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Learn Dutch Phone Call Phrases and Other Useful Words


Does the thought of having a telephone conversation in Dutch make you feel nervous? It’s normal to feel this way about making or receiving a phone call in another language. There are even people who suffer from “phone anxiety” or “phone phobia.” These people already feel nervous about making a phone call in their own language, let alone in another language.

One way you can get rid of those nerves is to pick up some Dutch phone call phrases. At the very least, this will help you feel more in control of the situation and allow you to navigate those inevitable phone calls during your stay in the Netherlands. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to answer the phone in Dutch and carry a basic phone conversation. We’ll be covering everything from key vocabulary terms to the different parts of a phone call—greetings and introductions, giving the reason for your call, transferring the line, leaving a message, handling connection issues, and ending the conversation.

Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll be able to make that Dutch phone call with confidence!

Someone Holding Their Cell Phone; Sketches of Musical Notes in the Background

Let’s make that Dutch phone call with confidence!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Phone Vocabulary
  2. Greeting
  3. Checking
  4. Transferring
  5. Stating Your Reason for the Call
  6. Experiencing Phone Call Problems
  7. Leaving a Message
  8. Ending
  9. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Better Dutch

1. Phone Vocabulary

Before we look at specific phrases for a telephone conversation in Dutch, let’s first go over some phone-related vocabulary. Learning these useful words will help you feel more comfortable when talking on the phone or when discussing phone calls in general.

This short vocabulary list includes everything you need, from hardware terms to related verbs.

Mobiele telefoon
Mobile phone
Text message
Phone number
BellenTo call
TerugbellenTo call back
Nummer intoetsenTo dial
You could also say nummer draaien, literally meaning “spin the number.” This term dates back to the old rotary phones.
OpnemenTo pick up
OphangenTo hang up
Bericht achterlatenTo leave a message
OpladenTo charge

2. Greeting

Every phone call starts with a greeting of some sort; it’s just basic phone etiquette. However, the greeting used may differ between the caller and the receiver. 

Another factor that could influence the greeting is the expected formality level. You would respond to a professional phone call more formally than you would a phone call with friends. 

Let’s have a look.

A Woman in a White Tank Top Waving to Someone

Which Dutch greetings do you already know?

1 – Calling

Hallo is the most common way to start a Dutch phone conversation, perfect for both casual and more formal situations. 
Hoi is another great phone call greeting, though it’s a bit more casual. So you can definitely use it with friends and family members, but watch out at work. Saying this to close colleagues shouldn’t be an issue, but choose one of the other greetings if you’re going for a more formal and professional vibe.
Good morning.
Good afternoon.
Good evening.
Want to go formal? Then these greetings are perfect for you. You say goedemorgen until 12 p.m., goedemiddag until 5 p.m., and goedenavond until 12 a.m.

Do you want to use this greeting in a more casual setting? Then you can greet the receiver with goedemorgen when calling in the morning, as this one is commonly used in both formal and casual Dutch conversations.

If you’re the one calling and would like to introduce yourself directly after the greeting, then you can use one of these phrases:

  • Hallo, u spreekt met David de Vries. (“Hello, you are speaking to David de Vries.”) [More formal]
  • Hoi, met David. (“Hi, with David.”) [More casual]
    • You can also just say Met David, without the greeting.

Would you like to introduce yourself further? Then have a look at these 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself.

2 – Answering

The interrogative Hallo? is a very typical way to pick up the phone in Dutch. 
Like when calling, you can answer with a simple Hoi? in more casual settings.

Should you say your name when you answer the phone? This is up to you! However, it’s common in the Netherlands to say your name when picking up a landline telephone, or when you receive a call from an unknown number on your mobile phone. If you like to introduce yourself when answering your phone, you can use the same introduction phrases as when you’re calling.

    → There are many different ways to greet someone on the phone in Dutch. You’ll find lots of ideas on our list titled Common Ways to Say Hello.

3. Checking

When making a call or answering the phone in Dutch, you might need to ensure you’re speaking to the right person or inquire about who’s calling. Below are phrases you can use for these situations, respectively. 

1 – Calling

Imagine you’ve called someone and they’ve greeted you, but they have not yet introduced themselves. Now, you have to check to see if you’ve reached the right person or office. 

One simple way to do this is to use the person’s name:

  • David? [Casual, only using their first name]
  • Meneer De Vries? (“Mr. de Vries?) [Formal, only using their last name – Male]
  • Mevrouw De Vries? (“Ms. de Vries?”) [Formal, only using their last name – Female]

Want to go a bit further? Here are a couple of other options:

Spreek ik met David?Am I speaking with David?
Is dit het kantoor van meneer De Vries?Is this the office of Mr. de Vries?

Once you know you’re at the right place, you should introduce yourself (assuming you haven’t done so already). You can use one of the introduction phrases mentioned earlier.

2 – Answering

If you don’t know who’s calling you and they haven’t introduced themselves yet, you’ll probably want to inquire about that:

Met wie spreek ik? [Formal]Who am I speaking to?
Wie heb ik aan de lijn? [Casual]Who is calling?
It literally means, “Who do I have on the line?”

