Get a 40% off forever discount with the ready, set, speak sale! Ends soon!
Get a 40% off forever discount with the ready, set, speak sale! Ends soon! Blog
Learn Dutch with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Dutch Culture' Category

A Guide to the Dutch National Anthem: Het Wilhelmus


Have you ever heard Het Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem? It’s one of the oldest anthems in existence, and therefore the lyrics are not always easy to understand, full of old-fashioned words and unusual turns of phrases. It’s an anthem of fifteen verses, but mainly the first (and sometimes also the sixth) verse is sung. However, because of the old nature of the Dutch anthem, not all Dutch know the words or understand the meaning. Why is the Spanish king mentioned in the Dutch national anthem? And what about that mention of German blood? 

As you can see, the Dutch anthem is not free of controversy, and some people even say that it should be changed. However, although the Dutch don’t sing their national anthem very often, when they sing it on special occasions, everybody will sing along, even those that don’t know all the words, as you can always mumble or hum along.

In this article, we will first show you the history of the Dutch national anthem. We’ll then talk about its lyrics, the meaning of the Dutch anthem, and the criticisms it has received.

A Hand Holding the Dutch Flag

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. The History
  2. Explaining the Lyrics of Het Wilhelmus
  3. When is it Played?
  4. Should the Netherlands Find a New National Anthem?
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. The History

Before we have a look at the lyrics of the Dutch national anthem, it might come in handy to first learn more about its history. This way you will be able to understand better what it’s all about.

So, the Dutch national anthem is actually one of the world’s oldest patriotic songs, as it dates back to at least 1572. The lyrics were written at the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648), also known as The Dutch War of Independence. The Dutch anthem, therefore, tells the story of Willem van Oranje (“William of Orange”) and his fight against the King of Spain in order to gain independence for the Netherlands. The anthem is written from William’s perspective and follows his struggle to remain loyal to the Spanish king, who he has always served, while also serving God and leading his people in the fight against persecution.

But who is Willem van Oranje? He is also known as Willem van Nassau, or in old Dutch Wilhelmus van Nassouwe, which explains the title of the Dutch anthem. He was one of the main leaders of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years’ War and resulted in the formal independence of what now is known as (part of) the Netherlands. He is, therefore, also known as Vader des Vaderlands (“Father of the Fatherlands”). Besides this, he is also the founder of the Orange-Nassau royal family, which makes him the ancestor of the Dutch monarchy. 

It took some time before Het Wilhelmus officially became the Dutch national anthem. At the beginning of the 19th century, the song was mainly sung by supporters of the Dutch royal family. However, they were not particularly popular during this period. So, when Het Wilhelmus became the official Dutch national anthem in 1932, there were protests. 

But what changed in the following years? During the Nazi occupation of the Second World War, the Dutch national anthem regained popularity. This song of victory served as a way to express Dutch national pride and solidarity.

2. Explaining the Lyrics of Het Wilhelmus

So, as you now know the history of the Netherlands’ national anthem, it’s time to have a look at the lyrics of Het Wilhelmus

1- The Lyrics

The Dutch anthem has an impressive fifteen verses; the first letter of all verses originally formed the word Willem van Nassov, another old Dutch way to say Willem van Nassau. However, the Dutch only sing one or two verses of the anthem. It’s mainly the first verse that is sung, sometimes followed by the sixth verse.

Also you may notice, even in the contemporary Dutch version, some of the words have been changed so that they fit the rhythm or so they rhyme. So, don’t worry if you can’t always figure out some of the words.

Verse 1

Old DutchContemporary DutchTranslation
Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ick van Duytschen Bloedt,
Den Vaderland ghetrouwe
Blijf ick tot inden doet;
Een Prince van Orangien
Ben ick vry onverveert.
Den Coninck van Hispangien.
Heb ick altijt gheeert.
Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ik van Duitsen bloed
Den vaderland getrouwe
Blijf ik tot in den dood.
Een Prinse van Oranje
Ben ik, vrij onverveerd.
Den Koning van Hispanje
Heb ik altijd geëerd.
“William of Nassau,
Am I of German descent
True to the fatherland
I remain until death.
Prince of Orange
Am I, free and fearless
To the King of Spain
I have always given honor.”

Verse 6

Old DutchContemporary DutchTranslation
Mijn schilt ende betrouwen
Zijt ghy, O Godt, mijn Heer.
Op U soo wil ick bouwen,
Verlaet my nimmermeer;
Dat ick doch vroom mag blijven
U dienaer t’aller stondDie tyranny verdrijven,
Die my mijn hert doorwondt.
Mijn schild ende betrouwen
Zijt Gij, o God mijn Heer.
Op U zo wil ik bouwen,
Verlaat mij nimmermeer;
Dat ik doch vroom mag blijven,
Uw dienaar t’aller stond.
De tirannie verdrijven,
Die mij mijn hart doorwondt.
“You, my God and Lord,
Are my shield, on You I rely.
On You I will build,
Never leave me;
So that I may remain pious,
Your servant at all moments.
Dispelling the tyranny.
That wounds my heart.”

2- Why Does the Dutch Anthem Mention Duitsen bloed?

It may have surprised you to read that the Dutch national anthem mentions Duitsen bloed in the first verse. This means “German blood” or “German descent”. And many Dutch also interpret it this way. However, Germany did not exist yet during Willem van Oranje’s life. Some say that it therefore does not refer to Germany but the lowlands area that includes what we now know as the Netherlands and certain areas of Germany, where William of Orange was also born.

3. When is it Played?

The Dutch in general aren’t the most nationalistic people out there. However, there are some occasions when they let their national pride flow. And this is often also the moment where Het Wilhelmus is played. 

It’s probably most likely that you hear the Dutch national anthem during international sporting events, such as the European or World Cup football tournaments. Another popular event is the Olympic Games, where the Dutch anthem is played when a Dutch sportsman- or woman wins an Olympic gold medal. So especially during the Winter Olympics you might be able to enjoy the Dutch national anthem a few times.

    ➜ Do you want to celebrate the Olympic Games with the Dutch? Be sure to check out our useful vocabulary lists on the Summer and Winter Olympics

Furthermore, there are some rare national moments when the Dutch also sing their anthem. And they all happen to take place around the same period: Koningsdag (“King’s day”) on the 27th of april, Dodenherdenking (“National Remembrance Day”), on the 4th of May, and Bevrijdingsdag (“Liberation Day”) on the 5th of May.

A String of Small Orange Flags that Is Mostly Used on Kings’ Day

Finally, another moment when the Dutch anthem is played is when the Netherlands hosts a foreign head of state.

4. Should the Netherlands Find a New National Anthem?

As you might already have guessed, the Dutch national anthem is not free of controversy. German blood, the King of Spain and dispelling tyranny: Het Wilhelmus is more of a historical text than a contemporary national anthem. 

Some attempts to modernize the Dutch anthem have been made, for example by a former lady-in-waiting of Queen Beatrix:

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe, 

De Vader van ons land 

Symbool van het vertrouwen,

in onze vaste band. 

Met allen die hier leven, 

In vrijheid en in recht 

Moog dat ons voor altijd zijn gegeven,

zoals ons is toegezegd.

(“William of Nassouwe,

The Father of our country

Symbol of confidence,

in our firm bond.

With all who live here,

In freedom and in justice

May we be given that forever,

as promised to us.”)

However, this nor any other attempts have been successful. Many still see the Dutch anthem as cultural heritage.

Other arguments against the Netherland’s national anthem are related to the difficult melody and lyrics. The rhythm of the song is very slow, making it difficult to sing along. The complex lyrics also do not help: 43% of the Dutch do not know Het Wilhelmus by heart, not even the first verse.

And this also brings us to the core of the problem: many Dutch don’t really know their anthem’s meaning or the historical references it makes. While it would also get more interesting when you really know what you are singing about.

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

A String of Flags in the Air with the Colors of the Dutch Flag

In this guide, you have learned everything about Het Wilhelmus, the Dutch anthem: from its history, lyrics, occasions to some interesting controversies. You now might even know more about the Dutch anthem than many Dutchies do. What do you think about the Dutch national anthem? Do you know any other interesting things about its history that we forgot to mention? Share them with us in the comments!

DutchPod101 hosts a range of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources to boost your studies.

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 master the Dutch language. You’ll receive personalized exercises, constructive feedback, and interactive assignments.

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

Useful Dutch Classroom Phrases and Vocabulary


Would you like to study or teach in the Netherlands? Then it might be handy to know the most common Dutch classroom phrases for students and teachers. Whether you’re about to join a study program as a foreign student in the Netherlands, start one of those Dutch language courses, or teach in a Dutch school, you will have to learn how to communicate in the classroom. 

As a student, it will be handy to know how to address your teachers in Dutch, ask questions, and understand instructions. And as a teacher, you might want to know how to ask questions, give instructions, and, yes, how to discipline your students.

From Dutch classroom greetings to Dutch classroom command phrases, you will have to know or understand them. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know as a teacher or a student, from common classroom phrases to useful classroom vocabulary in Dutch.

Happy learning (or teaching)!

Students Paying Attention and Taking Notes in a Classroom

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. School Vocabulary
  2. Teacher’s Phrases
  3. Student’s Phrases
  4. Tests Instructions
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. School Vocabulary

Before we start with the phrases, let’s first see some classroom vocabulary in Dutch. From educational buildings to subjects to supplies, it will help you find your way around the schoolyard or the campus.

1- Educational Infrastructures

LerarenkamerTeachers’ roo
CollegezaalLecture hall

2- Subjects

A Girl in Front of a Whiteboard with a Mathematical Calculation

MaatschappijleerSocial studies
Lichamelijke opvoedingPhysical education (PE)

    ➜ To practice your pronunciation, have a look at our free Dutch vocabulary list on School Subjects, with recorded words and example phrases, on DutchPod101.

2- School Supplies

Vel papierSheet of paper
PuntenslijperPencil sharpener
EtuiPen case

2. Teacher’s Phrases

A Teacher in Front of the Class

As a teacher, you need to be able to give instructions, ask questions and, every now and then, bring some discipline to the classroom. And as a student, it’s also very useful to learn these phrases, as it’s important that you understand your teacher. 

Let’s see some of the most common Dutch classroom command phrases.

1- Instructions

Vandaag gaan we vervoegingen leren.
(“Today we are going to learn conjugations.”)
Open je boek op pagina 12.
(“Open your book on page 12.”)
Pak een vel papier.
(“Take a sheet of paper.”)
Steek je hand op als je het antwoord weet.
(“Raise your hand if you have the answer.”)
Luister en herhaal na mij.
(“Listen and repeat after me.”)
Kijk naar de afbeelding op het scherm. / Kijk naar de afbeelding op het bord.
(“Look at the picture on the screen.” / “Look at the picture on the board.”)
Schrijf deze zin op.
(“Write this sentence.”)
Spel dit woord.
(“Spell this word.”)
Maak een zin met het woord “vakantie”.
(“Make a sentence with the word “holiday””.)
Hoe zeg je “tomorrow” in het Nederlands?
(“How do you say “tomorrow” in Dutch?”)
We gaan kleine groepjes vormen.
(“We will form small groups.”)

2- Questions

Begrijp je deze zin?
(“Do you understand this sentence?”)
Wat betekent dat?
(“What does that mean?”)
Wie kan deze vraag beantwoorden?
(“Who can answer this question?”)
Wat is het juiste antwoord?
(“What is the correct answer?”)
Wie wil er hardop voorlezen?
(“Who wants to read aloud?”

3- Discipline

Ga zitten.
(“Take a seat.”)
Stilte alstublieft.
(“Silence, please.”)
Let op.
(“Pay attention.”)
Stop met praten.
(“Stop talking.”)

3. Student’s Phrases

So, let’s now see some useful Dutch classroom phrases that students use: from addressing teachers, to asking questions, to stating your problem.

1- Addressing Teachers

In primary school, school teachers are addressed as :

  • [Male] Meester (Literally: “Master”)
  • [Female] Juf or juffrouw (Literally: “Miss”)

In High school and University, teachers are addressed as meneer (“Mister”) and mevrouw (“Madam” or “Mrs”), often combined with their last name.

So in Dutch classroom greetings, as a student, you could just say Hallo meneer van der Zand (“Hello Mister van der Zand”) or Goedemorgen mevrouw Jacobs (“Good morning Mrs. Jacobs”).

And when talking about the teachers in general, you would refer to them with leraar (“teacher,” male) or lerares (“teacher,” female).

Let’s see some examples on how you could talk about teachers:

  • Onze leraar Frans heeft ons huiswerk gegeven. (“Our French teacher gave us homework.”)
  • Mevrouw Jacobs geeft Duits. (“Mrs. Jacobs teaches German.”)
  • Meneer, ik heb een vraag. (“Mister, I have a question.”)

As a teacher, whether it’s your colleagues or your students, you can simply call them by their names. And if you want to make one of those good Dutch classroom greetings, you could say Hallo allemaal (“Hello everyone”).

2- I have a question

A Student in a Classroom Looking Troubled

Ik begrijp het niet.
(“I don’t understand.”)
Ik begrijp de spelling van dit woord niet.
(“I don’t understand the spelling of this word.”)
Ik heb moeite met het vervoegen van dit werkwoord.
(“I have trouble conjugating this verb.”)
Kunt u dat alstublieft herhalen?
(“Could you repeat that please?”)
Ik weet niet hoe ik dat moet zeggen.
(“I don’t know how to say that.”)
Hoe spreek je het uit?
(“How do you pronounce it?”)
Welke pagina?
(“What page?”)

3- I have a Problem

Ik heb mijn boek vergeten.
(“I forgot my book.”)
Ik heb geen pen.
(“I don’t have a pen.”)
Ik ben mijn schrift kwijt.
(“I lost my notebook.”)
Ik heb een probleem.
(“I have a problem.”)
Kan ik een gum lenen?
(“Can I borrow an eraser?”)
Ik heb wat meer tijd nodig.
(“I need a little more time.”)
Ik ben bijna klaar!
(“I’m almost done!”)
Mag ik naar de wc gaan?
(“Can I go to the bathroom?”)
Ik kan niet bij de volgende les zijn.
(“I can’t be at the next class.”)
Ik heb mijn huiswerk niet gemaakt.
(“I didn’t do my homework.”)
Ik heb mijn huiswerk vergeten.
(“I forgot my homework.”)
Mijn hond heeft mijn huiswerk opgegeten.
(“My dog ate my homework.”)

4. Tests Instructions

Having an exam is already nerve wracking and the last thing you want is to not understand the instructions. So prepare yourself with these Dutch classroom phrases about test instructions. This way you will perfectly understand how the exam will take place and exactly what you have to do.

