be Tourist office Employees, etc.
  • Total Duration: 2 hours
Listening: This section is of 17 minutes.
Writing: This section lasts for 1 hour 15 minutes
Oral: This section is of 16 minutes

Profile Societal Language Proficiency (PMT)

This profile exam corresponds to CECR Level B1 and is for those individuals who are keen in knowing about the Dutch culture and language, or those who wish to live in Belgium for a long period of time. This profile exam concentrates on formal communication.
Communication Partners are- Known: Acquaintances as well as Unknown: Bank clerks.
  • Total Duration: 2 hours 50 minutes
Listening: This section lasts for 56 minutes.
Writing: This section is of 1 hour 40 minutes
Oral: The duration of section is 12 minutes

Profile Professional Language Proficiency (PPT)

This profile exam corresponds to CECR Level B2 and is for those individuals who require the knowledge of Dutch within administrative and service tasks, such as operator, administrative assistant, bank clerk, representative, secretary, tour guide, receptionist, etc.
Communication Partners are generally unknown like Customers, while there are certain known people like Colleagues. 
  • Total Duration: 3 hours
Listening: This time allotted for this section is 1 hour.
Writing: This section is of 1 hour 40 minutes
Oral: This section is of 16 minutes

Profile Language Proficiency Higher Education (PTHO)

 This profile exam corresponds to CECR level B2 and is for those individuals who wish to take admittance into the Dutch-speaking higher education institution. This level certificate holder can read, write and speak well in Dutch.  
Communication partners are generally well known like friends, or fellow students. Unknown people are also there like professors or fellow students. 
  • Total Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Listening: This section is of 1 hour 15 minutes.
Writing: This section lasts for 1 hour 55 minutes
Oral: This section is for 20 minutes

Profile Academic Language Proficiency (PAT)

This profile exam corresponds to CECR level C1 and is for those who are at the end of their programme for Dutch as a foreign language and wish to teach Dutch as a foreign language. Also, individuals who wish to work in a Dutch-speaking setting also may go for this exam. It mainly emphasize on formal communication.  
Communication Partners are mostly unknown. Though there are a few known communication partners too. Unknown are audience, students etc., while known are teachers, fellow students, colleagues, etc.
  •  Total Duration: 3 hours
Listening: This section is for 1hour 25 minutes.
Writing: This section is for 1 hour 45 minutes
Oral: This section is for 20 minutes

Registration and Fees

You can register for the exam by the Dutch teacher. Fill out the registration form and then the Dutch teacher would submit it to the CNaVT secretariat.  Or can even register digitally through the official website-CNaVT 
The fee varies.

Results and Scoring

The Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium checks the examination papers. The marking is done by the University and results are declared in July.  Certificate is issued to the Candidates who have passed the examination.  It indicates that the candidate can speak, write, and read in Dutch in certain settings. The passing score of the examinations varies in different profile exams.

For any questions related to the exam, contact CNaVT Secretariat-

CNaVT Secretariat
Sonia De Becker and Rudy Michiels 
Joyous 7 - bus 2219 
B 3000 Leuven 
Tel: 32 (0) 16 32 55 16 
E-mail: cnavt@arts.kuleuven .be
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