4. Transferring

Some People Working in a Call Center

Learn how to transfer that Dutch phone call like a pro.

1 – Calling

If you’ve reached the secretary or main desk of a company, the next step is for you to be transferred to the right person or service. Below, you’ll find a variety of useful Dutch phone phrases for both formal and informal situations. 

Kan ik Cathy spreken? [Casual]Can I talk to Cathy?
Ik zou graag met Cathy willen spreken. [Formal]I would like to speak to Cathy.
Ik ben op zoek naar mevrouw De Vries. [Formal]I’m trying to reach Ms. de Vries.
Ik probeer David te pakken te krijgen. [Casual]I’m trying to reach David.
Kunt u mij doorverbinden met de klantenservice?Could you transfer me to customer service?

2 – Answering

Met wie spreek ik?Whom am I speaking to?
This phrase can be used for answering your phone, though it’s also typically used to ask on behalf of the person to whom you’ll transfer the caller.
Blijf aan de lijn, alstublieft.Hold the line, please.
Een momentje, alstublieft. 
Een moment geduld, alstublieft.
One moment, please.
One moment of patience, please.
Ik verbind u/je nu door.I am putting you through now.
Hij/Zij is nu niet beschikbaar.He/She is not available right now.
Kan ik een bericht aannemen?Can I take a message?
Ik zal vragen of hij/zij u/jou terug kan bellen.I can ask him/her to call you back.
Mag ik uw/jouw naam en telefoonnummer noteren?Can I take your name and number?

5. Stating Your Reason for the Call

You could be calling for any number of reasons, whether you just want a casual Dutch phone conversation with a friend or need to make a more professional call. Whatever it may be, we’ll cover a few different reasons you can give during your next telephone conversation in Dutch.

Ik bel je om te horen hoe het met je gaat.I’m calling to check on you.
U/Je had me gebeld. You called.
Ik bel u/je terug naar aanleiding van uw/je voicemail bericht.I’m calling you back in response to your voicemail message.
Ik zou graag een afspraak willen maken.I would like to make an appointment.
    → After you’ve stated your reason(s) for the call, would you like to make some small talk? Then have a look at our Using Small Talk Phrases vocabulary list.

6. Experiencing Phone Call Problems

A Woman Who Is Stressed Out while Talking on the Phone

What should you do when you experience problems during your Dutch phone conversation?

Even though we use smartphones nowadays and making phone calls is easier than ever before, we still experience issues from time to time: bad connections, dialing the wrong number, running out of battery…

Here are some Dutch phone phrases to help you handle these kinds of situations:

Ik begrijp je niet. [Casual]
Ik begrijp u niet goed. [Formal]
I don’t understand you.
I don’t understand you very well.
Ik versta u/je niet.I can’t hear you.
De verbinding is slecht.The connection is bad.
Kun je dat nog een keer zeggen? [Casual]
Kunt u dat herhalen? [Formal]
Can you say that again?
Could you repeat that?
De verbinding werd verbroken.The line got cut off.
Mijn batterij is bijna op. My battery’s almost dead.
U heeft het verkeerde nummer gebeld.You’ve dialed the wrong number.
Sorry, verkeerd verbonden.I’m sorry, I’ve dialed the wrong number.

7. Leaving a Message

You’re trying to reach someone but keep getting their voicemail… What will you do? You could hang up or you could summon the courage to leave a message. So, how does one leave a good voicemail

First, here’s a taste of what you might hear upon reaching the voicemail: 

Hallo, dit is het antwoordapparaat van Bruno. Ik kan de telefoon nu niet opnemen, maar u kunt na de piep een bericht achterlaten.Hi, this is Bruno’s answering machine. I can’t answer the phone right now, but you can leave a message after the beep.

A way to respond to this might be:

Hoi Bruno, met Anna. Ik wil je even spreken. Kun je me terugbellen? Mijn nummer is 06-936 5657.Hi Bruno, this is Anna. I would like to talk to you. Could you call me back? My number is 06-936 5657.
    → Do you need to state your phone number in Dutch? Then have a look at our Numbers vocabulary list to get the right word and pronunciation of each number. Good luck!

8. Ending

A Guy Giving the Peace Sign with Both Hands

How do you say goodbye in Dutch on the phone?

Ending the call is probably the easiest part of a telephone conversation in Dutch, as you can use one of the goodbye phrases you already know. It’s just a quick formality that only gets a bit more complicated in professional contexts.

Dag. [Formal]Goodbye.
Doei! [Casual]Bye!
Tot ziens. [Formal]Goodbye.
Tot later. [Casual]See you later.
Fijne dag.Have a good day.
Bedankt voor het bellen.Thank you for calling.
Je bent erg behulpzaam geweest. Dank je.You’ve been very helpful. Thank you.

9. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Better Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned a variety of practical Dutch phone call phrases for both casual and professional contexts. You’re now better prepared to handle every component of a phone conversation, from the initial introductions to saying goodbye. 

