I first learned Dutch at school - it's certainly the easiest language to learn for most Germans. But we only speak about the basics here - to really master it is as difficult as any other language IMO.
I once saw a German guy and a German woman speaking to each other for about 5 minutes. Both thougt that the other spoke his/her own native language when in fact both tried to speak the other language. It was pretty fun to hear
I would love more German and Dutch people to try to understand the other language - with a little practice and good will we wouldn't really need English.
I really like the German state tours of the king and queen. It's a clever move - because high profile visits are pretty special for most of the visited cities and states they are well covered in the regional media.