1- Basic Vocabulary

In the classroom vocabulary in Dutch, there exist different words to refer to a “test”: the word examen is mostly used at university, proefwerk at high school and toets at primary school.
Mondeling examen
(“Oral exam”)
(“Test supervisor”)

2- Instructions

Students Taking an Exam

Lees de tekst.
(“Read the text.”)
Lees de zin.
(“Read the sentence.”)
Kruis het juiste antwoord aan.
(“Check the right answer”)
Vul de lege plekken in.
(“Fill in the blanks.”)
Maak deze zinnen af.
(“Complete these sentences.”)
Zet deze afbeeldingen in de juiste volgorde.
(“Put these images in the right order.”)
Onderstreep het goede antwoord.
(“Underline the correct answer.”)
Streep de foute antwoorden door.
(“Cross out the wrong answers.”)
Luister naar het voorbeeld.
(“Listen to the example.”)
Beschrijf de afbeelding.
(“Describe this image.”)
Schrijf rond de 200 woorden.
(“Write about 200 words.”)
Vat deze tekst samen in 100 woorden.
(“Summarize this text in 100 words.”)

    ➜ For more Taking Tests vocabulary, be sure to explore our free vocabulary list with audio recordings.

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you have learned the most common Dutch classroom phrases, for students and teachers alike. From classroom vocabulary in Dutch, Dutch classroom command phrases for teachers to Dutch classroom greetings, this guide should provide you with a solid foundation for your daily Dutch school life.

Which Dutch classroom phrases will you use the most? Is there any other specific topic you’d like to read more about? Make sure to share with your fellow students in the comments below!

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

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

Useful Guide with Dutch Restaurant Vocabulary and Phrases


Going to a restaurant is probably one of the favorite things people do when they are in a foreign country. It’s a great way to go out, enjoy some new food and discover a new hip and trendy restaurant. However, when you don’t speak the language fluently, the whole experience can be unnecessarily stressful. 

How do things work around here? How can I order? And how much should I tip? Knowing the Dutch restaurant vocabulary and phrases is one thing, but learning about the ins and outs of Dutch dining will truly take you to the next level. 

In this article, we’ll go through the three steps of going to a restaurant in the Netherlands and, for each phase, we’ll list the most common Dutch phrases for restaurants, as well as the restaurant etiquette and unwritten rules you need to know. 

So let’s learn how to order food in Dutch and start to really enjoy the Dutch culinary experience.

A Boy Waiting for His Food, with His Cutlery in His Hands

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Before Dining
  2. During Dining
  3. After Dining
  4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Before Dining

A- Booking a Restaurant: When and How?

Making a reservation in a Dutch restaurant is not always necessary, as you can often show up unannounced. However, without a booking, you will not have the guarantee that a table will be available. This is especially the case for the more popular restaurants, or if you’re planning to go out during busier nights like Friday or Saturday night.

So, is it really necessary to make a reservation at a restaurant in the Netherlands? No, but it can be a great way to make sure that your night goes as planned. So how to make a booking in a Dutch restaurant? Some restaurants have their own booking system on their official website, while others use The Fork or other similar third-party services. In most cases, you can also make a phone call, if you prefer to do so. Booking information and phone numbers are usually available on the restaurant information on Google Maps.

B- Conversation Example

Would you like to make a reservation by phone? Let’s learn restaurant phrases in Dutch grammar on reservations, between a client and a restaurant employee:

Hallo, Restaurant “De Bolle Beer”, hoe kan ik u helpen?
(“Hello, “De bolle beer” restaurant, how can I help you?”)

Hallo, ik wil graag een tafel reserveren voor morgenavond.
(“Hello, I would like to book a table for tomorrow evening.”)

Oké. Voor hoeveel personen?
(“Okay. For how many people?”)

Voor vier personen.
(“For four people.”)

Wilt u binnen of buiten eten?
(“Would you like to eat inside or outside?”)

Buiten als dat kan.
(“Outside if that’s possible.”)

Oké. Voor hoe laat?
(“Okay. At what time?”)

Om half acht.
(“At half past seven.”)

Wat is uw naam?
(“What is your name?”)

Mijn naam is Sofia Real.
(“My name is Sofia Real.”)

Oké Sofia. Morgenavond om half acht, vier personen, buiten op het terras. De reservering is gemaakt.
(“Okay Sofia. Tomorrow night at half past seven, four people, outside on the terrace. The reservation has been made.”)

Perfect. Heel erg bedankt! Tot morgen.
(“Perfect. Thank you very much! See you tomorrow.”)

Do you prefer to send an e-mail or message to make the reservation, then you can also write the following message:

Hallo, ik wil graag een tafel reserveren voor morgenavond om 19:30u voor 4 personen. Mijn naam is Sofìa Real.
(“Hello, I would like to reserve a table for 4 people tomorrow evening at 7:30 pm. My name is Sofia Real.”)

2. During Dining

So, you know which restaurant to go to, you might even have made a reservation. Let’s now see some common Dutch phrases for restaurants, such as asking for your table, asking for the menu, and how to order food in Dutch.

A- Asking for Your Table

A Head Waiter Welcoming Clients and Showing Their Table

Did you already book a table? Then this part of the process will be as simple as introducing yourself when entering the restaurant. Let’s learn these restaurant phrases in Dutch grammar:

Hallo, ik heb een reservering op naam van Jack Smith.
(“Hi, I have a reservation under the name of Jack Smith.”)

Goedenavond, ik heb een reservering op naam van Jack Smith, voor zes personen.
(“Good evening, I have a reservation under the name of Jack Smith, for six people.”)

And you will be shown your table.

Didn’t you make a reservation? Then you can ask the following question when you enter the restaurant:

Hallo, hebben jullie nog een tafel vrij voor vier personen?
(“Hello, do you have a table available for four people?”)

Ja, we hebben nog een tafel vrij op ons terras. Loop maar met me mee.
(“Yes, we still have a table available on our terrace. Come with me.”)

The host waiting at the entrance could also ask you directly some questions, such as this eating at the restaurant phrases in Dutch:

Goedenavond, komen jullie om te eten?
(“Good evening, are you here to eat?”)


Nee, alleen om wat te drinken.
(“No, just for a drink.”)

Wilt u binnen of buiten eten?
(“Would you like to eat inside or outside?”)

Binnen, alstublieft.
(“Inside, please.”)

Voor hoeveel personen?
(“For how many people?”)

Voor twee personen?
(“For two people?”)

Voor drie personen.
(“For three people.”)

    ➜ You can find more words and practice your pronunciation with our vocabulary list on Restaurants.

B- Asking for the Menu

Many restaurants in the Netherlands already have the menu on the table or give you the menu when you sit down. But in case it’s not there, they forget, or they are really busy, you might have to ask for it.

Pardon. Mag ik de menukaart zien?
(“Excuse me. Can I see the menu?”)

Dutch menus don’t always follow a standard pattern. However, you will usually find the following components: voorgerechten or “appetizers,” soep, which is “soup,” hoofdgerechten, meaning, “main entrées,” dranken, which is “drinks,” and of course the nagerechten, your “desserts.”

    ➜ Are you missing a fork or a spoon? After learning Dutch food vocabulary on Food Utensils and Tableware, you will be able to ask for it without hesitating.

C- Ordering Food and Drinks

A Man Ordering Food in a Restaurant

Now the most exciting time has arrived: you can order that basic food in Dutch. It’s time to move on to some eating at the restaurant phrases in Dutch. But how to order food in Dutch? Don’t be nervous, ordering is usually fairly easy as you can just refer to the menu. 

In the Netherlands, after the waiter shows you your table, he or she will usually first ask you what you want to drink. 

Wat wilt u drinken?
(“What do you want to drink?”, singular or formal plural)

Wat willen jullie drinken?
(“What do you want to drink?”, casual plural)

Ik wil graag een appelsap, alstublieft.
(“I’d like an apple juice, please.”)

Niets voor mij.
(“Nothing for me.”)

Misschien later.
(“Maybe later.”)

    ➜ What drink would you like to order in Dutch? Have a look at our free vocabulary list on Drinks, on DutchPod101.

When you look ready to order, the waiter may ask you: 

Heeft u een keus gemaakt?
(“Have you made a choice?”)

To which you may respond with one of these ‘eating at the restaurant’ phrases in Dutch: 

Nee, we hebben nog wat meer tijd nodig.
(“No, we need a little more time.”)

De varkenshaas, wat is dat?
(“The varkenshaas, what is that?”)

Ja, ik wil graag de pompoensoep vooraf en daarna de steak met frietjes als hoofdgerecht, alstublieft.
(“Yes, I’d like the pumpkin soup first and then the steak and fries for the main course, please.”)

Ja, ik wil graag de saté als hoofdgerecht en de chocolade mousse als nagerecht, alstublieft.
(“Yes, I would like the saté as a main course and the chocolate mousse for dessert, please.”)

When you order in the Netherlands, you usually say alstublieft (“please”) after your order.

Are you not sure what to order? You can always ask the staff for recommendations. The appropriate question in such a situation would be Wat raadt u aan? (“What do you recommend?). 

If you have any allergies or a special diet, then you might also want to say or ask:

Ik ben allergisch voor pinda’s.
(“I’m allergic to peanuts.”)

Zitten er pinda’s in dit gerecht?
(“Are there peanuts in this dish?”)

Wat zijn de vegetarische gerechten?
(“What are the vegetarian dishes?”)

Hebben jullie vegan gerechten?
(“Do you have vegan dishes?”)

3. After Dining

Once you have enjoyed your meal and the waiter sees that you have finished, he or she will probably come to your table and kindly ask you one of the following questions: 

Wilt u nog iets anders? 
(“Would you like anything else?”)

Nee, bedankt. We zijn helemaal voldaan.
(“No thanks. We are completely satisfied.”)

Was alles naar wens?
(“Was everything to your liking?”)

Ja het was heerlijk, dankuwel.
(“Yes, it was delicious, thank you.”)

Wilt u nog een kopje koffie?
(“Will you have a coffee?”)

Ja, graag.
(“Yes, please.”)

A- Asking for the Bill

A Man Sitting at a Table in a Restaurant, Calling the Waiter

If the waiter asks you if you need anything else, you can also ask for the bill:

De rekening alstublieft. 
(“The bill, please.”)

Kunnen wij de rekening krijgen?
(“Can we get the bill?”)

Ja, ik zal de rekening voor u halen.
(“Yes, I’ll get the bill for you.”)

U kunt direct aan de balie betalen.
(“You can pay directly at the counter.”)

Then, when it’s time to pay:

Willen jullie apart of samen betalen?
(“Do you want to pay separately or together?”)

Ik zal voor iedereen betalen.
(“I will pay for everyone.”)

Apart, alstublieft.
(“Separately, please.”)

B- What About the Tip?

The tips in the Netherlands are very rarely included in the price, so it is polite to give tips in restaurants, pubs, and some cafés. About ten to twelve percent would be appropriate. Dutch waiters don’t survive on tips, but they’re rarely paid very well, so a tip is a welcome bonus to their wage.

Tips are usually left on the table in the form of coins, a bill, or in a dedicated tip box at the counter. But you could also ask to add a certain amount or 10% to the bill when paying by card: Voeg maar tien procent toe als fooi. (“Just add ten percent as a tip.”)

    ➜ Would you like to see more common restaurant vocabulary and phrases with recorded examples to work on your pronunciation? Why not stop by our vocabulary list on Key Phrases for Restaurants.

4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

A Man and Woman Having a Fancy Dinner, Making a Toast

In this guide, you have learned everything you need to know when going to a Dutch restaurant. You now know how to make a reservation and how to order food in Dutch. For each step, you know the tips and tricks, as well as Dutch restaurant vocabulary and phrases. Did we forget some specific situations you’d like to learn more about?

You can start practicing speaking Dutch and rehearsing these common Dutch phrases for restaurants 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.

Would you like some special attention to your Dutch language learning? 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.

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

Dutch Animal Names: The Ultimate List for Language Learners


How many Dutch animal names do you know? Although it may not be the first thing you want to study when you start learning Dutch, knowing how to talk about animals is important in any language. After all, our furry friends play a central role in our lives! 

There are many Dutch animal words for you to discover, ranging from the names of pets to the most common bugs and reptiles. Some of this new vocabulary may be difficult to memorize, but there are plenty of words that may be easier than you’re expecting. Take, for example:

  • Rat (“Rat”) 
  • Kat (“Cat”)
  • Schaap (“Sheep”)
  • Beer (“Bear”)
  • Vis (“Fish”)

Are you ready to discover the Dutch animal world with DutchPod101? 

In this article, you’ll learn the must-know Dutch animal names, animal body parts, verbs related to animals, and even some funny animal sounds in Dutch.

Several Different Pet Animals

Learn some Dutch animal names with DutchPod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Wild Animals
  4. Sea Animals
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds
  7. Reptiles & Amphibians
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Animal Verbs
  10. Animal Sounds in Dutch
  11. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Pets

The Dutch are pet-loving people! A 2016 survey found that over half of Dutch households have at least one pet. 

So, what are the most common Dutch pets? The most popular pet choices are dogs and cats; a 2019 survey showed that 18% of Dutch households owned a dog, while 23% owned a cat. Besides these more obvious furry friends, many Dutch households also have fish, a tame bird, or some small rodents (mice, rats, rabbits, or guinea pigs). 

Check out this Dutch animals list to learn the names of common pets (and a few fun expressions that mention them):

Dutch expression: Een kat in de zak kopen

Literally: “To buy a cat in the bag”
Meaning: To make a bad purchase

Dutch expression: De hond in de pot vinden

Literally: “To find the dog in the pot”
Meaning: To arrive just too late for supper


Dutch expression: Als de kat van huis is, dansen de muizen op tafel

Literally: “When the cat’s away from home, the mice dance on the table.” 
Meaning: If there’s no supervision, people do what they want.

Dutch expression: Hamsteren 

Literally: “To hamster”
Meaning: To hoard


Cavia“Guinea pig”



A Kitten Mewling

The Dutch word kat is very similar to the English “cat.”

    → Are you an animal lover? Then visit our World Animal Day vocabulary list and get ready to celebrate!

2. Farm Animals

Dutch farm animals are quite similar to those in many other countries: the same-old cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and goats. The most typical Dutch farm animal is probably the black-and-white Dutch cow, as they’re so representative of scenic landscapes in the Netherlands. 

Here are the names of common farm animals in Dutch:

Dutch expression: Dat is een waarheid als een koe.