Did we forget any important phrases you’d like to learn? 

DutchPod101 has much more to offer, such as our numerous vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources. You’ll also enjoy a wealth of audio and video lessons hosted by native Dutch speakers; each lesson teaches practical language information and introduces you to Dutch culture. We make it fun and easy to boost your Dutch, whether you’re an absolute beginner or an advanced learner looking to take your skills up a notch.

Want more? DutchPod101 also has a special service for our Premium PLUS members: MyTeacher. Let your own private teacher help you practice Dutch grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation through personalized exercises, fun assignments, and useful recorded audio samples. With the help of an expert teacher, you’ll learn these Dutch phone call phrases—and countless other facets of the language—in no time!

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

Boost Your Dutch with These 200+ Dutch Words for Beginners


As a new Dutch learner, you may be concerned about your lack of vocabulary. But we have good news: Having access to an extensive and complete list of Dutch words for beginners will surely help you master the Dutch language. 

It could be frustrating not being able to understand someone or explain yourself because you don’t know certain Dutch words. But the truth is, you don’t need an immense vocabulary to begin holding conversations. Once you learn the beginner words, you’ll already be able to manage yourself in everyday situations. Take it step by step, learn one beginner Dutch word each day, and you’ll soon have a solid base on which to build your Dutch skills. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of over 200 beginner Dutch words that will allow you to communicate with native speakers. And rest assured we’ll be covering all the bases: pronouns, verbs, numbers, nouns, conjunctions, adjectives, and adverbs. 

Let’s get started!

A Woman Trying to Understand What a Man Is Saying

Start building your Dutch vocabulary with these 200+ Dutch words for beginners.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Verbs
  3. Numbers
  4. Nouns
  5. Conjunctions
  6. Adjectives
  7. Adverbs
  8. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Pronouns

There are several pronoun categories in Dutch that you should become familiar with, though you should first focus on the personal subject pronouns (“I” / “you” / “she” / etc.). Let’s take a look at these crucial beginner Dutch words. 

Personal Subject Pronouns

Personal subject pronouns replace the subject of a sentence.

  • Kai spreekt Nederlands. (“Kai speaks Dutch.”)
  • Hij spreekt Nederlands. (“He speaks Dutch.”)

PersonDutch pronounEnglish
1st person sg.IkI
2nd person sg.Jij / UYou (casual / formal)
3rd person sg.Hij / ZijHe / She
1st person pl.WijWe
2nd person pl.Jullie / UYou (casual / formal)
3rd person pl.ZijThey

Impersonal Pronouns

When you’re not referring to a person, you can use an impersonal pronoun. Luckily, the Dutch language has only one of them:

Het (“It”)

  • Het doet pijn. (“It hurts.”)
  • Het is niet waar. (“It is not true.”)
  • Het is belangrijk. (“It is important.”)

However, there is one important difference between Dutch and English impersonal pronouns: In Dutch, you can use het for plural nouns, while you can’t do the same with “it” in English.

  • Het zijn goede buren. (“They are good neighbors.”)

Demonstrative Pronouns

The Dutch demonstrative pronouns are: 

  • Dit (“This”)
  • Deze (“This” / “These”)
  • Dat (“That”)
  • Die (“That” / “Those”)

To understand how to use the demonstrative pronouns, it’s important to remember that there are two types: dependent and independent: 

  • Die film is leuk. (“That movie is nice.”) – dependent
  • Dat is leuk. (“That’s nice.”) – independent

As you might have noticed, the dependent demonstrative pronoun precedes a specific person or thing: that movie, not the other one. However, the independent demonstrative pronoun can also stand alone, meaning it does not have to precede a noun.

Interrogative Pronouns

  • Wie? (“Who?”)
    Wie is daar? (“Who’s there?”)
  • Waar? (“Where?”)
    Waar ben je? (“Where are you?”)

  • Wanneer? (“When?”)
    Wanneer ben je geboren? (“When were you born?”)
  • Wat? (“What?”)
    Wat doen we vanavond? (“What are we doing tonight?”)
  • Waarom? (“Why?”)
    Waarom lach je? (“Why are you laughing?”)

Indefinite Pronouns

  • Alles (“Everything”)
  • Niets (“Nothing”)
  • Iets (“Something”)
  • Iedereen (“Everybody”)
  • Niemand (“Nobody”)
  • Iemand (“Somebody”)

2. Verbs

Common English Verbs in Colorful Bubbles

Do you know the Dutch translation of these common but crucial verbs?

Below, you’ll find a list of the 50 most useful Dutch verbs for beginners. Keep in mind that we have an entire article dedicated to verbs in Dutch, in case you want to dive deeper. 

