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80+ Basic Dutch Phrases for Beginners


How many Dutch phrases do you know? Does it ever feel like you don’t know enough Dutch to handle the different situations that pop up every day? 

It can be frustrating not being able to explain or express yourself due to having a limited vocabulary. But having access to an extensive set of basic Dutch phrases for beginners will surely help you feel more confident about using the Dutch language. 

Luckily, you don’t have to know everything. Learning even a few Dutch beginner phrases will be enough to help you manage yourself in everyday situations and speak with clarity. 

In this article, we’ll list essential Dutch phrases for beginners that will allow you to communicate in Dutch. We have included greetings, self-introductions, goodbyes, courtesy phrases, dining and shopping phrases, and phrases you can use to ask for help. By the time you reach the end, you’ll know the best Dutch beginner phrases for a wide variety of situations.

A Woman Sitting at a Laptop with Headphones On

Let’s master these Dutch beginner phrases!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Greetings, Self-introductions, and Goodbyes
  2. Courtesy Phrases
  3. Dining and Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Greetings, Self-introductions, and Goodbyes

First, to make a great first impression, it’s important to get your Dutch greetings right. There are different greetings for different situations, from formal gatherings to more casual social encounters. When in doubt, remember that Hallo (“Hello”) is always a great option as it works well in both formal and casual situations.

[Formal or casual]

[Formal or casual]
Good morning.

[Formal or casual]
Good evening.

Hallo meneer. 
Hello, sir.

Goedemorgen mevrouw. 
Good morning, madam.

Now that you have given your Dutch greeting, you may want to ask how they’re doing. Here are some basic Dutch phrases you could use:

Hoe gaat het met u? 
Alles goed? 
How are you?
Literally: How are you going?Literally: Everything fine?

Goed, dank u. 
Ja, alles prima. 
I am good, thank you.Yes, everything is fine.
Literally: Good, thank you.

Would you like to keep the conversation going? In case you don’t know the other person, you can use the following Dutch beginner phrases to begin introductions. 

Wat is uw naam? 
Hoe heet je? 
What’s your name?

Ik heet Mark. 
[Formal or casual]
My name is Mark.

Ik ben Kim. 
I am Kim.

Waar komt u vandaan? 
Waar kom je vandaan? 
Where are you from?

Waar woont u? 
Waar woon je? 
Where do you live?

Ik ben Duits.
I’m German.

Ik woon in Parijs.
I live in Paris.

Ik kom uit Argentinië.
I’m from Argentina.
    → Not sure what the Dutch name for your nationality or country is? You can find your nationality (along with its pronunciation) on this vocabulary list and the name of your country on this one.

Hoe oud bent u? 
Hoe oud ben je? 
How old are you?

Ik ben dertig jaar oud.
I’m thirty years old.

Aangenaam (kennis te maken). 
[Formal or casual]
Nice to meet you.
Literally: Nice to get to know you.

You can either say aangenaam by itself or use the whole phrase (aangenaam kennis te maken). Both versions are perfectly fine for formal situations; in more casual settings, it sounds better to just say aangenaam.

Leuk u te ontmoeten. 
Leuk je te ontmoeten. 
Nice to meet you.

Het was leuk u gesproken te hebben. 
Het was leuk je gesproken te hebben.
It was nice talking to you.

All good things must come to an end. Here are some beginner phrases in Dutch that are perfect for ending a conversation and saying goodbye.

A Woman Waving to Someone

How do you say goodbye in Dutch?

[Formal or casual]

Tot ziens. 
[Formal or casual]
Literally: Until seeing you.

Tot later! 
See you later!
Literally: Until later.

Tot morgen. 
See you tomorrow.
Literally: Until tomorrow.

[Formal or casual]
Good luck.

Veel plezier! 
Have fun!

2. Courtesy Phrases

The Dutch might not be the politest people in the world, but there are certain manners that the Dutch highly appreciate. To give you a leg up in social settings, we have included a list of useful Dutch phrases for beginners that are considered polite and courteous in the Netherlands. Make sure to use these courtesy phrases whenever appropriate to leave a good impression on others. 

Excuseer me. 
Excuse me.
This phrase is used to catch someone’s attention before asking for something, or to apologize in advance for an inconvenience.

For example: 
  • Excuseer me, weet u hoe laat het is? (“Excuse me, do you know the time?”) [Formal]
  • Sorry, weet je hoe laat het is? (“Sorry, do you know the time?”) [Casual]

Literally: If it pleases you.

[Formal or casual]
Thank you.

Dank u wel. 
Dank je wel. 
Thank you.

Graag gedaan. 
[Formal or casual]
You’re welcome.

(Dat is) geen probleem. 
That’s no problem.

If, despite your best efforts, you make a mistake and want to apologize for it, you can keep it simple:

[Formal or casual]

Het spijt me. 
[Formal or casual]
I’m sorry.

Neem me niet kwalijk. 
Excuse me.

A Little Kid Holding Pencils and Pouting

Use these simple Dutch beginner phrases when you’re sorry.