Literally: “That’s as true as a cow.”
Meaning: Sometimes, the truth is so obvious you can’t miss it.

Dutch expression: Dat slaat als een tang op een varken.

Literally: “That hits like pliers on a pig.”
Meaning: That makes absolutely no sense.

Dutch expression: Als één schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer.

Literally: “When one sheep crosses the dam, more will follow.”
Meaning: If one person starts, more will follow.



Dutch expression: Zo koppig als een ezel

Literally: “As stubborn as a donkey”
Meaning: Being very stubborn

Two Donkeys

Are you as stubborn as a donkey?



3. Wild Animals

The Netherlands is a small country with relatively little nature, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there are no wild animals here. The Dutch forests, plains, and bodies of water host a variety of wild animals, such as foxes, wolves, deer, and badgers.

In this section, we’ll teach you the Dutch animal names for some of the most common wild animals you’ll find in the Netherlands. We’ll also provide the names of other wild animals, so you can talk about them when you visit the zoo! 




Dutch expression: Een vos verliest wel zijn haren maar niet zijn streken.

Literally: A fox loses its hair but not its tricks.
Meaning: People rarely really change.





Dutch expression: Als een olifant in de porseleinkast

Literally: “Like an elephant in the china shop” 
Meaning: Being extremely careless or tactless


Dutch expression: Nu komt de aap uit de mouw.

Literally: “Now comes the monkey out of the sleeve.”
Meaning: Now the truth (or someone’s real character) is being revealed.


Pinguïn “Penguin”

IJsbeer“Polar bear”
Dutch expression: IJsberen

Literally: “To polar bear”
Meaning: To pace

A Polar Bear in the Snow

When you’re pacing, the Dutch say that you’re walking around like a polar bear.

4. Sea Animals

The Dutch are surrounded by water: 17% of the total surface of the country consists of water, and the Netherlands has a coastline of 230 kilometers. This is quite long, if you take the size of the country into account. 

So what kind of sea animals might you find here? There are several types of Dutch sea animals dwelling in the waters: fish, lobsters, mussels, and—the favorite Dutch sea animal—seals.

Here’s a brief list of sea animals in Dutch:

Dutch expression: Als een vis op het droge

Literally: “Like a fish out of water”
Meaning: Refers to someone who cannot find his or her place, or who does not belong

Dutch expression: Naar de haaien gaan 

Literally: “Going to the sharks”
Meaning: “To go down” or “to encounter very big problems that threaten someone’s or something’s existence”



Mussels are a popular seafood in the Netherlands; have you ever tried them?

5. Bugs and Insects

Fortunately, the Netherlands is not home to a lot of scary or dangerous insects. While there are many bugs and insects present in the Netherlands, most are not very big and you’ll probably have seen them before. 

Here’s a Dutch animal list of the most common insects and bugs:



Dutch expression: Van een mug een olifant maken 

Literally: “To make an elephant out of a mosquito”
Meaning: To make something big out of a small problem, or to blow something out of proportion




Dutch expression: Vlinders in je buik hebben 

Literally: “To have butterflies in your stomach”
Meaning: To be in love

Lieveheersbeestje“Ladybird” / “Ladybug”

Two Butterflies against a White Background

As is the case in many other countries, we refer to butterflies in the stomach when someone is in love.

6. Birds

The Netherlands has quite a lot to offer bird lovers, as the country has around 300 regular migrant and resident birds and a total of 534 bird species. The most common Dutch birds are seagulls, pigeons, crows, and sparrows. But the Netherlands also has a number of waterbirds, such as swans, ducks, and geese.

Did you know that in a city like Amsterdam, you can watch a lot of birds? And not only city birds like pigeons! Because of the canals and the bodies of water that surround Amsterdam, there are many waterbirds to watch as well. 

Learn the Dutch names for these birds so that you can point them out every time you spot one!


Dutch expression: Een zwaluw maakt de lente niet.

Literally: “A swallow does not make spring.”
Meaning: A circumstance does not lead to a final conclusion.

Dutch expression: Trots als een pauw

Literally: “To be proud as a peacock”
Meaning: To be very proud




A Duck with Its Ducklings

You’ll be able to see a lot of ducks in Dutch ponds.

7. Reptiles & Amphibians

The Netherlands is not home to many scary reptiles or amphibians, though you may be able to see several frogs and toads in nearby ponds. You may even be able to find a snake in the Netherlands, as the country has three snake species (only one of which is venomous). But don’t worry! It’s not that common to encounter a snake when exploring the natural surroundings here. 




Dutch expression: Krokodillentranen huilen

Literally: “To cry crocodile tears”
Meaning: To feign your grief

A Crocodile

Have you ever seen a crocodile tear?

Zeeschildpad“Sea turtle”

    → Would you like to learn more Dutch animal names and listen to their pronunciation? Then have a look at this Animal Names vocabulary list.

8. Animal Body Parts

Now that you know several Dutch animal names, it’s time to learn some words that will help you describe them! Memorizing the animal body parts in Dutch will allow you to tell your new friends about the time you saved a bird with a broken wing, or the time your dog got its fur all dirty. Take a look:


9. Animal Verbs

You can now name a variety of animals in Dutch and list their unique body parts…just one more thing is missing. Below, you’ll find several verbs related to animals that you can use in your next conversation!

Miauwen“To meow”
Blaffen“To bark”
Brullen“To roar”
Zoemen“To buzz”
Grommen“To growl”
Spinnen“To purr”
Galoperen“To gallop”
Bijten“To bite”
Steken“To sting”
Krabben“To scratch”
Likken“To lick”
Aaien“To pet”
Temmen“To tame” / “To train”
Voeden“To feed”
Vaccineren“To vaccinate”

10. Animal Sounds in Dutch

The onomatopoeia used for animal sounds varies greatly from one country to another, often resulting in hilarious situations when comparing animal sounds. Let’s take the rooster, for example: 

  • English: cock-a-doodle-doo
  • Swedish: kuckeliku
  • Spanish: qui-qui-ri-qui

For your entertainment, here are the most popular animal sounds in Dutch.

A Friendly Dog Looking at the Camera

How does barking sound in Dutch? Woef!

Grrr(Growling sound)
Oe oe(Owl)
Knor knor(Pig)

    → Would you like to learn more animal sounds in Dutch? Then have a look at our Sounds That Animals Make vocabulary list, and don’t forget to listen to the recorded examples of these Dutch animal sounds.

11. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned many Dutch animal names for pets, farm animals, insects, and much more. Now you’ll be able to talk with your Dutch friends about their pets or ask them about their favorite animals.

Did we forget any other important animals? Or would you like to know other animal sounds in Dutch? Please share with us in the comments below!

Make sure to explore, as we have plenty of free resources to help you practice your grammar and many useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings to help you learn new words.

Remember that Premium PLUS members can also take advantage of our MyTeacher service for 1-on-1 coaching. This way, you can practice your Dutch speaking skills with your own private teacher through interactive exercises and personalized feedback.

Happy learning!

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

Dutch Love Phrases: How to Say “I Love You,” in Dutch


Do you have a Dutch girlfriend or boyfriend, or has an attractive Dutchie caught your eye? Then learning how to express your feelings in the Dutch language is the first step you should take toward creating a new relationship or strengthening the bond between you and your lover.

Of course, there are the basics. For example…

How do you say “I love you,” in Dutch? That’s Ik hou van jou. And how about “my love”? That could be mijn lieverd or mijn liefje

The Dutch may not be the most expressive people when it comes to love, but they do have their own ways of confessing their feelings and revealing their love to someone. With the right words, you’ll come a long way in your relationship—but try not to be too dramatic or clingy. The Dutch are very down-to-earth, and they view excessive romanticism as a mark of desperation. 

Learn to talk about love in Dutch with this useful guide from We’ve provided a variety of Dutch love phrases for every phase of your romantic relationship, from confessing your affection and falling in love all the way to getting married and starting a family. And if that’s still not enough, we’ll even introduce you to some Dutch endearment terms and must-know Dutch love quotes. 

Let’s get to it!

Two Hands Making a Heart Shape Toward the Sun

Impress your Dutch love with these Dutch romantic phrases.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. First Contact: Dutch Pick-up Lines and More
  2. Take it to the Next Level: How Do You Say “I Love You,” in Dutch?
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Dutch Endearment Terms: “My Love” in Dutch and More
  5. Must-know Dutch Love Quotes
  6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. First Contact: Dutch Pick-up Lines and More

You’re in a bar and you spot some nice Dutchie you’d like to get to know…but how do you make first contact? While the Dutch value a direct approach in all things, it’s still important to know how to start the conversation. Have a look at these Dutch pick-up lines and other useful Dutch love phrases for when you’ve just met someone.

Kom je hier vaker?
Ik ken je ergens van.
“Do you come here often?”
“I think I’ve seen you before.”

Hoe heet je?“What’s your name?”

Wil je dansen?
Wil je met me dansen?
“Do you want to dance?”
“Do you want to dance with me?”

Wil je wat drinken?
Ik betaal dit rondje.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
“Let me get this round.”
In the Netherlands, it’s not customary that the man pays for everything. Rather, it’s quite common for couples to “go Dutch” and split the bill. However, when you meet someone new, offering a drink can be a good way to show your interest. While it’s less common for a girl to buy a guy a drink, this is definitely an option as well.

Heb je een vriend?
Heb je een vriendin?
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
The Dutch are direct, so they’re used to non-subtle ways of asking if someone is single. You could also ask: Ben je single? (“Are you single?”)

Het was leuk met jou.I
k zou het leuk vinden om je nog een keer te zien.
“I had a great time with you.”
“I’d like to see you again.”

Zullen we nog eens afspreken? 
Zullen we binnenkort wat drinken?
“Shall we meet another time?”
“Shall we have a drink soon?”
In the Netherlands, a common first date is to have drinks together at a bar at night. Going for dinner is far less common, as it can be viewed as awkward if you don’t know the other person very well.

A Man and a Woman Having Dinner Outside at a Nice Restaurant and Clinking Wine Glasses

Are you ready to invite someone on a date in Dutch?

Mag ik je telefoonnummer?
Mag ik je mijn telefoonnummer geven?
“Can I get your phone number?”
“Can I give you my number?”
It’s more common to ask for someone’s phone number than to ask if you may give your number to someone, and both men and women can do so. That said, giving your phone number to someone might be seen as more courteous. If your potential date is interested, they will either return the favor right away or call you later.

2. Take it to the Next Level: How Do You Say “I Love You,” in Dutch?

You went on that first date and many more. You’re in love and ready to take it to the next level. So, what’s “I love you,” in Dutch? And what else can you say to really win their affections? Here are several romantic Dutch phrases you can use to express your feelings.  

Ik vind je leuk.“I like you.”
As mentioned before, the Dutch are not very expressive about their love. Saying this phrase to someone you’ve only just met may be seen as too fast or forward. It’s more common to express this after you’ve seen the other person several times.

Ik mis je.“I miss you.”

Ik heb zin om je weer te zien.“I look forward to seeing you again.”

Ik denk aan jou.“I’m thinking about you.”

Ik ben gek op jou.“I’m crazy about you.”

Je bent zo mooi.“You’re so beautiful.”

Ik ben verliefd op jou.“I am in love with you.”

Wil je verkering met mij?
Wil je een relatie met mij?
Zullen we het officieel maken?
“Do you want to be in a relationship with me?”
“Do you want to be in a relationship with me?”
“Shall we make it official?”
Verkering is another word used to refer to a romantic relationship. Although it’s a common word, it might be perceived as a bit childish. If you’d prefer to stay on the safe side, use the word relatie (“relationship”). It has the same meaning, but it’s a more neutral word.

If you’ve been dating your Dutchie for a while but the relationship has not become “official” yet, then you might want to use the last option.

Ik houd van jou.
Ik houd zielsveel van jou.
“I love you.”
“I love you with heart and soul.”
Fun fact: Dutch people often use the phrase Ik hou van jou, with the d dropped from houd. Although the spelling is officially wrong, it’s a very common way to write the phrase. Where does this habit come from? The d might have been dropped simply because it’s not pronounced when the word is spoken.

A Woman Smiling as She Reads a Christmas Card

Ready to write some love letters in Dutch?

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

You’ve expressed your feelings successfully, it’s been reciprocated, and you’re officially in a happy relationship. Are you ready to take it one step further? Here are all the Dutch love phrases you need to steer your relationship toward the future you want. We’ve gathered key phrases for expressing true love in Dutch, meeting the parents, moving in together, getting married, and even having a baby. 

Wij zijn voor elkaar bestemd.
Jij bent de liefde van mijn leven.
Ik kan niet zonder jou.
“We are made for each other.”
“You are the love of my life.”
“I can’t live without you.”
These romantic Dutch phrases are not used very often, so make sure you only say them in the right setting and that they come from the heart. The Dutch don’t take words like these lightly.

Ik wil graag dat je mijn ouders ontmoet.“I would like for you to meet my parents.”
As the Dutch move out of their parents’ place at a relatively young age and often move to another city when going to study, meeting the parents is a big deal in Dutch culture.

Wil je met mij samenwonen?“Would you like to move in together?”

Wil je met me trouwen?“Do you want to marry me?”

A Man on One Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge

Pop the question in Dutch.

Ik wil graag een kindje met jou.“I would like to have a baby with you.”

4. Dutch Endearment Terms: “My Love” in Dutch and More

What’s next, then? You’ll need some Dutch endearment terms to express your love each and every day. In the Netherlands, it’s very common to use endearment terms when talking to the people you love, whether it be your partner or your friends and family.

Lekker ding
“Little dear”
“Delicious thing”
These are just some popular options, but there are many more! The same endearment terms also come in a lot of different forms and shapes, such as: lieffie, droppie, schatteke, knappie. It’s all a matter of preference, and many Dutch couples also use personal pet names.

A Man and Woman Embracing Each Other with an Arm Across Each Other’s Backs

What Dutch endearment term would you use?

5. Must-know Dutch Love Quotes

As you might have expected from the not-so-romantic Dutch, there is no overload of romantic love quotes in the Dutch language. And the quotes that do exist tend to have a down-to-earth undertone. That said, here are the most popular quotes about love in Dutch:

DutchDe liefde kan niet van één kant komen.
Literally“Love cannot come from one side.”
EquivalentIt takes two to tango.
This is one of the down-to-earth Dutch love quotes that’s quite popular in the Netherlands. It shows the Dutch attitude about love, which is that love should come from both sides: If you want to make it work, both parties will have to contribute.

DutchDe liefde van een man gaat door de maag.
Literally“A man’s love goes through the stomach.” 
This humorous Dutch love quote may also say something about their not-so-romantic nature. This is a very popular Dutch quote, and it even has its own song.

It can also be used for women, children, or even for animals. People may even say it about their own cat: De liefde van een kat gaat door de maag. (“The love of a cat goes through the stomach.”) 

DutchOngelukkig in het spel, gelukkig in de liefde. 
Literally“Unlucky in the game, happy in love.” 
EquivalentLucky at cards, unlucky in love.
This love quote in Dutch is nearly identical to its English counterpart. Those who always lose in gambling often have a happy love life, and vice-versa.  

What do you think about that? Is it true for you?

DutchOude liefde roest niet.
Literally“Old love does not rust.” 
This beautiful Dutch quote, with an identical English counterpart, also has its own song from the famous Dutch 80s band VOF De Kunst.

They sing: Oude liefde roest niet, maar verdwijnt net zoals jij. (“Old love does not rust, but disappears just like you.”) 

    → Find more love inspiration in our free vocabulary list of quotes on Love. Or go for those bittersweet Break-Up quotes.

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Two Red Heart-Shaped Balloons Floating against a Blue, Slightly Cloudy Sky

You’re ready to find some Dutch love!

In this article, you learned how to say “I love you,” in Dutch and many more useful Dutch love phrases. You’re now prepared to get your flirt on, express your love, and even take it a step further with a solid marriage proposal. You also know what endearment terms to use for your Dutch lieverd (“dear”) and have some old Dutch love quotes to fall back on when you want to spice things up. 

Did we forget any important Dutch love phrases you know? What’s your favorite romantic Dutch phrase or endearment term?

There’s still a lot more to learn, and nothing will make your Dutch lover swoon more than mastering their native tongue. Make sure to explore and take advantage of our numerous vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other useful free resources to boost your Dutch studies.

Would you like some 1-on-1 coaching? Then consider upgrading to a Premium PLUS subscription, which will give you access to our MyTeacher service. Here, you can learn more about Dutch love and life with your own private teacher and really master the Dutch language. Through personalized feedback and pronunciation advice, you’ll catch on in no time.  

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

Why You Should Learn – Dutch


Learning a foreign language comes with several added benefits, from new business opportunities to a healthier mind. 

But why learn Dutch, specifically? After all, there are plenty of other languages to choose from—some of which are in higher demand and more widely spoken. 

There are many reasons why you should learn Dutch, and DutchPod101 is here to break it all down for you and show you that Dutch isn’t such a hard language to learn. With a little help and guidance, you’ll be able to tackle this fun challenge and advance toward your goals! 

In this article, we’ll go over the 10 main reasons why you should start learning Dutch. We’ve included reasons related to: leisure (travel, friendship, love, culture); business (quality studies, work opportunities); and personal development (benefits of learning another language).

Let’s dive in.

A Guy Studying in a Library

So why should you learn Dutch?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Reasons Related to the Country and the Language
  2. Reasons Related to the Benefits of Learning a Language
  3. Reasons Related to Personal and Professional Aspects
  4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Dutch

1. Reasons Related to the Country and the Language

Some of the best reasons to learn Dutch have to do with the properties of the language itself, as well as the countries in which it’s spoken. Let’s take a closer look. 

Reason 1: Learning Dutch is relatively easy.

So, why study Dutch? Because it’s quite easy, especially for English speakers. Here’s what we mean: 

  • Dutch is very similar to English and German.

    If you speak English or German, mastering Dutch will not be too difficult for you. Dutch is very similar to these languages, making it one of the easiest languages for native English or German speakers to learn. Speaking one of these languages—even if not natively—will give you a headstart in your Dutch learning!
  • Dutch people will appreciate your efforts.

    The Dutch are used to foreigners speaking in English with them. So when foreigners (try to) speak Dutch, native speakers are pleasantly surprised and are happy to help. They’ll appreciate your effort, try to speak extra-slow, and help you whenever you get stuck.

    You might need to make it clear first that you really prefer to speak Dutch, as they’ll switch to English out of habit if you don’t. But once that’s cleared up, their willingness to help will turn out to be one of the best things about learning the language.
  • Your pronunciation and grammar don’t have to be perfect.

    The Dutch aren’t too snobby or arrogant regarding their language. Mistakes are okay, and even Dutch natives can be quite sloppy with their own language. Grammar rules aren’t always taken into account, and even the pronunciation isn’t always perfect.

    The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has a lot of dialects and accents from region to region. That’s why there’s no such thing as perfect Dutch pronunciation. Take, for example, the hard g sound in the north and the soft g sound in the south. Of course, you should try to learn Dutch the best you can, but it’s simply okay to make mistakes.

If you’d like to learn more about why learning Dutch is easier than you might think, make sure to visit our full article Is Dutch Hard to Learn?

Reason 2: Dutch is spoken in more places than you might think.

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands and Suriname, and it’s one of the official languages in Belgium, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. It’s spoken in most of the former Dutch colonies and in small emigrant communities all over the world. Dutch is also the parent language of Afrikaans, one of the 150 official languages of South Africa. (Before Afrikaans was officially recognized by linguists, Dutch itself was one of the official languages here.)

So, why learn Dutch? Because there are about 23 million people registered as native Dutch speakers all over the world and another 5 million speak Dutch as a secondary language.

Reason 3: You’ll get to know the rich Dutch culture and history.

When you learn a language, even if you’re just focusing on practical topics such as grammar and vocabulary, you’ll get to know more about the culture and the history of its native speakers.

As your thoughts are shaped by the language you speak, learning the Dutch language will give you some insight regarding how the Dutch think. Learning a language is like opening a window into the Dutch culture, history, and way of life. And if this is too philosophical for you, there’s also a more practical reason why learning Dutch will help you learn the country’s culture and history: It’s the perfect way to be able to connect with the locals. If you can’t have a conversation with the Dutch, how can you get to know their country? 

Yes, of course, many Dutchies speak English, but the culture and history of a country includes its language, sayings, humor, and even songs. So, while learning Dutch, you’ll be able to get to know all these different aspects of the Dutch culture.

Clogs with Tulips in Them, Representative of the Dutch Culture

How well do you know the Dutch history and culture?

Reason 4: Dutch is a funny language.

The Dutch language has a very funny pronunciation with a lot of tricky sounds. It may not be the smoothest or sexiest language in the world, but it has some funny sounds no other languages seem to have. 

Dutch has a lot of vowels, as it uses single vowels, double vowels, and diphthongs. A diphthong is a pair of vowels that, together, make a particular sound that no vowel on its own has. The Dutch alphabet has six vowels (a, e, i o, u, y) and nine diphthongs:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample
aiPronounced as [I] in “I am” in Englishmais (“corn”)
auPronounced like [ow] in the English word “now”auto (“car”)
eiPronounced as the [i] in the English word “find”ei (“egg”)
euThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but you may know it from the French word “beurre.”leuk (“fun”)
iePronounced like [ee] in the English word “bee”mier (“ant”)
ijPronounced exactly the same as the Dutch ei diphthongwijn (“wine”)
oePronounced like [oo] in the English word “pool”moe (“tired”)
ouThis diphthong has exactly the same sound as the Dutch au diphthong. koud (“cold”)
uiThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but it’s a combination of the [a] sound in “man” followed by a long Dutch u.muis (“mouse”)

But that’s not all. The Dutch language even has triple vowels:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample
aaiThis is a combination of the Dutch aa and ie.draaien (“to turn”)
oeiThis is a combination of the Dutch oe and ie.koeien (“cows”)
ooiThis is a combination of the Dutch oo and ie.nooit (“never”)
eeuThis combination will always be followed by the letter w and is a combination of ee and oe.sneeuw (“snow”)

Learning these tongue-twisters may be a challenge, but it will also be fun to master them.

Dutch also has a lot of funny words. They might be the most normal words for the Dutch, but when you translate them directly to English, you’ll notice how crazy these words are: 

  • Boterham literally translates to “butter ham,” but it actually means “sandwich” or “a slice of bread.”
  • Handschoenen literally translates to “hand shoes,” but it actually means “gloves.”
  • Toiletbril literally translates to “toilet glasses,” but it actually means “toilet seat.”

Getting to know these crazy and funny Dutch words will make learning the language even more fun.

A Woman Lying Down and Laughing with Her Hands over Her Eyes

Which of these words made you laugh the most?

2. Reasons Related to the Benefits of Learning a Language

Of course, learning any language can add value to your life. Here are just a few benefits you can expect to gain when you start learning Dutch. 

Reason 5: Learning another language will open up your mind.

Most people don’t give their native language much thought. It all comes naturally, so why think much about it? 

It’s learning another language that will make you start wondering about linguistics. Just like realizing how lovely home is when you’re away from it, you’ll realize how interesting your native language is when you’re learning another one. You’ll discover similarities and differences, and you might even develop a new appreciation for your own language.

So, learning another language will open up your mind to your own language and to the world around it. Especially if you’re a native English speaker (and you’re used to using your native language abroad), learning another language will be an enriching experience culturally, professionally, and personally.

Reason 6: Knowing Dutch will help you learn other European languages.

As we mentioned earlier, the Dutch language is quite similar to the English and German languages. But why is that? 

Dutch is part of the Indo-European family of languages and belongs to the Germanic branch, as do English and German. Dutch has the same Germanic core as the German language, but integrates more Romance loans than the German language does (and fewer than English does). As is the case with German, the vocabulary of Dutch also has strong similarities with the continental Scandinavian languages, but differs quite a lot in text and speech. 

So, knowing the Dutch language will help you learn quite a few other European languages, namely: English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. These languages might be quite different (especially in pronunciation), but the similarities they share with the Dutch vocabulary and/or structure will give you a headstart when learning one of these other languages.

Reason 7: It will give your brain a boost.

Learning Dutch not only opens up your mind to your own language and helps you learn certain European languages, but it can also improve the overall health and functionality of your brain.

Learning a second language has many brain-boosting benefits: a better memory, greater multitasking skills, an improved ability to conceptualize, and faster, more decisive decision-making. Learning a new language can even help prevent dementia.

This boost can also help with learning other languages. If you already speak a foreign language, it will be easier to learn yet another language, as your brain is accustomed to the challenges of learning a foreign language. Therefore, bilinguals often find it easier to learn a third language.

A Sketch Drawing of a Brain with Sticky Notes Inside

Memorizing words gives your brain a boost.

3. Reasons Related to Personal and Professional Aspects

If you’re still wondering why to learn Dutch, have you yet considered the potential gains you could experience in your personal and professional life? Here are three more ways that learning Dutch can enhance your life: 

Reason 8: You’ll be able to enjoy studying in the Netherlands.

Speaking Dutch opens up lots of opportunities for education in the Netherlands. With some great universities as well as hogescholen (literally meaning “high schools,” but these are universities of applied sciences), the Netherlands has many study options to choose from. 

In the Netherlands, there’s WO (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, meaning “scientific education”) taught at universities and HBO (hoger beroepsonderwijs, meaning “higher professional education”) taught at hogescholen

The great thing about the Dutch universities is that they offer high-quality education at relatively low costs,  especially compared to the price of big universities in the U.S. and U.K.

Many of these schools have an international or multicultural environment with a wide range of courses in English. So you don’t have to manage Dutch at a high level to study in the country, though knowing the language will give you a richer study experience.

So why study Dutch? Because of the great study opportunities, of course! These are just two great facts about studying in the Netherlands, but there are many more reasons why you should study in the Netherlands

Reason 9: Learn Dutch to enjoy new business opportunities or career options.

The Netherlands has one of the richest and most stable economies in the European Union. There are many international companies located in the country and the Dutch government is very helpful to small businesses, having special measures to stimulate their development. So, there are many business opportunities and career options to enjoy in this small country.

But these many opportunities are not the only reasons to work in the Netherlands. Other great reasons are the high working standards (with a great work/life balance), a good healthcare system, and an excellent standard of living. 

As you can see, working in the Netherlands offers some great opportunities. Although not all companies or positions require a knowledge of the Dutch language, knowing Dutch will still help you find work here and have a better overall experience. 

Even if you don’t want to move to the Netherlands, knowing another language will be a positive selling point when you’re looking for a job in your own country. Learning Dutch will provide opportunities to work for companies that either have ties with the Netherlands or are in contact with Dutch groups.

Reason 10: Improve your relationships and communication with Dutch loved ones and their family.

Last but not least, a great reason to bother learning Dutch is to impress or win over a special someone in the Netherlands.

If you have a Dutch boyfriend or girlfriend, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk with him or her in their native language? It would definitely be a great way to impress them, and you’ll also get to know them better as you’ll start to understand their culture and way of thinking. You can start to declare your love to them with a beautiful ik hou van jou (“I love you”). Or give them a Dutch koosnaampje (“pet name”).

Learning the language would also mean that you could start communicating better with your lover’s family and friends. This way, the next time you go to a Dutch birthday party, you could talk with your Dutch in-laws about koetjes en kalfjes (translates literally to “talk about little cows and calves,” which refers to making small talk). This time, you’ll be the one participating in the conversations of your Dutch family, instead of them having to make the effort to speak English with you.

A Man Carrying His Girlfriend Near a Waterfall

Speak Dutch with your Dutch lover.

Even if you don’t have a Dutch lover, wouldn’t it be great to be able to speak in Dutch with your Dutch friends?

4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned the main reasons why you should learn Dutch. We’ve shown you many of the benefits of learning the Dutch language, from its practical applications in the business world to the sheer fact that it’s pretty funny at times. Learning any language, in fact, can improve the quality of your life: broader opportunities for study, enhanced brain function, and a more open mind are just a few examples.

Are you still thinking: Why should I learn Dutch? Or do you already know your answer? If so, do you feel ready to start learning Dutch or do you need some more guidance?

Make sure to explore, as we have plenty of free resources to help you practice your grammar and many useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings to learn new words.

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS MyTeacher service for personal one-on-one coaching. This way, you can practice your Dutch speaking skills with your own private teacher through interactive exercises and personalized feedback.

Happy learning!

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

Dutch Proverbs & Sayings About Life, Love, and All the Rest


Proverbs are little phrases of wisdom, passed down from one generation to the next. While some proverbs seem to extend across borders, others are unique to a specific culture or way of living. 

For this reason, learning Dutch proverbs and sayings is a great way to expand your vocabulary and gain cultural insight. These nuggets of practical advice and observations can really serve as a window into the age-old wisdom and traditions of the Dutch. 

They may be old-fashioned, but the Dutch still use these old proverbs on a daily basis. They serve as a reflection of who they are and the values they stand for. 

In this article, you’ll learn thirty of the most common Dutch proverbs about love, success, life, personality, weather, and family and friends. Studying them will help you learn more about the Dutch, while memorizing and using them in conversation is sure to impress native speakers!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Dutch Proverbs About Love
  2. Dutch Proverbs About Success
  3. Dutch Proverbs About Life
  4. Dutch Proverbs About Personality
  5. Dutch Proverbs About Family & Friends
  6. Dutch Proverbs About the Weather
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Dutch Proverbs About Love

Four People Making Hearts with Their Hands

Let’s discover that Dutch love…

They say that love is what makes the world go ‘round. With that in mind, let’s kick off our list with a few popular Dutch love proverbs! 


DutchGa niet op het uiterlijk af.
Equivalent“Never judge by appearance.”
This Dutch proverb is used to warn against falling in love with someone for only their looks. Looks are not the most important thing, so instead of judging someone by their appearance, you should rather have eyes for someone’s personality.


DutchAls de armoede binnenkomt, vliegt de liefde het raam uit.
Literally“When poverty comes in, love flies out the window.”
MeaningPoverty often means the end of relationships.
Having money troubles often causes relationship troubles as well. When there’s stress about money, the tension in a relationship often rises. This is an old Dutch proverb about love that’s used less nowadays, but there’s still some truth to it. It’s most often used in reference to romantic relationships, but can also be used when talking about friendships.


DutchVan liefde rookt de schoorsteen niet.
Literally“The chimney does not smoke from love.”
MeaningYou cannot live on love alone.
This Dutch proverb reflects the typical level-headedness of the Dutch. It may not be that romantic, but it’s true: you cannot live on love alone.


DutchLiefde maakt blind.
Equivalent“Love makes blind.”
This proverb is the same in Dutch as it is in English. It’s frequently used in songs and literature.


DutchIets bedekken met de mantel der liefde.
Literally“Covering something with the cloak of love.”
MeaningThis refers to not discussing something with others, but rather keeping silent and accepting the situation.
It may feel a bit contradictory to the Dutch directness and honesty, but even the Dutch sometimes prefer to keep quiet about something, out of love for the other person. This old Dutch proverb is a true classic and is often associated with motherly love. 

    → Would you like to learn some more Dutch sayings about love? Then have a look at our Dutch Quotes About Love vocabulary list.

2. Dutch Proverbs About Success

Silhouette of Three People Raising Their Arms in Victory Atop a Mountain

Here’s how to achieve success, according to the Dutch.

While success can mean different things to different people, there are some basic truths and words of advice we can all relate to. Here are some Dutch idioms and proverbs related to success and hard work—we hope they inspire you! 


DutchEen kat in de zak kopen.
Literally“Buying a cat in the bag.”
EquivalentTo buy a pig in a poke.
If you buy “a pig in a poke,” it means you’ve just made a bad purchase. The Dutch use this saying when someone buys something that’s very disappointing or breaks down very quickly. 

This saying dates back to when people would buy a pig or hare in a sack, only to come home and find out it’s a cat instead. It’s a bad purchase because you can create a tasty dish with a pig or hare, but not with a cat. The Spanish language has a similar proverb: dar gato por liebre, meaning “to give someone a cat instead of a hare.”


DutchHoge bomen vangen veel wind.
Literally“High trees catch a lot of wind.”
MeaningPeople in a high position face a lot of criticism.
Those who hold a high position have to face a lot of criticism. Just like tall trees, which rise above the small ones and are most exposed to the wind, high-ranking people are exposed to all kinds of judgment, hatred, and envy.

A variant of this Dutch proverb is: Hoge masten vangen veel wind. / “High masts catch a lot of wind.”


DutchAls de berg niet tot Muhammad wil komen, dan moet Muhammad naar de berg gaan.
Equivalent“If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain.”
MeaningIf you cannot get what you want, you must adapt to the circumstances or adopt a different approach.
This is another Dutch proverb that has the exact same meaning as its English equivalent. Both are based on the legend in which Muhammad ordered a mountain to come to him, which did not happen. Afterward, he supposedly uttered the words: “Well, mountain, since you do not want to come to Muhammad, Muhammad will come to you.”


DutchEen ezel stoot zich niet twee keer aan dezelfde steen.
Literally“A donkey doesn’t stub itself against the same boulder twice.”
EquivalentFool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
One should not make the same mistake twice. According to this Dutch proverb, only a fool would do so. 


DutchWie het eerst komt, wie het eerst maalt.
Equivalent“First come, first served.”
MeaningWho comes first is helped first.
This saying means that whoever is first to pick up or buy something can be sure that what they want is still available. Those who come later may be too late, and everything may already be gone.

This old saying originates from the time when wheat had to be brought to a mill to be grinded. So, the one who arrived first with their wheat could count on it being grinded first.


DutchSchoenmaker, blijf bij je leest.
Literally“A shoemaker must not go beyond his last.”
MeaningYou should stick to what you know.
The Dutch might say this to someone who judges something of which he or she has no knowledge.

This old Dutch proverb comes from a story about the famous Greek painter Apelles, who lived in the fourth century B.C. The artist liked to hide behind his paintings so that he could hear what spectators really thought of his artwork. One day, he heard a shoemaker comment on the shoes in one of his paintings, which was missing a shoelace hole. Apelles adjusted his work, but the shoemaker still found something to complain about. Apelles was fed up and said these famous words to the shoemaker: Sutor, ne ultra crepidam. / “Shoemaker, no further than the shoe.”

3. Dutch Proverbs About Life

A Little Girl Throwing Autumn Leaves Up into the Air

Some inspirational Dutch proverbs to help you enjoy life to its fullest…

For time immemorial, people have been asking themselves how to live life well. There are several idioms and proverbs in Dutch on the topic, and studying them can give you a glimpse of how the Dutch view this topic. 


DutchBelofte maakt schuld.
Literally“Promise is debt.”
MeaningIf you promise something, you should honor that commitment.
This Dutch proverb reflects two things the Dutch value highly: honesty and loyalty. If you promise to do something, you have to stick to that promise.


DutchWie goed doet, goed ontmoet.
Literally“Who does good, meets well.”
EquivalentIf you do good, good will be done to you.
This old Dutch proverb is still very true today. It means that if someone does good things for other people, that person can sometimes expect good things in return. It’s sort of a Dutch karma mindset, related to their highly valued honesty.


DutchDoor de bomen het bos niet meer zien.
Literally“Can’t see the forest through the trees.”
EquivalentMissing the forest because of the trees.
When you pay too much attention to details (the trees), you’ll lose sight of the whole picture (the forest). For example, there’s so much information on the internet that it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. 


DutchGeld moet rollen.
Literally“Money must roll.”
EquivalentMoney is there to be spent.
You might say the Dutch are a pragmatic and responsible group of people, but they also have their impulsive and crazy moments. In the Netherlands, when someone comments about someone else’s (irresponsible) spending, that person may respond: Geld moet rollen. Many people also say this to encourage spending for the sake of the Dutch economy.


DutchNood breekt wet.
Literally“Necessity breaks the law.”
EquivalentNecessity has no law.
The Dutch are quite the law-abiding citizens. Even though they value their freedom, they also know that they have this freedom because people respect the law. However, in emergency situations, things are permitted that would otherwise not be permitted.


DutchEen gewaarschuwd mens telt voor twee.
Literally“A warned man counts as two.”
EquivalentForewarned is forearmed.
This Dutch proverb about life reflects the typical pragmatic and practical attitude of the Dutch. Someone who knows in advance what can go wrong should prepare for it. 

4. Dutch Proverbs About Personality

Someone Holding Two Signs Up, One with a Smiley Face and the Other a Frowny Face

Which Dutch proverb reflects your personality?

No two people are exactly alike, though there are some common personality and character traits we can easily pinpoint in others. Below are a few Dutch proverbs and sayings on this very topic! 


DutchAls je hem een vinger geeft, neemt hij de hele hand. 
Literally“If you give him a finger, he takes the whole hand.”
EquivalentGive him an inch and he will take a yard.
This Dutch proverb refers to the greediness of people. If you help someone one time, they’ll come back for more. If you give someone a little bit of something, he or she will want more and more.


DutchVan een mug een olifant maken. 
Literally“To make an elephant out of a mosquito.”
EquivalentTo make a mountain out of a molehill.
This common Dutch saying refers to people who are exaggerating. The Dutch are very down-to-earth and they don’t really like too much drama. They often use this proverb when someone is turning a small problem into a big one.


DutchAls er één schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer.
Literally“If one sheep crosses the dam, more will follow.”
MeaningIf one person tries something new, others will have the courage to do so as well.
If someone sets an example, there will soon be people who follow that example.


DutchAl draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding. 
Literally“A monkey may wear a golden ring, but it will always be an ugly thing.”
EquivalentYou cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
This is a widely known Dutch proverb, and it may be one of the most amusing ones as it also rhymes. It can refer to someone’s ugly personality: one’s appearance doesn’t make up for their negative personality. But it may also refer to someone who is not very good-looking: if someone dresses nicely, it doesn’t improve the natural appearance of that person. 


DutchBlaffende honden bijten niet.
Literally“Barking dogs don’t bite.”
EquivalentBarking dogs seldom bite.
This common Dutch proverb may be used in reference to actual barking dogs, but it’s also used when talking about “barking” people. People who make the loudest threats are the least likely to take action.

    → Which Dutch adjective describes your personality best? Discover this in our useful vocabulary list, and practice your pronunciation with the included audio recordings.

5. Dutch Proverbs About Family & Friends

A Family at the Mall Eating Ice Cream

Now for some Dutch proverbs that reflect some of the Dutch family values.

Family and friends are the most important people in one’s life, so it makes sense that there would be at least a few Dutch proverbs touching on these unique relationships. 


DutchAls de kat van huis is, dansen de muizen op tafel.
Literally“When the cat leaves the house, the mice dance on the table.”
EquivalentWhen the cat’s away, the mice will play.
Without supervision, people do whatever they like.

This Dutch proverb is often used by parents when talking about their children. When they leave them without supervision, the children will do whatever they like.


DutchBeter één vogel in de hand dan tien in de lucht.
Literally“Better to have one bird in the hand than ten in the air.”
EquivalentA bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
This common Dutch proverb refers to the value of having a few very close friends, rather than having a lot of friends that you hardly ever see. A variant of this saying is: Beter een goede buur dan een verre vriend. / “Better a good neighbor than a distant friend.”

The proverb may also mean that it’s better to have something little than nothing at all. Or that small, concrete results are better than big plans. (There’s the Dutch pragmatism again!)


DutchDe appel valt niet ver van de boom. 
Literally“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
EquivalentA chip off the old block.
Children often resemble their parents. This is a common saying in the Netherlands, often said when a child has the same looks, interests, or talents as their parents.


DutchZo vader, zo zoon. 
Equivalent“Like father, like son.”
Like the previous saying, this one also states that children inherit the characteristics of their parents. There’s also a variant: Zo moeder, zo dochter. / “Like mother, like daughter.”

There used to be a Dutch television program called Zo vader, zo zoon. The program revolved around guessing the father of a son from a group of four. A permanent panel had to try to guess by asking questions and presenting situations that would reveal which one the father was. 


DutchBeter alleen, dan in kwaad gezelschap.
Literally“It is better to be alone than to be in bad company.”
This Dutch proverb already says it all: It’s better to be alone, than to be with bad people.

6. Dutch Proverbs About the Weather

Raindrops Falling on a Body of Water

The Dutch know their rain.

People often use different aspects of weather and the seasons as an analogy for things we experience in life. Here are just a few examples of how the Dutch do this…


DutchHet regent pijpenstelen. 
Literally“It is raining pipes.”
EquivalentIt is raining cats and dogs.
Knowing the Dutch weather, it’s no surprise that the Dutch have a few sayings about the rain. Like its English equivalent, this one is often used when it’s raining very hard. 


DutchNa regen komt zonneschijn.
Equivalent“After rain comes sunshine.”
Although this proverb might refer to the weather, it’s most often used to say that there will be better times after a period of adversity.


DutchDoor wind en weer gaan.
Literally“Going through wind and weather.”
MeaningNothing can stop you.
This saying is a symbolic reflection of the Dutch stamina and their attitude toward facing bad weather. This is directly reflected in the Dutch bike culture. It doesn’t matter if it rains or if the wind blows strongly—the Dutch will take their bike and gaan door wind and weer, or “go through wind and weather.”

    → Expand your Dutch weather vocabulary with these useful lists of must-know terms for summer and autumn.

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned about the most important Dutch proverbs and sayings on a variety of topics. Do you already feel inspired and motivated to learn more about the Dutch language, culture, and history? 

Then it’s definitely time to discover DutchPod101! Our numerous vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other useful free resources are designed to boost your Dutch studies and keep your Dutch learning fresh and entertaining.

Would you prefer some one-on-one coaching? Remember that DutchPod101 also has the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members. With this service, you can practice everything you’re learning with your personal tutor. You’ll quickly master the Dutch language through your teacher’s personalized feedback, fun assignments, and pronunciation advice.

Happy learning with DutchPod101!

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

A Practical Amsterdam Travel Guide with Local Tips


Have you ever visited Amsterdam? It’s the most famous Dutch city, and for good reasons. Beautiful architecture, lovely shops, buzzing nightlife, green parks, and a variety of museums make the city of Amsterdam a place anyone can enjoy. 

Your Amsterdam travels will also be a great opportunity to practice your Dutch. Because Amsterdam is such a touristic city, the inhabitants sometimes get a bit tired of the many tourists (especially in the summer). The best way to gain the respect of Amsterdammers (the people of Amsterdam) is through showing respect for the city and its culture—and learning a bit of Dutch is a great way to do this! Locals will definitely appreciate you trying to speak their native language. If in trouble, though, you can always save yourself by switching to English; many people in Amsterdam speak it fluently.

In this useful Amsterdam travel guide from, you’ll discover the best places to visit in Amsterdam. And if you have some extra time, we’ll even give you some great recommendations for places to visit outside of the Dutch capital.

A Canal in Amsterdam

What would you like to visit in Amsterdam?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. 10 Things You Must Do in Amsterdam
  3. 3 Must-See Places Just Outside of Amsterdam
  4. Survival Dutch for Amsterdam Travelers
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Before You Go 

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and also its most populated city, with over 800,000 residents. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, then have a look at these useful travel tips! 

When to Go

What’s the best time to visit Amsterdam? The best period to visit this city is from April to May. It’s spring in the Netherlands, which means nice weather and not too many tourists (as may be the case during summer). The next best time to visit Amsterdam is from September to November; this is after the peak tourist season, but the weather may still be pleasant.

So what about summer or winter? The summer in Amsterdam can be beautiful. It’s a fun time with a lot of outdoor entertainment, but the city will be full of tourists. If you don’t mind this, you’re sure to have fun and meet some interesting people. The winter gets quite cold in the Netherlands, so it may not be the best time to visit Amsterdam. That said, the city becomes really idyllic this time of year with all the beautiful lights and Christmas decorations.

Getting Around

Amsterdam is the city of bikes. Be aware that the Dutch don’t play around when it comes to cycling. It’s their main means of transport, so if you choose to cycle your way around Amsterdam, try to adapt the best you can to the fast Dutch bike culture.

Other ways to navigate the city are by foot (the city is not that big), tram, metro, train, or bus. If you want to use the impressive Dutch public transport system, then you can buy a reusable card called OV-chipkaart. You can buy it at the machines at the train stations and just top it up; this is much cheaper than buying individual day or hour passes.


In Amsterdam, you can get by without knowing any Dutch—but the more you learn before your trip, the better! Knowing some basic Dutch will allow you to interact with locals (who will appreciate your effort), read signs and menus, and immerse yourself deeper into the culture. The Dutch do speak very good English, so you can always switch to this language in a pinch. 

Sleeping & Eating

The central area of Amsterdam (with the beautiful canal belt) is one of the most well-known areas of the city, but it’s also one of the most expensive and touristy areas to stay. Consider lodging within one of the beautiful Amsterdam neighborhoods and get a real taste of how the locals live, from Noord (“North”) to Zuid (“South”) and Oost (“East”) to West (“West”). You can also choose to stay outside of the Ring (that’s the highway going round Amsterdam), in Zuid-Oost, Diemen, or Amstelveen. This will be cheaper and it’s a quick trip to town by public transport.

Amsterdam has many restaurants to choose from, but try to stay away from the very touristy ones (like those on the big squares or main avenues). Rather, visit Amsterdam like a local and try out some of the cozy, lesser-known pubs or restaurants. 

Dagschotel (Literally “day dish,” meaning “daily special”) is the dish of the day, and many Amsterdam restaurants feature it on their menu. It’s often cheaper than the other dishes listed. Also keep in mind that while you can find traditional Dutch cuisine in older Dutch restaurants, many of the restaurants in Amsterdam have been influenced by several other cuisines. 

Would you like to save some money? Then make use of the many street vendors selling Dutch classics, such as fries, poffertjes, bitterballen, or herring. Alternatively, you could do your own groceries; Dutch supermarkets have all you need to make sandwiches or other easy meals.

Packing Reminders

A Pink Suitcase on a Bed, Packed with Many Things

What would you pack for your trip to Amsterdam?

The weather in Amsterdam can change quickly between sun, rain, wind, and cold weather—it can all happen in one day! Prepare yourself by packing well. We recommend bringing an umbrella or raincoat and some clothes that will protect you against the (sometimes harsh) wind. If you go in the winter, bring multiple layers, gloves, scarves, beanies, and thick socks.

Don’t forget your EU adapter, either. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll need it to charge your mobile, camera, or other gadgets.

2. 10 Things You Must Do in Amsterdam

Whether you’re a culture-lover, a shopping addict, crazy about the arts, or a true foodie, you’ll find plenty of excitement in this fun capital city. Following is a summary of the very best sights, activities, and places to visit in Amsterdam.

1 – Discover De Jordaan.

De Jordaan is an old volksbuurt (working-class neighborhood) of Amsterdam. If you’re looking for the true Amsterdam locals, you’ll find them here (although the neighborhood has been gentrified in recent times). It’s located on the outside of one of the major canals and is characterized by pretty streets, cool bars, and fun shops. It’s the perfect neighborhood to stroll around, take pictures of the beautiful bridges and gorgeous houses, shop along the Westerstraat, and have a bite to eat in one of the many hip bars or restaurants.

The great thing about De Jordaan is that it’s very central (and therefore also touristic), but it has kept its authenticity and you can still experience some true local Amsterdam life here.

2 – Take a canal tour.

A Dutch Canal in the Evening

The Dutch canals are beautiful by night

If you want to see Amsterdam in another light, then why not see it from its grachten (“canals”)? Take a canal tour to see the city’s highlights from around the canal belt and learn something about this historical part of the city. Did you know that the Amsterdam canals date back to the seventeenth century?

Many canal tours start near the Centraal Station (“Central Station”), and you have many different canal tours to choose from: hop-on hop-off rides, tours with audio guides, and more. It’s also a great way to get oriented in the city.

3 – Discover Amsterdam by bike.

Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) is all about bikes—with reason, it’s called the bike capital of the world. So if you want a true Dutch experience, you should ride a bike in the nation’s capital. It’s a great way to explore the city, both inside and outside the city center. You can either ride on your own or join a bike tour. There are many bike rental shops, so it won’t be hard to rent a bike or find a tour.

Whatever you do, stick to the bicycle lane on the right side of the road and respect the other cyclists. The Dutch can go quite fast when cycling, so try to stay out of their way and never stop in the middle of the bike lane to take pictures.

4 – Have a picnic at the Vondelpark.

Vondelpark is the city’s largest and most popular park. It’s located in southern Amsterdam, close to the famous squares Leidseplein and Museumplein. Amsterdammers and tourists alike love to come here to do sports, have some drinks (there are various restaurants and bars in the park), or have a picnic. In the summer, it’s very common for locals to pack a bag with food (and sometimes even a BBQ), some drinks, and a blanket to have a picnic with friends and family.

Amsterdam has many other parks to visit, including Oosterpark, Sarphatipark, and Westerpark. Though these are less iconic, they’re definitely worth a visit as well. They tend to be less crowded, and locals who live close by visit these parks to meet friends, enjoy the sun, or have a picnic.

5 – Cross the river to discover Amsterdam-Noord.

Amsterdam-Noord is hip and happening. It’s located above the Central Station in northern Amsterdam, and you have to cross the river IJ to get there. But it’s all worth it. Taking the free(!) ferry is already an enjoyable experience, and you can even bring your bike. There are a lot of open-air bars, markets, restaurants, and even festivals to discover in the area. 

Amsterdam-Noord has different areas, so make sure to take the right ferry to the right area. One of the areas that’s booming is the NDSM Werf (“Wharf”), which is a former shipyard that has become a hip hangout. It has many restaurants and bars as well as a huge flea market (IJ-Hallen) that takes place once a month. 

Another area to visit is just in front of Central Station. Here, you can find the iconic EYE Filmmuseum (“EYE Film Institute”), dedicated to cinema and movie making. You can watch a movie here, enjoy its wonderful exhibitions, or have a bite to eat in its fancy restaurant with a great view.

6 – Visit one of the many markets in Amsterdam.

Several Buckets of Colorful Tulips

What tulips would you buy on the Bloemenmarkt?

Amsterdam is home to many markets, from traditional markets to flower markets and vintage markets. The Bloemenmarkt (“Flower Market”) is located on one of the canals and can be enjoyed year-round, with tulip stands in the spring and Christmas decorations in the winter. 

If you like vintage markets or flea markets, you need to add the following markets to your Amsterdam itinerary: 

    Noordermarkt (every Monday morning; on Saturday, it’s a farmers’ market) 
    IJ-Hallen (once a month)

Do you want to visit some traditional Amsterdam markets? Then the Albert Cuyp Markt or Ten Kate Markt are great picks. They feature music and typical Dutch food, such as haring (“herring”). 

And last but not least, the Westergasterrein is a former gas works that has been made into a creative culinary area with a great Sunday market. 

There are even more great markets, but try to visit at least one of the ones we’ve mentioned when you’re in Amsterdam.

7 – Shop at the negen straatjes, a shopping heaven for boutique-lovers.

Do you love to shop? Then the Negen Straatjes is your place to go, boasting many cute shops, gift stores, boutiques, vintage shops, cafés, and restaurants. It’s located at the southwestern end of Amsterdam’s main canal ring, so it’s also a very beautiful area. This alone makes it worth visiting even if you’re not a shopaholic. These nine streets are perfect to stroll through, to have a drink in one of the little cafés, or to buy some non-touristy souvenirs.

8 – Visit the famous museums.

The iconic Rijksmuseum

The iconic Rijksmuseum

There are lots of great museums in Amsterdam, the most iconic of which are Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank Huis

  • The building of the Rijksmuseum is a landmark in its own right, and inside you’ll find a massive collection of great art and artifacts. It’s the place to find the works of the Dutch masters (such as Rembrandt), and it also provides insight into the period when the Dutch Empire was created.
  • The Van Gogh Museum offers great insight into the life and work of this painter, using interactive exhibits to show the evolution of his skills and inspiration. You’ll find Van Gogh’s most famous paintings here, such as De Zonnebloemen (“The Sunflowers”) and De Aardappeleters (“Potato Eaters”). There are also some temporary exhibitions by painters who inspired him or were close to him. 
  • The Anne Frank Huis shows the house where she, her family, and her friends hid during World War II. It’s a moving experience to see how she lived for several years, and it will tell you more about the war in the Netherlands.

In the summer, the lines for these museums can be very long. Luckily, you can buy your tickets online to reserve your visit for a certain day and time. 

9 – Wander around the different neighborhoods of Amsterdam.

The central canal belt is the most touristic area of Amsterdam, but the city has much more to offer. It’s in the city’s neighborhoods that you can discover its true local life. 

  • De Pijp is a neighborhood in southern Amsterdam, known for its fun bars and great restaurants. You can also find the Sarphatipark and Albert Cuyp Markt here. 
  • Oud-West is a multicultural neighborhood with a bohemian vibe. It’s home to the Ten Kate Markt, the Foodhallen (an inside food market), and many bars, restaurants, and shops. 
  • Oost is another multicultural neighborhood that has become very hip and happening over the last few years. It features a great cultural scene, restaurants, and bars, and it’s also home to the Oosterpark and Amsterdam’s Zoo Artis

There are many other neighborhoods that are worth a visit as you explore Amsterdam. Every neighborhood has its own vibe, architecture, and unique sights. 

10 – Discover the diverse cultural scene of the city.

Amsterdam is a great city for culture-lovers, as it has a diverse cultural scene with great exhibitions, live music, theatre, dance performances, cinema, parties, and festivals. Summer is the best time for travelers to be in Amsterdam if they want to discover the city’s cultural scene. Visit Amsterdam in summer to enjoy its many festivals: music festivals, open-air cinemas, theatre, food festivals, and the list goes on. The city is also known for its parties and great clubs, which you can enjoy all year round.

3. 3 Must-See Places Just Outside of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has so much to offer, but we suggest you try to discover its surroundings as well. There’s a lot to discover close to Amsterdam, so you can easily make a day trip to one of these other great destinations. Here you can discover a quieter way of life, with open fields and the typical Dutch windmills. Or you can discover one of the many other big buzzing cities of the Netherlands. Here’s what to visit near Amsterdam if you have the time!

  • Volendam

    Volendam is located in the northern part of the Netherlands, just above Amsterdam. It’s a true tourist destination as it’s a traditional little fishing town where (some) people still wear traditional clothes. If you want to discover some old Dutch traditions, this is the place to be.
Volendam in the Netherlands

Would you like to visit Volendam?

  • De Zaanse Schans

    De Zaanse Schans is also located above Amsterdam, and it’s an area with a lot of old Dutch houses and windmills. With its picturesque location just beside the water, it truly is a beautiful sight. The historical area dates back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so it really offers some insight into Dutch history. There are old Dutch shops that you can visit, such as an historical cheese maker and grocery store; you can even tour one of the windmills.
  • One of the other big cities of the Randstad

    Amsterdam is located in the Randstad. This is a megalopolis, or in other words, a collection of large cities in close proximity. In addition to Amsterdam, the Randstad includes three of the other largest cities (Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht) as well as their surrounding areas. This means that there are many interesting cities to visit close to Amsterdam, from the modern Rotterdam to the cozy Utrecht, and still on to the political city The Hague.

4. Survival Dutch for Amsterdam Travelers

Even if you don’t speak much Dutch, it’s always good to greet the locals in Dutch as it will make for a much more positive first impression. Don’t worry, though. You can switch back to English after greeting them—they will still appreciate the effort.

Bedankt.“Thank you.”
Nee bedankt.“No, thank you.”
Erg goed.“Very good.”
Ik wil graag … (bestellen).“I would like to order …”
Hoeveel kost het?“How much is it?”
Waar is de wc?“Where are the toilets?”

    → For more useful Amsterdam travel phrases (or to practice their pronunciation), please have a look at the following resources on

Kunt u dat herhalen (alstublieft)?“Can you repeat that (please)?”
Wat langzamer, alstublieft.“A bit slower, please.”
Sorry, ik begrijp u niet.“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”
Spreekt u Engels?“Do you speak English?”

A Man in the Desert without Water

DutchPod101 helps you survive those language barriers.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this Amsterdam travel guide, you’ve learned about the most amazing places to visit in Amsterdam and the best activities to do in this vibrant city. There’s so much to do and see here, so definitely try to discover it by bike (in true Dutch style). And if you have some time left, go explore some more Dutch gems just outside of Amsterdam.

Are you already excited to visit the Dutch capital? How will you prepare for your trip?

Make sure to explore and our multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings. We also provide many other useful free resources so that you can practice your grammar and learn new words before your visit to the Netherlands.

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. Your own private teacher can help you prepare for your trip with useful Amsterdam travel phrases and more. He or she will also give you assignments, personalized exercises, and recorded audio samples to help you improve your pronunciation. 

Happy learning and safe travels!

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

English Words Used in Dutch: Do You Speak Dunglish?


Did you know that the Dutch language has close ties with English? 

English words are used in Dutch in many different ways, including through Dunglish (a crazy mixture of both languages) and loanwords. It’s important to know the difference between these two types of English words in Dutch, as loanwords are more widely accepted than Dunglish. 

The good news is that Dutch is full of English loanwords. Having these ‘freebies’ in your memory bank will make learning the language a bit easier. But the language exchange actually goes both ways, and you’ll also find basic Dutch words in English.

Are you ready to discover the ties between the Dutch and English languages with We’ll teach you everything you should know about Dunglish, English loanwords, and common Dutch words in English—and all this in a fun and easy manner!

A Woman with a Laptop Thinking Deeply

Are you speaking Dunglish or Dutch?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Dunglish
  2. Dunglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Dunglish
  4. Common Dutch Words in English
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Introduction to Dunglish

Dunglish is a mixture of the Dutch and English languages. In this section, we’ll give you some insight on its history and usage, so that you really understand what it is and what role it plays in Dutch society.

1 – Its History

In Dutch, Dunglish is also called Nengels or steenkolenengels (“coal-English”). 

Steenkolenengels is a well-known term in the Dutch language, but few people know its origin. It goes all the way back to the early twentieth century, when Dutch port workers tried to speak a creative form of English in order to communicate with workers from the English coal ships.

2 – Its Usage in Dutch Culture

Dunglish is mostly perceived as being the mistakes native Dutch speakers make when speaking English (but it can, of course, also be the other way around).

Dutch people manage the English language relatively well. They learn the language from a young age, as it’s a basic school subject throughout their educational career and it often continues to be practiced in universities where there are a  large number of courses and programs in English. But the English language is also part of the cultural scene in the Netherlands. The Dutch listen to a lot of music in English and watch a lot of English-language movies with Dutch subtitles (as the Dutch don’t dub movies). 

However, they still make mistakes when speaking English. Errors range from mistakes in pronunciation and word order to incorrect conjugation. Even political leaders can be found guilty of speaking some Dunglish. To give a funny example: 

Dries van Agt, the former Dutch prime minister, supposedly once said: “I can stand my little man,” a direct translation from the Dutch saying: Ik kan mijn mannetje wel staan. (“I can stand up for myself.”)

2. Dunglish Examples

To start, let’s have a look at some examples of Dunglish. If the Dutch make these mistakes when speaking English, you’re bound to make them as well when speaking Dutch! 

1 – Incorrect Meaning of Words

Applying incorrect meanings to English words is the most typical Dunglish mistake of all. Words are incorrectly translated, which often leads to some understandable but funny mistakes. 

There is a funny story about a meeting between the former Dutch prime minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy and Winston Churchill in London. When Gerbrandy shook Churchill’s hand, he supposedly said “Good day,” to which Churchill responded, “This is the shortest meeting I have ever had.” Goedendag (“Good day”) is a common Dutch greeting, but in English it’s most often used when saying goodbye. A logical Dunglish mistake to make if you don’t know this little difference between the two languages.

Because Dutch and English are so similar to each other, incorrect translations are bound to happen. Let’s take the Dutch word eventueel for example: it means “potentially” in English, and not “eventually.” Another example is the Dutch word actueel, which means “current.” It is sometimes mistakenly translated as the English word “actual,” which means “genuine.” 

You can imagine how some humorous mistakes can be made due to incorrect translations like these! 

2 – Word Order

A Woman Standing in Front of a Blackboard that Has Speech Bubbles Drawn on It

Let’s try to avoid these Dunglish word order mistakes.

Another typical Dunglish mistake is to use incorrect word order, as the Dutch and English languages do not follow exactly the same word order. A typical word order mistake the Dutch make when speaking English is saying: “What mean you?” This is a literal translation of the Dutch question: Wat bedoel je? As you can see, the word order is different, which explains this Dunglish mistake. 

These word order mistakes are especially common in questions, as there is a particular difference between Dutch and English question word order. It’s common for English speakers to use the Dutch word doe (“to do”) when asking yes/no questions. Contrary to English, the Dutch don’t use the auxiliary “do” in questions. So don’t use it, otherwise your Dutch question word order will be incorrect. 

For example: “Do you like dancing?”

  • Correct: Houd je van dansen?
  • Dunglish: Doe jij houden van dansen?

Another common word order mistake has to do with not knowing when to split the verbs in sentences. 

This mistake is so prevalent because while the Dutch like to split their verbs, this is not done in English. When there are multiple verbs in a Dutch sentence, one part of the verb will be at the beginning of the sentence and other parts will be at the end. So the complicated Dutch present perfect sentence De jongen heeft in het huis de gele deur met zware verf geverfd, may be literally translated to: “The boy has in the house the yellow door with black paint painted.” However, this should be: “The boy has painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”

When should you be aware of this verb-splitting in Dutch? Be cautious when using present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect verbs. In such cases, you may need to add a verb to the end of the sentence. Here is the sentence structure for these tenses:

Subject + Working verb + Adverb + (Adjective +) Direct object + (Adjective +) (Indirect object +) Other verb

    → Would you like to learn more about Dutch word order? Have a look at our useful article on the subject and avoid this typical Dunglish mistake.

3 – Verb Conjugation

Aside from verb-splitting, English and Dutch verbs actually share many things in common. This sometimes causes Dutch speakers to conjugate English verbs according to Dutch grammar rules, and vice-versa.

Example of this Dunglish mistake made by Dutch speakers: We drinken het bier

  • Correct: “We drink the beer.”
  • Dunglish: “We drinken the beer.”

Example of this Dunglish mistake made by English speakers: “They kiss each other.”

  • Correct: Zij kussen elkaar.
  • Dunglish: Zij kus elkaar.

Although both languages use the infinitive (kussen or “to kiss”) in the plural form, the infinitive is different, causing confusion for Dutch and English speakers. 

4 – Errors in Pronunciation

As is to be expected, pronunciation mistakes abound between speakers of the two languages. One of the most common Dunglish pronunciation errors for Dutch speakers has to do with the difference between the English sounds ‘th’ and ‘t.’ For example, the Dutch may pronounce “third” as “turd,” “the” as “duh,” and “three” and “tree” as “dreeh.”

Another set of English pronunciation mistakes the Dutch make comes down to the tricky difference between the words “bat” / “bad” / “bet” / “bed” and “back” / “bag” / “beck” / “beg.” The difference between these sounds does not exist in the Dutch language, so they tend to pronounce these words the same way.

However, Dutch pronunciation may be even more difficult for English speakers. Do you remember those tricky diphthongs? A diphthong is the combination of two vowels that, together, make a particular sound—a sound that no vowel in Dutch makes on its own. 

A common Dunglish mistake that Dutch learners make is to pronounce the letters separately, rather than as one fluid sound. Let’s have a look at the nine Dutch diphthongs:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample
aiPronounced as [I], as in “I am” in Englishmais (“corn”)
auPronounced like [ow] in the English word “now”auto (“car”)
eiPronounced as the [i] in the English word “find”ei (“egg”)
euThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but you may know it from the French word “beurre.”leuk (“fun”)
iePronounced like [ee] in the English word “bee”mier (“ant”)
ijPronounced exactly the same as the Dutch ei diphthongwijn (“wine”)
oePronounced like [oo] in the English word “pool”moe (“tired”)
ouPronounced exactly the same as the Dutch au diphthongkoud (“cold”)
uiThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but it’s a combination of the [a] sound in “man” and a long Dutch u.muis (“mouse”)

Another pronunciation mistake English speakers make has to do with the pronunciation of sch as sk (with too much of a k sound).

Let’s have a look at how you should pronounce this: 

Letter(English) PronunciationExample 
schPronounced like an [s] followed by a harsh [ch], as in the Scottish word “loch”schaap (“sheep”)

Netherlands Flag Inside a Speech Bubble

Use these tips to improve your Dutch pronunciation.

3. Loanwords vs. Dunglish

In addition to Dunglish, there are also plenty of English words in the Dutch language that are used on a regular basis. In this section, we’ll discuss the difference between Dunglish and loanwords, and introduce you to some of the most common English words in Dutch.

1 – Loanwords vs. Dunglish: What’s the Difference?

Do you already understand the difference between loanwords and Dunglish? While both are a mixture of the Dutch and English languages, one is correct and the other isn’t. As may be clear from the previous section, Dunglish may be cute but it’s not correct.

So if you want to make use of the English language while speaking Dutch (or vice-versa), then it’s better to use loanwords. These are words that are borrowed from another language with little to no changes—in this case, these are English words used in Dutch with the same meaning and similar (if not identical) spelling. 

And lucky you! The Dutch language is full of English loanwords. It’s easy vocabulary that you don’t even have to study.

2 – List of English Words in Dutch

Some English loanwords in Dutch have become so common over time that they’ve become “Dutch” verbs. Let’s have a look at them:

 “To check”
Ik wil nog even met jou de route checken.
 “I just want to check the route with you.”

WhatsappenIk whatsapp je nu.
 Literally: “I Whatsapp you now.”
 Meaning: “I’m sending you a Whatsapp message now.”

It literally means “to Whatsapp,” but its meaning more closely relates to “to send a message with Whatsapp.”

 “To download”
Hij heeft de film gedownload.
 “He has downloaded the movie.”

Apart from this funny vernederlandsing (“Dutchification”) of English words, there are also some English loanwords that are directly incorporated into the Dutch language.

AirconditionerKun je de airconditioner aanzetten?
 “Can you turn on the air conditioner?”

Because compound words are so common in Dutch, the English word “air conditioner” is changed to airconditioner. The same thing happens to the English loanword “credit card,” which is written as one word in Dutch: creditcard.

Although the Dutch use the word airconditioner, it’s more common to hear them say the short version: airco.

LaptopIk werk op mijn laptop. 
“I work on my laptop.”

OutfitIk heb mijn outfit voor het feest al klaar liggen.
 “I already have my outfit ready for the party.”

E-mailIk vroeg hem in een e-mail of hij me kon helpen.
 “I asked him in an email if he could help me.”

Happy hourLaten we naar die bar gaan waar het nu happy hour is.
 “Let’s go to that bar where it’s happy hour now.”

HelpdeskIk heb de helpdesk gebeld en ze hebben het probleem opgelost.
 “I called the help desk and they solved the problem.”

As you can see, this is another example of the Dutch turning an English loanword into a compound word. 

JunkfoodIk heb echt zin in junkfood. “I’m really craving junk food.”

Yes, “junk food” has also become one word in Dutch.

With this list of English words in Dutch, you’ve learned some new Dutch vocabulary without having to study for it. Do you know any other English words in Dutch? There are many more, as the Dutch language is greatly influenced by English.

A Woman Studying on Her Laptop with Headphones

Doesn’t this make learning Dutch more fun?

4. Common Dutch Words in English

Did you know that there are also many English words of Dutch origin? It makes sense, as the Dutch were some of the first European settlers in the United States. In Holland, Michigan, and New York’s Brooklyn and Harlem, you can still see some of these Dutch roots.

Let’s have a look at these common Dutch words in English:

“Boss”This word comes from the Dutch word baas, which has the exact same meaning as the English version.

“Yankee”This is the combination of two of the most popular names for boys in the Netherlands at a certain point in history: Jan and Kees, which makes Jan-Kees, leading to “Yankee.”

“Coleslaw”The Dutch word for “coleslaw” is koolsla. Pretty similar, right? It literally means “cabbage salad.”

“Waffle”“Waffle” is taken from the Dutch word wafel, which is pretty similar and has the same meaning.

“Cookie”The English word “cookie” is based on the Dutch word koekje, which literally means “little cookie.”

“Wagon”In the Netherlands, they used to call “wagons” wagens when referring to trains.

“Dollar”“Dollar” originates from the Dutch word Daalder. This is an historical Dutch coin and is also what the Dutch sometimes called their currency before the euro (de Gulden).

“Santa Claus”‘Santa Claus’ is taken from the fictitious Dutch character Sinterklaas, named after St. Nicolaus, a bishop who lived in Turkey.

Some claim that the Dutch settlers in New York City (a former Dutch colonial town) reinvented the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition.

“Deck”The English word “deck” derives from the Dutch word dek, which refers to the floor of a ship. However, the word dek in Dutch can also be used to mean “covering.”

“Yacht”It comes from the Dutch word jacht, meaning “hunt,” and it’s short for jachtschip, meaning “yacht ship.”

Quite a few English words relating to the sea or to sailing are derived from Dutch. For example, “cruise” comes from the Dutch verb kruisen (“to cross”) and “buoy” comes from the Dutch word boei. With the Netherlands being one of the leading seafaring nations, it’s not surprising that the English language has been influenced by Dutch in this particular way.

Two Hands Making a Heart Shape in Front of the Netherlands Flag

Let’s boost your Dutch learning.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about Dunglish, from its history to its usage in modern times. You’ve also learned why you should avoid it, how to keep from making the most common mistakes, and what makes loanwords different. We even introduced you to some basic Dutch words in English. This just makes learning Dutch a bit easier—after all, it’s free vocabulary you don’t have to study.

Are there any other English loanwords in the Dutch language you know? Or some other basic Dutch words in English?

If you enjoyed this article and want to continue your Dutch studies, keep in mind that DutchPod101 has tons of effective learning materials: vocabulary lists with audio recordings, free resources to boost your studies, and entertaining audio and video lessons for learners at every level. 

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching. When you use this system, you’ll have your own private teacher who can show you other useful ways to use your English knowledge when learning Dutch. Along with pronunciation exercises and personalized assignments, your teacher will review your work and answer any questions you have.

Happy learning on!

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

A Useful Guide to Dutch Culture and Customs


The first step in becoming comfortable in another country is to understand its culture. This will help you avoid the so-called ‘culture shock’ during your stay and make your interactions with natives more enjoyable. Learning about Dutch culture will not only make your experience in the Netherlands that much smoother, but it can also accelerate your language learning!

Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know about Dutch culture and customs. The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has a lot of culture to discover. It’s known for its progressive and explorative spirit, art, architecture, food, and even some special holiday traditions—all of which we’ll cover in this handy Dutch culture guide!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Dutch Cultural Values and Beliefs
  2. Dutch Religions
  3. Relationships
  4. Different Dutch Art Forms
  5. Dutch Food
  6. Dutch Holidays
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Dutch Cultural Values and Beliefs

Every culture has a set of widely shared ideologies that influence the daily lives of its people. Here are just a few key values and beliefs in modern Dutch culture that you should know about.

A- Tolerance (Verdraagzaamheid)

In the Netherlands, tolerance (verdraagzaamheid) is a prominent Dutch cultural value and it’s taught to children from a young age. The Dutch tradition of tolerance revolves around having respect for people’s freedom of choice regarding their attitudes and beliefs. However, there are parts of the Netherlands that are “more tolerant” than other parts. For example, Randstad and other larger cities tend to show a greater degree of tolerance toward others than smaller cities do. Take Amsterdam, for example. Here, the Dutch tradition of tolerance is clearly noticeable in the streets where you can find gay bars, coffee shops, and the red light district.

Many Dutch people are very proud of their country’s progressiveness on social and moral issues, such as LGBTIQ rights, soft drugs, euthanasia, and freedom of speech. However, a more conservative and intolerant attitude has become noticeable in the Netherlands in recent years, with politicians and other people campaigning against migration and other cultures. A study also shows that the younger generations (20-30 years old) are less progressive than the older generations. Nevertheless, many Dutch people still highly value tolerance and open-mindedness. 

B- Pragmatism

The Dutch may be some of the most pragmatic people in the world. 

They’re practical, down-to-earth, and realistic in their way of reasoning and approaching things. They tend to rationalize and analyze everything before proceeding with their actions. In addition, they’re very functional and try to find the “best way” to do something. This makes them very innovative and explorative in their way of doing things, leading to new inventions and progressive business ideas. This may also make them less spontaneous, more frugal, or even “boring,” but the Dutch just love calculating things. This has led them to some great results in business and other sectors.

Don’t worry! The Dutch do know how to have fun and relax; their pragmatic side mostly comes up in work situations.

C- Directness

Because they’re so pragmatic, the Dutch are also quite direct. 

This Dutch directness is well-known among foreigners, who often have to adjust to this behavior. At first, it may come across as rude, but it does have its positive side. Their honesty and direct communication help them achieve the best results in work and relationships.

Dutch people, in general, will let you know what they think. They don’t play games and people are frank if they don’t like something. While there are no lies to save your feelings, at least you won’t be let down by someone’s dishonesty. 

D- Privacy

The Netherlands is a small country with a large population for its size (in fact, it’s the country with the highest population density in Europe). This may be why Dutch culture values privacy so much. 

While the Dutch prefer privacy in their homes and workspaces, this longing for privacy also extends to their interactions with other people. This guarded behavior is only relaxed when around friends, family members, or close colleagues. The Dutch need some time to get to know other people before they open up. Try to respect this need for privacy—with time, you’ll notice a change in this behavior.

The privateness of the Dutch is related to another Dutch cultural value: modesty. The Dutch don’t like to brag about their accomplishments or wealth. They prefer to keep this private so as to promote fairness and equality in Dutch society.

2. Dutch Religions

Compared to many other cultures, religion plays a small role in modern-day Dutch culture and traditions. Still, it’s an important element to consider if you want to gain a complete view of the society. Here’s what you need to know about religion in the Netherlands! 

A- Religion in Dutch Society

The Netherlands previously had a practice called verzuiling (“pillarization“). This is the segregation of religious, social, and cultural groups through the creation of social and political institutions for each group. These groups would have their own schools, hospitals, newspapers, and TV channels. The (political) leaders of each group collaborated with each other to make sure they all had the same rights and functions, creating a smooth and articulated public life. 

This ideological and religious segregation lasted until the 1970s, after which the Netherlands experienced rapid secularization. Nowadays, religion plays a relatively small role in politics and society. However, you can still see remains of this practice in Dutch society, as there remain to be certain schools and media connected to a certain religion.

B- Dominant Religions in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, almost half of the population (42%) identifies with no religion. Aside from that, the religiosity of the Netherlands is characterized by its diversity: 23% of the Dutch population is Catholic, 14% are Reformed Protestant, 7% are Dutch Reformed, and 4% are Muslim.

The rapid secularization of the Netherlands in the 1970s led to a decreasing role of religion in Dutch culture. The only real exception would be communities in the Dutch Bible Belt, which runs through and around the cities of Zierikzee, Dordrecht, Utrecht, Zwolle, and Assen. 

On the other hand, one religion that has been growing in the Netherlands is Islam. The majority of Muslims in the Netherlands come from migrant families from North Africa and the Middle East. The Dutch Muslim population mainly lives in the cities of the Randstad.

    → Would you like to learn more about religion in the Dutch language? Have a look at the useful Religion vocabulary list from DutchPod101.

3. Relationships

One major window into other cultures is how different relationships are expected to be viewed, formed, and maintained. In this section, we’ll tell you all about the Dutch culture and customs regarding family, couples, friends, and colleagues.

A- Family

What Do You Think of the Dutch Family?

The family serves as the foundation of the Dutch social structure. 

However, families tend to be relatively small with only one or two children. Dutch family culture mainly focuses on the nuclear family, and less on the extended kin. This small group of family members remains important and central to the individual throughout their life. Because different members of a family tend to live close to each other, the Dutch do form relationships with extended family members, but to a lesser degree.

However, in the tolerant Dutch society a lot of other living arrangements and family forms are accepted as well. These include single-parent households, same-sex couples with children, and divorced couples that share responsibility for their children.

In Dutch society, independence is very much stimulated and young people are encouraged to leave their home at the age of 18 to study or work. However, this is not always possible due to increasing university costs and housing shortages in the bigger cities of the Netherlands.

B- Couples

In Dutch culture, dating practices are quite similar to those of other North-European countries or the United States. Throughout high school, teenagers socialize with and date peers from school, the neighborhood, or other social activities. 

The Dutch consider it normal to start dating different people at a young age or to have several relationships before moving in together or marrying. Not all couples marry, although the practice has become a bit more popular among younger generations. It’s common for a couple to marry after living together for many years.

The marriage ceremony generally entails two events: a civil registration and a celebration (which is usually a religious ceremony or a wedding party). LGBTIQ couples also have the right to marry. In 2001, the Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.

    → Would you like to find a little Dutch romance? Try our list of the cheesiest Dutch Quotes About Love to express your feelings in Dutch.

C- Friends

Friends play a central role in Dutch culture. As the Dutch are encouraged to be independent from a young age, they’re also encouraged to make lasting and reliant friendships. The Dutch often have friends from primary school, high school, university, work, and so on. They have different groups of friends and often see them separately—it’s not common to mix these different groups.

Do you want to make a Dutch friend? The Dutch may seem a bit cold or distant at first. It might be difficult to move from acquaintance status to friend status. However, when they open up, the Dutch are very loyal friends. So it’s a friendship that is worth the wait (and effort)!

D- Colleagues

In the Netherlands, relationships between colleagues differ from job to job depending on the formality of the workplace or industry. However, Dutch work relationships tend to be formal and quite reserved. They’re not very touchy-feely at work and appreciate it if other colleagues remain at a certain (emotional) distance. 

However, once people have been colleagues for a long(er) time, the Dutch open up and some friendships may develop. It’s quite common to have lunch together or to have drinks after work every now and then. These are the perfect moments to get to know your Dutch colleagues better.

    → Are you going to work in the Netherlands? Then discover our vocabulary list for Talking About the Workplace, with useful audio recordings to improve your pronunciation.

4. Different Dutch Art Forms

The Netherlands has a diverse cultural sector with a wide range of art forms: painting, architecture, music, television, and more. The Dutch art scene has many home-grown influences, and has also been influenced by many other world cultures.

A- Dutch Painting

The Netherlands has quite the painting legacy, with artists like Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh lining the halls of its history. While the seventeenth century painter Rembrandt van Rijn is known for the Night Watch (De Nachtwacht) and his use of light and shadows, the nineteenth century painter Vincent van Gogh is known for the Sunflowers (Zonnebloemen) and his impact on the development of modern art. 

Other great painters from the Netherlands include still-life artist Johannes Vermeer and geometrical pioneer Piet Mondrian. 

If you want to see the masterpieces of these and other painters, you can visit one of the many museums in Amsterdam: 

  • Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt and Vermeer)
  • The Van Gogh Museum
  • The Stedelijk Museum (contemporary art)

There are great museums in other cities as well, such as the Haags Gemeentemuseum (Mondrian) and the Mauritshuis (Rembrandt and Vermeer) in the Hague. Another great option is the Kröller-Muller Museum (impressionism, expressionism) in Otterloo.   

B- Dutch Architecture

The Dutch love architecture, both old and new. In the Netherlands, you can enjoy a lot of architectural pearls, as the Dutch have mastered this art form. This is shown in the country’s architectural landscape, from Pieter Post and his Dutch Baroque works to the twenty-first century practitioners such as Rem Koolhaas. But let’s not forget the De Stijl architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld either, who designed The Schroeder House in Utrecht, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rotterdam Is a City with Amazing Modern Dutch Architecture.

C- Dutch Music

The first thing you should know about Dutch music culture is that the Dutch have a strange relationship with music from their home country. Some may not listen to it at all, some may prefer music from abroad, and still others may prefer Dutch music sung in English. Of course, there are also fans of Dutch music sung in Dutch, but the Dutch tend to listen more to foreign music. 

Let’s dissect the music scene a bit:

On the pop and rock music scene, you can find artists who sing in English (Anouk and Kane) and artists who sing in Dutch (Jan Smit and André Hazes). The latter type of music is labeled volksmuziek (“folk music”), and it’s highly sentimental. Other popular Dutch pop, rock, and indie artists that sing in Dutch include Eefje de Visser, Doe Maar, Bløf, and Spinvis.

There’s a booming Dutch hip hop (Nederhop) scene, where rappers like Fakkelbrigade rap in Dutch. 

Last but not least, we have to mention the Dutch influence on electronic music as well, with the most famous names being Tiesto and DJ Hardwell.

D- Dutch Television & Films

The Dutch film industry is relatively small and there is very little international interest in Dutch films. For these reasons, the industry depends greatly on state funding. Popular Dutch movies are: Turks Fruit, All Stars, Soldaat van Oranje, Ciske de Rat, and Alles is Liefde

On Dutch television, you can watch a lot of foreign programs (with Dutch subtitles) and a lot of Dutch sitcoms, game shows, and soaps. The most famous Dutch soap is Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (“Good Times, Bad Times”), and a typical Dutch TV show is Boer Zoekt Vrouw (“Farmer Looks for Wife”). And yes, as the name implies, it’s a Dutch dating show for farmers.

5. Dutch Food 

Dutch cuisine has several influences from abroad, but there are also some authentic Dutch dishes and unique Dutch food products that you should definitely try when visiting the Netherlands.

A- Top 5 Dutch Dishes

Here is a selection of five delicious Dutch dishes you should definitely try:

  1. Bitterballen
    These deep-fried crispy meatballs are a popular Dutch pre-dinner snack that you’ll find on the menu of a lot of bars and even restaurants. They’re traditionally served with mustard.

  2. AVG
    AVG is short for Aardappelen, Vlees, en Groente (“Potatoes, Meat, and Vegetables”). This true Dutch classic is the base of every traditional Dutch meal.

  3. Stamppot
    Stamppot literally means “mash pot” and it’s a mix of mashed potato and vegetables such as kale, endive, cabbage, carrot, or sauerkraut. It’s often served with meat on the side (or sometimes mixed through) and gravy.

  4. Pannenkoeken
    Pannenkoeken, or Dutch “pancakes,” are thinner than the thick American pancakes but thicker than the French ones. They can be eaten with a wide range of toppings: syrup, powdered sugar (called poedersuiker in Dutch), apple, bacon, cheese, and many other savory or sweet toppings.

  5. Appeltaart
    The Dutch “apple pie” has a delicious cinnamon taste and its apple filling is mixed with raisins and sometimes even walnuts. The true Dutch “grandmother’s” apple pie, oma’s appeltaart, is a classic dessert or a perfect sweet snack during the day.

Would you like to learn how to order food in Dutch restaurants? Then have a look at this practical list of the Most Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Ordering Food or this Restaurant vocabulary list.

B- Some Unique Dutch Products

Dutch cheese is a national pride. The Dutch simply love their cheese. They mainly eat it on bread—boterham met kaas (“slice of bread with cheese”)—but they also enjoy it as a snack, or blokjes kaas (“little cubes of cheese”). Next time you’re in the Netherlands, try the world-famous Dutch Goudse kaas (“Gouda cheese”). There are a lot of tasty Dutch cheeses to try, but Gouda is the true classic.

Do You Like Dutch Cheese?

You’ll also find that the Dutch have a sweet tooth, so there are a lot of unique Dutch sweets you should try: 

  • stroopwafel (“syrup waffle”) – the most famous Dutch cookie
  • hagelslag – sprinkles which the Dutch mainly use to sprinkle on their bread
  • drop (“liquorice”) – can be sweet or salty

Would you like to learn more about Dutch food? Then you can’t miss our tasty guide to traditional Dutch food.

6. Dutch Holidays 

Even a basic knowledge of the national holidays and traditions will give you a better understanding of the culture of the Netherlands. There are many different Dutch holidays, so we’ll just cover the most important ones here.

A- King’s Day

Koningsdag (“King’s Day”) is celebrated on April 27, three days before the birthday of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander. Prior to this, the holiday was called Koninginnedag (“Queen’s Day”) and celebrated on April 30. It’s a national holiday involving a lot of flea markets, parties, and traditional activities. Every year, the royal family visits a different city. 

    → Check out our King’s Day word list for useful vocabulary about this Dutch holiday!

B- Liberation Day

Bevrijdingsdag (“Liberation Day”) is when the Dutch celebrate their liberation during World War II. It has been celebrated on May 5 every year since 1945 and it was declared a national holiday in 1990. Many cultural activities are planned on this Dutch holiday, such as bevrijdingsfestivals (“Liberation Day festivals”) with music and other activities. 

    → Would you like to expand your Dutch vocabulary? Have a look at our Liberation Day word list and celebrate this holiday like a true Dutchie.

C- Sinterklaas

The Dutch have their own Santa Claus: Sinterklaas. Three weeks before December 5, he arrives by steamboat with his helpers de Pieten. Their arrival is shown live on television, but a lot of children and their parents also go to the docks to see it in person. For the next three weeks, Sinterklaas and his helpers visit children at school or leave behind some sweet treat during the night. Then on December 5 (his birthday), he comes by their houses with even more presents.

D- Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Kerst (“Christmas”) in the Netherlands is celebrated on December 25 (eerste kerstdag, “first Christmas day”) and December 26 (tweede kerstdag, “second Christmas day”). Both are national holidays, spent with family over a nice Christmas dinner (or lunch).

Oudejaarsavond (“Old Year’s Evening”) is mostly celebrated with family and/or friends. People eat oliebollen (“Dutch doughnuts”), drink some bubbles, and set off fireworks. The Dutch also have a crazy tradition on New Year’s Day, where people go to the beach to take a New Year’s Dive (nieuwjaarsduik) in the ice-cold seawater.

What Do You Like the Most about Dutch Culture?

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this Dutch culture guide, you’ve learned the basics concerning Dutch culture and customs, from values and beliefs to relationships and food. Do you feel like you understand the Dutch culture a bit better? Do you think it will inspire you to improve your Dutch learning even more? We encourage you to make some use of the insight and knowledge we’ve provided here!

Make sure to explore and our multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources. Our aim is to help you understand the Dutch language and culture even more. 

Remember that you can also use the DutchPod101 Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching so that you can really master the Dutch language. You’ll have your own private teacher who will help you with your pronunciation, review your work, and discuss any Dutch cultural topic you want to know more about. 

Happy learning!

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