ZijnTo be
HebbenTo have
GaanTo go
WillenTo want
KunnenTo be able to / Can
MoetenTo have to / Must
DoenTo do
ZeggenTo say
PratenTo talk / To speak
NemenTo take
GevenTo give
WetenTo know
HorenTo hear
ZienTo see
VragenTo ask / To request
AntwoordenTo answer / To reply
ZoekenTo look for / To search
VindenTo find / To discover
MakenTo make
KomenTo come
GelovenTo believe
DenkenTo think
BeginnenTo begin / To start
BegrijpenTo understand
BlijvenTo stay / To remain
WachtenTo wait
WeggaanTo leave
VolgenTo follow
TellenTo count
LezenTo read
SchrijvenTo write
StuderenTo study
BeslissenTo decide
HoudenTo hold
DragenTo carry / To wear
TekenenTo draw
VoelenTo feel
VertellenTo tell
SlapenTo sleep
StaanTo stand
HerinnerenTo remember
VasthoudenTo hold / To hold onto
Houden vanTo love
KennenTo know
Kijken naarTo watch
LachenTo laugh
OpenenTo open
LerenTo learn
HelpenTo help
UitleggenTo explain

3. Numbers

As a Dutch beginner, you probably won’t find yourself needing to manage a lot of numbers. In most situations, you’ll be able to get by with the numbers 1-10 (plus zero).

A Child Solving the Problem 1+1=2

Let’s learn how to count in Dutch.

  • 0       Nul
  • 1       Eén
  • 2       Twee
  • 3       Drie
  • 4       Vier
  • 5       Vijf
  • 6       Zes
  • 7       Zeven
  • 8       Acht
  • 9       Negen
  • 10      Tien

Would you like to learn some additional Dutch numbers and their pronunciation? Then have a look at this Dutch numbers vocabulary list.

4. Nouns

Nouns represent people, places, or things. Dutch nouns are used with an article, which may be either het or de. Masculine and feminine words generally get de, while all neuter words get het. Let’s have a look:

Definite singularDe man 
The man”
De vrouw 
The woman”
Het huis 
The house”
Definite pluralDe mannen 
The men”
De vrouwen 
The women”
De huizen 
The houses”
Indefinite singularEen man 
A man”
Een vrouw 
A woman”
Een huis 
A house”

There’s not always a good explanation for why a Dutch word is assigned a specific gender—not to mention that Dutch words have no clear gender indication. It’s something you have to learn by heart or develop an intuition for. To help you start doing this, we’ll list each of the nouns below alongside their article. 


Het uurThe hour
De minuutThe minute
De dagThe day
De maandThe month
Het jaarThe year
De ochtendThe morning
De (na)middagThe afternoon
De avondThe evening
De nachtThe night


De wereldThe world
Het landThe country
De plekThe place
De zeeThe sea
Het bosThe forest
De bergThe mountain
De winkelThe shop

Technology & Internet

De telefoonThe phone
Het schermThe screen
De computerThe computer
Het internetThe internet


Het huisThe house
De deurThe door
Het raamThe window
De keukenThe kitchen
De slaapkamerThe bedroom
Het toiletThe toilet / The restroom

City & Transportation

A Map of the Netherlands Showing Amsterdam and Limburg

These nouns can definitely be helpful when you’re traveling through the Netherlands.

De autoThe car
De busThe bus
De treinThe train
Het vliegtuigThe plane
De taxiThe taxi / The cab
De fietsThe bicycle
De stadThe city
De straatThe street
De wegThe road


De moederThe mother
De vaderThe father
De vrouwThe woman / The wife
De manThe man / The husband
De echtgenootThe spouse (m.) / The husband 
De echtgenoteThe spouse (f.) / The wife
De broerThe brother
De zusThe sister
De familieThe family
De vriendThe friend / The boyfriend
De vriendinThe friend / The girlfriend
De zoonThe son
De dochterThe daughter


Het hoofdThe head
Het oog / De ogenThe eye / The eyes
De mondThe mouth
De neusThe nose
Het oorThe ear
Het haarThe hair
De armThe arm
De handThe hand


De tafelThe table
Het bordThe plate
Het glasThe glass
Het waterThe water
Het fruitThe fruit
De groenteThe vegetable
De koffieThe coffee
Het broodThe bread

Work & Studies

De studentThe student
De schoolThe school
De dokterThe doctor
De verkoperThe salesman
De docentThe teacher

5. Conjunctions

There’s a lot to say and explain about Dutch conjunctions, but you won’t need to use many of them when you first start learning Dutch. With just a few basic Dutch conjunctions, you’ll be able to manage yourself in a lot of different situations:

  • En (“And”)
    Een kat en een hond (“A cat and a dog”)

  • Of (“Or”)
    Wijn of water (“Wine or water”)

  • Als (“If”)
    Als je wilt komen (“If you want to come”)
  • Omdat (“Because”)
    Ik eet omdat ik honger heb. (“I eat because I’m hungry.”)
  • Maar (“But”)
    Een beetje, maar niet te veel (“A bit, but not too much”)

  • Door (“By” / “Through”)
    Ik ben geholpen door een expert. (“I’m helped by an expert.”)
    Ik ben door Breda en Roosendaal gereden. (“I traveled through Breda and Roosendaal.”)

6. Adjectives

Adjectives give additional information about a noun. They can describe objects, people, emotions, and even the weather. Once you learn the most common adjectives, you’ll be able to express yourself (feelings, opinions, states of mind) as well as the world around you. Their flexibility and utility make them a key set of basic Dutch words for beginners, so we’ve included the most useful ones below.

A Little Girl Making Faces and Gestures to Express Different Emotions

Do you already know how to express your emotions in Dutch?

GoedGood / Right / Correct
SlechtBad / Wrong / Incorrect
MoeilijkDifficult / Hard
GrootLarge / Big / Tall / Great / Major
DikBig / Fat
KleinSmall / Little
LangLong / Tall
SnelFast / Quick
LaatsteLast / Final / Latest
AlleenOnly / Alone / Lonely
MooiHandsome / Beautiful / Nice / Good
AardigNice / Kind
BlijGlad / Happy
ZiekSick / Ill
LekkerDelicious / Tasty

Would you like to learn more about adjectives in Dutch? Then have a look at this video lesson that will show you how to use Dutch adjectives in just three minutes.

7. Adverbs

Adverbs give more information about the words they’re connected to (a verb, an adjective, or another adverb). They can change the meaning of the word or make the meaning more precise. Adverbs can also change the tone of the sentence completely or set another mood. 

Start incorporating these useful Dutch beginner words into your conversations, and you’ll be able to express yourself much better. 

    → If you need a reminder on what adverbs are, how they’re formed, and where to place them in a sentence, have a look at our extensive article on Dutch adverbs.


Volgende weekNext week

How Often

Te veelToo much
OokAs well / Too / Also



Four Friends Chatting with Coffee Drinks

So what will you say when someone asks “How are you?” in Dutch?

SlechtBadly / Poorly

How Much

EchtTruly / Really
Heel / Erg / ZeerVery
VeelMany / Much / A lot
BeetjeLittle / Few
WatSome / Somewhat

8. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve seen over 200 of the most useful Dutch words for beginners, from pronouns to adverbs. You might have already known several of them, but now you have them all conveniently gathered in one place.

Can you think of any more Dutch beginner words you might need to know as you start learning the language? Drop us a comment and we’ll be glad to get back to you! 

And we have plenty more free vocabulary lists with audio recordings where those came from! 

Boost your studies and start practicing these 200+ basic Dutch words for beginners with all of the free resources from DutchPod101. With us, you can keep your Dutch learning fun and diverse. 

    → If you’re still getting your foot in the door, make sure to check out our series of Dutch beginner lessons as well. 

Would you like some special attention? Remember that we also offer the Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, which gives you access to personal 1-on-1 coaching. Let your private teacher help you with Dutch adjectives and adverbs, nouns and verbs, pronunciation, and much more. You’ll receive personalized exercises, constructive feedback, and interactive assignments.

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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

The 10 Most Common Dutch Filler Words


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 DutchPod101.com. 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 DutchPod101.com 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.  

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Dutch Negation Rules: How to Say No in Dutch


The word nee (“no”) is crucial in any language. It allows you to express your desires, clarify things, and even talk about your experiences. Saying no may sometimes be viewed as rude, insensitive, or socially disruptive, but it’s simply a necessary part of life and of society. 

Luckily, the Dutch are quite direct and are not afraid of using some true Dutch negations. While we may sometimes sugarcoat things, honesty and the Dutch directness triumph over being vague or fake.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about negation in the Dutch language: 

  • The basic Dutch negation rules
  • Common negative words with lots of examples 
  • Negative questions and their matching negative answers

Ready? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. The Basics of Dutch Negation – Using Niet (“Not”)
  2. Some Important Negation Rules
  3. More Negative Words
  4. Negative Questions
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. The Basics of Dutch Negation – Using Niet (“Not”)

A Woman Holding Out Both Hands in Front of Her to Indicate No or Stop

How to say no in Dutch…

A. When to use niet

The most basic way to make a Dutch sentence negative is to simply add the word niet (“not”). For example:

  • Ik ben niet moe. (“I am not tired.”)
  • Hij woont niet hier. (“He doesn’t live here.”)
  • Wij werken niet. (“We don’t work.”)
  • Ik werk in Amsterdam, niet in Rotterdam. (“I work in Amsterdam, not in Rotterdam.”)

Because this word is so crucial to negation in Dutch grammar, it’s important that you know exactly when to use it. The Dutch use the word niet in the following cases:

  • To negate any element that is not a noun, such as verbs, adjectives, or thoughts.  
    • Verbs: Ik fiets niet. (“I don’t cycle.”)
    • Adjectives: Zij is niet oud. (“She is not old.”)
    • Thoughts: Ik denk niet dat ik mooi ben. (“I don’t think I am beautiful.”)
  • To negate nouns that are preceded by a definite article or a possessive pronoun.
    • Definite article: Zij is niet de burgemeester van Amsterdam. (“She is not the mayor of Amsterdam.”)
    • Possessive pronoun: Dat is niet mijn auto. (“That’s not my car.”) 

So you now know when to use niet, but where does it go in a sentence? 

B. How to use niet 

A Woman in a Yellow Long-sleeved Shirt Thinking

Do you know where to place the word niet?

The position of niet in a sentence depends on what you’re negating. 

In case of an adverb or adjective, niet is put right in front of it:

  • Adverb: Zijn auto is niet snel. (“His car isn’t fast.”) 
  • Adjective: Mijn kat is niet dik. (“My cat isn’t fat.”) 

In most other cases, the word niet comes after the middle part of the sentence, where you usually find the time, manner, and place:

  • Time: Zij was vorige week niet op werk. (“She was not at work last week.”)
  • Manner: Ik kon door het drukke verkeer niet op tijd op het werk komen. (“I could not get to work on time because of the busy traffic.”)

However, regarding the “place” of the sentence, the situation is a bit different. The word niet usually comes before it when the place indicates a direction:

  • Place [direction]: Wij gaan niet naar Breda. (“We are not going to Breda.”)

However, if you want to stress that something isn’t (or will not be done) a certain way, but rather another way, then you have to put niet in front of the time, manner, and place:

  • Ik rijd niet met jou naar huis vandaag, maar met hem. (“I’m not driving home with you today, but with him.”)

These cases also relate to the fact that the word niet always goes before a preposition:

  • Ik kom niet uit Frankrijk. (“I am not from France.”)
  • Zij woont niet in Rotterdam. (“She doesn’t live in Rotterdam.”)

2. Some Important Negation Rules

A Woman Holding Out a Palm to Say No or Stop

Learn how to say no in Dutch with these important Dutch negation rules.

A. Negation with the word geen (“none”)

Another common way to make a negative sentence in Dutch is to use the word geen (“none”). Here are a couple of situations where you would use this Dutch negation word:

  • When negating a noun that would have needed the word een (“a” / “an”) in a positive sentence. 
    • Zij heeft geen baan. (“She doesn’t have a job.”)
  • When negating plural and uncountable nouns that do not have an article in front of them.
    • Ik heb geen boeken bij me. (“I don’t have any books with me.”)

Geen is always connected to a noun. And as you can see, it always comes before the noun.

B. How to use the verbs “to be” and “to have” in negative forms

Two of the most essential verbs in Dutch are zijn (“to be”) and hebben (“to have”). Unfortunately, both of these verbs are irregular. This makes it imperative to learn not only their conjugations, but also how they work in the context of a negative sentence. 

Let’s have a look at them in the present simple tense:

SubjectHebben conjugation Dutch (“to have”)Zijn conjugation Dutch (“to be”)
Ik (“I”)heb (“have”)ben (“am”)
Jij, u (“You” casual, “you” formal)hebt (“have”)bent (“are”)
Hij, zij, het (“He,” “she,” “it”)heeft (“has”)is (“is”)
Wij (“We”)hebben (“have”)zijn (“are”)
Jullie (“You” plural)hebben (“have”)zijn (“are”)
Zij (“They”)hebben (“have”)zijn (“are”)

Let’s start with some examples of sentences using the verb hebben in negative form: 

  • Ik heb geen auto. (“I don’t have a car.”)
  • Wij hebben geen haast. (“We are not in a hurry.”) 
  • Zij heeft geen kwade bedoelingen. (“She has no bad intentions.”)

As you may have noticed, when using the verb hebben, we use the negation word geen. This is logical, as hebben is mostly used when talking about possessions (and therefore nouns).

Now have a look at some Dutch negations with the verb zijn

  • Ik ben niet moe. (“I am not tired.”)
  • Zij is niet jarig. (“It’s not her birthday.”)
  • Wij zijn niet naar Frankrijk op vakantie gegaan. (“We did not go on holiday to France.”)

As you can see, we use niet when negating this verb. This is because zijn is mostly used to describe something about one’s identity, feelings, or situation. Therefore, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs are often used in these sentences.

C. Negative Dutch expressions

You now know the basic Dutch negation rules. Let’s now go over some essential negative statements that will come in handy when traveling in the Netherlands.

Nederlands (“Dutch”)Engels (“English”)
Ik heb geen tijd.“I don’t have time.”
Ik weet het niet.“I don’t know.”
Ik begrijp het/je niet.“I don’t understand it/you.”
Ik heb geen pen.“I don’t have a pen.”
Ik vind het niet leuk.“I don’t like it.”
Ik heb geen idee.“I have no idea.”
Ik heb geen zin.“I do not feel like it.”
Ik weet niet waar ik ben.“I don’t know where I am.”
Ik ben het niet met je eens.“I don’t agree with you.”
Geen probleem.“No problem.”
Het maakt niet uit.“It doesn’t matter.”

3. More Negative Words

Below is a table of the most useful words and phrases for performing negation in the Dutch language. For your convenience, we’ve provided a couple of examples for each word.

A Guy Flexing with One Strong Arm and One Weak Arm

Feel strong using these Dutch negation words.