    → A simple sorry might not be enough if you really messed up. In this case, you might want to consult our Common Ways to Say Sorry vocabulary list.

3. Dining and Shopping Phrases

As you travel through the Netherlands, you’ll surely enjoy the country’s dining culture and the many shopping places we have. Even though the staff in shops, bars, and restaurants will surely speak English, wouldn’t it be nice to practice your Dutch?

Do you plan on dining out a lot? Learning these common Dutch phrases for beginners will help you order food, ask for the bill, and more. 

Ik heb honger.
I am hungry.

Mag ik de menukaart zien?
Can I see the menu?

Ik wil graag twee koffie, alstublieft.
I’d like two coffees, please.

De rekening, alstublieft.
The bill, please.

Ik wil graag contant betalen.Ik wil graag pinnen.
I would like to pay in cash.I would like to pay by card.
These phrases will also come in handy for discussing payment options with the cashier at a store. 

We willen graag splitsen.
We would like to split the bill.
When you’re with friends (or even a date) in a bar or restaurant, it’s quite common in the Netherlands to split the bill, or “go Dutch.” In this case, you would just ask the staff if you could each pay your own part.
    → You’ll find many more restaurant phrases in our vocabulary list Useful Phrases for Ordering Food. It even contains recorded examples to help you practice your pronunciation!

Now that you’ve quieted your hunger or thirst in a nice Dutch café or restaurant, it’s time to do some shopping. Here are a few beginner phrases in Dutch that will help you shop like there’s no tomorrow:

Waar is de paskamer?
Where is the changing room?

Ik wil graag deze broek passen.
I’d like to try on these pants.

Hoeveel kost dit?
How much is this?

Ik wil graag deze jas kopen.
I’d like to buy this jacket.

Verkoopt u postzegels?
Do you sell postage stamps?
    → Do you need more shopping words? Make sure to stop by our Shopping vocabulary list.

A Man and a Woman Shopping at a Mall Together

Let’s go shopping with these useful Dutch beginner phrases.

4. Asking for Help

Since you’re reading these basic Dutch phrases for beginners, chances are you’re not fluent yet. This means there will likely be times when you get a little lost and confused. This is perfectly fine, as long as you can explain the situation and move on. The following Dutch beginner phrases will help you do just that, even when you’re dealing with that pesky language barrier! 

1 – Lost in Translation

Are you worried about listening comprehension issues during your visit? While the easiest option would be to switch to English, you should try to stick with Dutch as this will help improve your Dutch language skills. 

Ik spreek niet zo goed Nederlands.
I don’t speak Dutch very well.

Ik begrijp u niet. 
Ik begrijp je niet. 
I don’t understand you.

Hoe zeg je “dog” in het Nederlands? 
How do you say “dog” in Dutch?

Kunt u dat herhalen? 
Kun je dat herhalen? 
Could you repeat that, please?

Ik versta u als u langzaam praat. 
Ik versta je als je langzaam praat. 
I understand you if you speak slowly.

And if you really can’t save yourself in Dutch, then you could always say:

Spreekt u Engels? 
Spreek je Engels? 
Do you speak English?

2 – Asking for Directions

Besides being lost in translation, you might also really get lost when traveling in the Netherlands. When you’re stranded in the middle of a strange Dutch city or you don’t know where the nearest restroom is, you’ll definitely need to know these Dutch beginner phrases for asking directions.

Sorry, waar zijn de toiletten?
Excuse me, where are the toilets?

Waar is het centraal station?
Where is the central station?

Ik ben op zoek naar de Damstraat.
I am looking for the Damstraat.

Hoe kan ik daar komen?
How can I get there?

3 – Getting Out of Trouble

Did you get into trouble in the Netherlands or find yourself in a situation that you really don’t understand? Then these simple beginner phrases might come in handy.

Ik weet het niet.
I don’t know.

Wat is dat?
What’s that?

Wat gebeurt er?
What’s happening?

Het is oké.
That’s okay.

Het maak niet uit.
It doesn’t matter.

Maak je geen zorgen. 
[Formal or casual]
Maak je niet druk. 
Don’t worry.

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

An Image Indicating an Upward Trend

These Dutch beginner phrases will surely help you improve your Dutch and start conversing!

In this guide, you’ve learned many phrases in Dutch for beginners: greetings, self-introductions, goodbyes, courtesy phrases, and even phrases for shopping, dining, and getting help.

Can you think of any more basic Dutch phrases you might need to know? 

You can start practicing and rehearsing these phrases right away by checking out the free vocabulary lists on Each list contains a recorded pronunciation of the words and phrases it covers, making them perfect for getting your pronunciation just right! In addition, we provide a variety of free resources and audio/video lessons for learners at every level. With DutchPod101, you can really keep your Dutch learning fun and diverse. 

Would you like some special attention? Remember that we also offer a Premium PLUS service with personal 1-on-1 coaching: MyTeacher. Let your private teacher help you with Dutch vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and much more. You’ll receive personalized exercises, constructive feedback, and interactive assignments.

Happy learning on!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch