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Our Useful Guide on How to Say Goodbye in Dutch

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How do you say goodbye in Dutch? This is a big question, because your parting words will leave a lasting impression, for better or worse. 

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve already studied How to Say Hello in Dutch and How to Introduce Yourself in Dutch. Now it’s time to master the art of a perfect Dutch goodbye. Every situation—from leaving the office or chatting with friends, to parting ways with your Dutch lover—calls for a different type of goodbye. This article will teach you what to say, and what not to say, in any situation! 

Don’t be afraid; it doesn’t have to be that difficult. In fact, you can choose for yourself how difficult you want it to be. We’ve divided this article into sections that cover:

  • The two most common ways to say goodbye in Dutch
  • Six specific ways to say goodbye
  • The weirdest Dutch goodbyes 
  • Dutch goodbye gestures

Let’s avoid the awkward goodbyes. Make a grand exit with this useful guide on how to say goodbye in Dutch!

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. The Two Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Dutch
  2. Specific Ways to Say Bye in Dutch
  3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Dutch
  4. Dutch Culture: Goodbye Gestures
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. The Two Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Dutch

A Dutch Woman Saying Goodbye

While there are several ways to say goodbye in the Dutch language, there are two words we recommend you memorize right away: 

Dag[Formal](“Goodbye”)
Doei[Casual](“Bye”)

These two expressions can be used in almost any situation, whether formal or informal.

Are you leaving a work meeting, a dentist’s office, a fancy shop, or another type of formal environment? Then you can say Dag. Or are you saying goodbye to friends, family, colleagues, or someone else you’re casual with? Then you can say Doei.

These are two easy options, and we recommend sticking with them if you’re struggling with your Dutch. But you should still try to challenge yourself a bit more. In the next section, we’ll teach you how to use a variety of Dutch goodbye phrases for any situation. 

2. Specific Ways to Say Bye in Dutch

Most Common Goodbyes

A- Casual Goodbyes

Let’s start with the most common way to say goodbye in a casual setting:

Doei![Casual](“Bye!”)
Instead of Doei, you can also use Doeg or Doe-Doei. These are playful alternatives with the same meaning and vibe. They’re perfect for more casual settings. 

Now, let’s have a look at some alternative Dutch phrases for goodbye when dealing with friends, relatives, colleagues, or other people you know well.

Zie je (later).[Very casual](“See you [later].”) 
(Tot) Later.[Very casual](“[See you] Later.”)
Tot gauw.[Very casual](“See you soon.”)
Tot means “until,” so this basically translates to “until soon/later,” and it’s a casual way to say “See you soon/later.” It’s also common to only say Zie je or Later.
  • Later is an easy goodbye for English-speakers, but be aware that the pronunciation is different (the a has a long sound).

Bye![Casual](“Bye!”)
Peace.[Very casual](“Peace.”)
Bye and Peace have been integrated into the Dutch vocabulary. Bye is a rather common way to say goodbye. Peace is less common, and it’s mostly used by adolescents and younger people.

Peace
Houdoe![Casual](“Bye!”)
Have you been to the southern part of the Netherlands? Then you may have heard this special way of saying goodbye. It’s used in the dialects of parts of Noord-Brabant, Gelderland, and Limburg. Don’t ever say houdoe (“above the rivers“) when you’re in the northern part of the Netherlands, as people may make fun of you. But whenever you’re in the south and hear other people use it, feel free to say the cheerful Houdoe in casual settings!  

B- The Formal Goodbye

Okay, let’s move on. Here’s how to say goodbye in Dutch when you’re in a more formal setting: 

Dag.[Formal](“Goodbye.”) 
Tot ziens.[Formal](“Goodbye.” / “See you.”) 
Tot ziens literally means “Until seeings,” and in English, it’s comparable to a more formal “See you.”

You can’t go wrong with these two common expressions!

The Formal Goodbye with a Handshake

C- Have a Good One

Let’s continue with this formal vibe. Another formal way to say goodbye is to wish the person a nice day, weekend, evening, etc.

Fijne dag.[Formal](“Have a nice day.”)
Prettige dag.[Very formal](“Have a pleasant day.”)
Prettig weekend.[Very formal](“Have a pleasant weekend.”)
This is the blueprint for creating a variety of Dutch goodbye phrases. You can adjust it for any day or part of the week, keeping in mind that the adjectives Fijn/Fijne (“Nice”) and Prettig/Prettige (“Nice”) must agree with the object.

You can just use Fijn(e) or Prettig(e) and add the appropriate word to the end. For example: dag (“day”), avond (“evening”), weekend (“weekend”), vakantie (“holiday”), verblijf (“stay”), etc. 

D- Tot ___. (“See you ___.”)

As we already mentioned, we use tot for “see you” goodbyes. This is a very common way to say goodbye in the Netherlands, and it’s used to indicate that you’ll see, talk to, or meet the other person again. So don’t use it randomly with people you probably won’t see again, as the Dutch take this expression quite literally. 

If you will be seeing them again soon, you can use one of these Dutch goodbyes:

Tot straks.[Neutral](“See you soon.”)
Tot later.[Neutral](“See you later.”)
Tot gauw.[Casual](“See you soon.”)
Tot zo.[Neutral](“See you soon.”)
This is a friendly way to say goodbye if you know that you’re going to see the other person soon (like if you have an appointment with them or know that you’ll bump into them at work).

What if you will be seeing them again, but not very soon? Here are some phrases you can use and adjust as needed:

Tot de volgende keer.[Neutral](“See you next time.”)
Tot morgen.[Neutral](“See you tomorrow.”)
Tot vanavond.[Neutral](“See you tonight.”)
Tot volgende week.[Neutral](“See you next week.”)
Here, you can just use Tot and add the day of the week or time that’s applicable. 

Finally, there’s another “see you” goodbye in Dutch that isn’t linked to a fixed moment. It refers, in a more general sense, to the next time you’ll see, hear, or write each other:

Tot horens.[Neutral](“Until hearings.” / “Until we hear from each other again.”)
Tot mails.[Neutral](“Until emailings.” / “Until we talk again by email.”)
Tot kijk.[Neutral](“See you.” / “Until we see each other again.”)
As you can see, these goodbyes don’t refer to a specific moment in time. You assume that you’ll hear from, write, or see each other again, but you don’t exactly know when.

E- When in a Hurry… 

How do you say goodbye in Dutch when you’re in a hurry? You need to go soon, but you also want to be polite and say your goodbyes (you definitely don’t want to ghost your hosts and go without saying anything!). Here are some phrases you can use to excuse yourself:

Ik moet er vandoor.[Casual](“I have to run.”)
Ik moet gaan.[Neutral](“I have to go.”)
We recommend that you use one of these sentences, followed by one of the goodbyes we mentioned earlier. For example:
  • Ik moet er vandoor, tot de volgende keer. (“I have to run, see you next time.”)
  • Ik moet gaan, fijne dag! (“I have to go, have a nice day!”)

These Goodbyes Are Perfect For When You’re in a Hurry

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Dutch

Every language has its peculiarities, and Dutch is no exception. Here are some of the strangest ways to say goodbye in Dutch: 

De mazzel![Very casual](Literally, it means “The measles,” but it is used to say “Bye.”)
De ballen![Very casual](Literally, it means “The balls,” but it is used to say “Bye.”)
Aju paraplu![Very casual](“Adieu umbrella!”)
Toedeledokie![Very casual](Similar to “Cheerio”)
As you can see, these weird ways of saying goodbye in Dutch don’t have any logical direct translation in English. Take de mazzel or aju paraplu for example. They don’t make a lot of sense when translated into English, and they don’t really make much sense in Dutch either. They’re just weird and corny ways to say goodbye in Dutch.

These untranslatable goodbye phrases in Dutch aren’t used very often, so when you use them as a foreigner, you’ll definitely surprise the Dutch (and maybe even make them laugh). But remember to never use these in formal settings!

4. Dutch Culture: Goodbye Gestures

Like in many other countries, the most common gesture for saying goodbye in the Netherlands is to wave. That said, there are some settings in which it may be a bit impersonal. So what can you do if you want to make your goodbye more personal?

1- The handshake

The handshake is a perfect goodbye gesture in more formal Dutch settings: after finishing a business meeting, when saying goodbye to your physician, or for a goodbye after meeting your Dutch parents-in-law. 

Just give a firm (but not too firm!) handshake to the people present. If there are a lot of people, then it may be better to just wave; you shouldn’t shake hands with only a few people in a group, because this is seen as impolite. 

Men often shake hands in more casual settings (for example, between friends), while women only use it in more formal settings.

2- The kiss or the hug

Saying Goodbye in Dutch with a Kiss on the Cheek

One kiss or a hug may be given to close friends and family members when saying goodbye, but this varies between groups of friends and families. Sometimes, just saying goodbye with a wave is adequate; but in other social settings, people are used to giving each other a kiss on the cheek or a hug. 

Just try to copy the behavior of other people in the social setting. And whenever you’re in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a simple goodbye and a wave. 


5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned everything you need to know about how to say goodbye in Dutch for a variety of situations. You even know the weirdest untranslatable Dutch goodbyes and the gestures you should do with them.

Do you know now how to say goodbye in Dutch? You’ve learned a lot, but do you feel ready to use this information to make your grand exit? 

Or would you like to improve your Dutch first? Have a look at DutchPod101’s many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings. This way, you can practice your Dutch language skills and make sure you leave a great impression when you say hello and goodbye in Dutch.

Would you like a bit more help? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching through our premium MyTeacher service. Boost your Dutch speaking skills with your private teacher and the interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips he or she will provide you with.

Let’s say goodbye like a real Dutchie! Toedeledokie! 

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