Nooit (“Never”)
  • Jij bent nooit op tijd. (“You are never on time.”)
  • Ik heb jou nooit leuk gevonden. (“I have never liked you”)
Niemand (“Nobody”)
  • Niemand weet mijn geheim. (“Nobody knows my secret.”)
  • Hij heeft vandaag niemand gezien. (“He hasn’t seen anyone today.”)
Niets (“Nothing”)
  • Zij heeft niets gepland voor deze zomer. (“She has nothing planned for this summer.”)
  • Ik heb zondag helemaal niets gedaan. (“I have done nothing this Sunday.”)
Nog niet (“Not yet”)
  • Ik ben nog niet klaar. (“I am not ready yet.”)
  • Hij is nog niet afgestudeerd. (“He hasn’t graduated yet.”)

Nog niet is used to make a negative sentence nicer and not so abrupt.

For example, if someone asks: 

Is de bakkerij open?(“Is the bakery open?”)

You could say:

Nee, de bakkerij is niet open. (“No, the bakery isn’t open.”)

But that would be quite abrupt. It’s nicer to say: 

Nee, de bakkerij is nog niet open. (“No, the bakery isn’t open yet.”)
Nergens (“Nowhere”)
  • Ik kan nergens zo lekker eten als in dit restaurant. (“Nowhere can I eat better than in this restaurant.”)
  • Hij gaat nergens naartoe. (“He is going nowhere.”)
Niet meer (“Not anymore”)
  • Hij werkt niet meer bij mij op kantoor. (“He no longer works at my office.”)
  • Ik ben niet meer verliefd op jou. (“I am no longer in love with you.”)
Niet eens (“Not even”)
  • Hij komt niet eens naar mijn feestje! (“He doesn’t even come to my party!”)
  • Ik ben niet eens uit geweest zaterdagavond. (“I didn’t even go out on Saturday night.”)
Niet altijd (“Not always”)
  • Ik ben niet altijd aan het werken. (“I am not always working.”)
  • Onze kat is niet altijd even aardig. (“Our cat is not always that nice.”)
Noch … noch … (“Neither … nor …”)
  • Noch ik noch mijn vader houden van bier drinken. (“Neither I nor my dad like to drink beer.”)
  • Ik eet noch vlees noch vis. (“I don’t eat meat nor fish.”)

4. Negative Questions

Do you know how to make a question negative in Dutch? Below, you’ll find information on how to do this for both open-ended and closed-ended questions! 

A. Negative Open Questions

An open question starts with an interrogative word (who, what, where, how, etc.). These questions require at least a simple sentence as a reply; you can’t just answer with “yes” or “no.”

There’s a special structure used for questions like this. The question word comes first, the conjugated verb second, and the subject third: 

Question word + Verb + Subject + Niet

Let’s have a look at two simple examples:

  • Waarom lach je niet? (“Why don’t you laugh?”)
  • Wie gaat er niet? (“Who’s not going?”)

Got it? Then let’s move on to some more complex negative questions and their possible negative replies. 

Wat ga jij morgen niet doen? (“What aren’t you going to do tomorrow?”)Ik ga morgen niet bij mijn ouders op bezoek. (“I’m not going to visit my parents tomorrow.”)
Waarom is je vriendin niet bij jou? (“Why is your girlfriend not here?”)Mijn vriendin is niet hier want ze is op vakantie. (“My girlfriend is not here because she is on holiday.”)
Waar ben jij nog nooit geweest? (“Where have you never been to?”)Ik ben nog nooit in Marokko geweest. (“I have never been to Morocco.”)
Wie wil jij niet meer zien? (“Who don’t you want to see anymore?”)Ik wil mijn ex vriendje Pieter echt nooit meer zien. (“I never want to see my ex boyfriend Pieter again.”)

B. Negative Closed Questions

Another common type of question Dutch people use is the closed question; these are the questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Questions like these have a different word order, with the verb coming first:

Verb + Subject + Niet

For example:

  • Kom je niet? (“Aren’t you coming?”)
  • Werkt hij niet? (“Doesn’t he work?”)

As you can see here, the subject and verb are inverted to create yes-or-no questions. 

Remember that when jij or je (“you”) follows the verb, the -t at the end of the verb is dropped:

  • Ga je morgen niet naar school? (“Are you not going to school tomorrow?”)
    • Instead of: Je gaat morgen niet naar school. (“You are not going to school tomorrow.”)
  • Heb je vandaag niet met je oma gepraat? (“Didn’t you talk to your grandmother today?”)
    • Instead of: Je hebt vandaag niet met je oma gepraat. (“You didn’t talk with your grandmother today.”)

The answer for these questions is simple: Nee. (“No.”)

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

A Woman Holding Out Her Palm, Which Has NO Written on It

You now know How to say no in Dutch.

In this guide, you’ve learned all about Dutch negations, from the basics of negation in Dutch to more advanced rules. You’ve also picked up a few useful words for negation and have a better idea of how to use them. 

Do you already have a favorite Dutch negation word or negative sentence? Or do you still feel like you need some help with the Dutch negation rules?

If you’re feeling stuck, remember that DutchPod101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources to help you master this and many other parts of the Dutch language.

Would you like to practice with your own private teacher? Then make use of Premium PLUS MyTeacher service and get personal one-on-one coaching. Through interactive exercises, pronunciation advice, and personalized feedback, you’ll really master those Dutch negative sentences and questions! 

Start saying no in Dutch like a native with DutchPod101!

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Can You Learn Dutch Fast? Here’s How Long it Will Take.


How long does it take to learn Dutch? 

This is one of the most frequently asked questions from aspiring Dutch learners, but it has no definite answer. It depends on many things, such as your native language, educational background, experience with languages, exposure, and motivation. It also depends on what “learning Dutch” means to you: Are you hoping to achieve a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level? These are all different goals with different timeframes. But whatever level you wish to achieve, there are some great tools you can use to learn Dutch faster.

In this article, you’ll learn how to realistically estimate how long it will take to learn Dutch, depending on your background and the proficiency level you have in mind. Then, we’ll give you some useful strategies you can employ to really master this language.

A Man in a Plaid Shirt Checking His Watch

How long does it take to learn Dutch?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. The Many Factors Involved
  2. From Beginner to Advanced
  3. Dutch Learning Strategies to Help You Learn Faster
  4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Dutch Faster

1. The Many Factors Involved

There are a few factors involved in determining how long it takes to learn the Dutch language. Because these things will impact your learning progress, you should take them into consideration as you plan your course of study. 

Your Native Language vs. Dutch

Knowing a language with similar roots as Dutch will make it easier and quicker for you to learn this language. If you’re reading this article, it means your English level is already really strong, and this is great news for your Dutch learning! 

Dutch is very similar to English and German, as these three languages are all part of the Indo-European family of languages and belong to the Germanic branch. This makes it much easier for English- and German-speakers to pick up the language, compared to speakers of other languages. (And lucky for you, Dutch won’t make you put up with difficult grammar like that found in German!)

So if you speak one of these languages, even if it’s not your native language, it will give you a headstart in your Dutch learning process. 

Your Language Learning Experience 

Have you ever learned another language before? If you already speak a foreign language, this knowledge and experience will help you a lot when learning a third language. 

Your brain is accustomed to the challenges of language learning and you already know how to study a language. You’re familiar with the best ways to memorize vocabulary, practice your conversation skills, and understand those tricky tenses. Languages have a certain logic to them, and the more languages you learn, the more you start to understand how their grammar and structure work in general. 

For these reasons, bilinguals often find it easier to learn a third language. If this is the case for you, you’ll probably save yourself quite a lot of time when learning Dutch.

Your Motivation

Why do you want to learn Dutch? 

Do you just want to learn another language? Are you going to work in the Netherlands? Are you planning to study in this country? Or are you dating a nice Dutchie?

Whatever your reason may be, this motivation will impact your level of commitment and the amount of time you’re willing to invest in learning Dutch. Your motivation will also help you continue your studies and convince you not to stop, even when things get difficult. If you have a strong motivation, you’ll have a strong will to work hard and learn fast.

A Female Fitness Instructor with a Megaphone

Have you already found your motivation to learn Dutch?

Your Approach

Your learning method plays a key role in how fast you’ll make progress. For a good learning method, it’s often advisable to combine different learning techniques, such as taking online Dutch lessons, finding a language exchange partner to help you practice your conversation skills, and listening to Dutch music or movies to train your listening skills. And of course, how successful your learning method is also depends on how much time you’re willing to invest in your studies.

Don’t worry about this yet, though. We’ll discuss some useful Dutch learning strategies in a few moments!

2. From Beginner to Advanced

Now, for the main topic at hand: How long does it take to learn Dutch as an English speaker?

According to FSI (Foreign Service Institute), an American government institution in charge of foreign language teaching to American diplomats and officials, it takes English speakers around 24 weeks of intensive classroom study to reach a general professional proficiency in Dutch. 

However, be aware that this is based on the FSI approach. This is a very intensive study routine where students are taught in small classes of around 6 students, spend 6 hours daily with a teacher, and do 2 hours of self-study each day. In other words, it takes around 600 classroom hours for a student to be able to work professionally with the language.

Let’s see what this means for the different Dutch proficiency levels. 

We’ll use the CEFR system (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). This classification shows one’s proficiency level in a foreign language on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners to C2 for those who have mastered a language. In this article, we’ll focus only on the A1 / B1 / C1 levels (not the second level for each), as these are a good reflection of what it takes to achieve the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. 

    → Speaking of which, if you’re interested in doing a Dutch language exam, we have a complete guide to help you successfully pass these tests.

1 – Beginner Level

A Woman with Thought Bubbles Above Her Head, Two with an Exclamation Mark and One with a Question Mark

Do you want to reach the Dutch beginner level?

Let’s start with the beginner level, A1.

    ★ How long does it take to reach A1? Around 80-100 hours.

At this level, you can:
  • Understand and use everyday expressions as well as simple statements about practical needs.
  • Introduce yourself and others.
  • Ask and answer questions about personal matters.
  • Use the present tense and the right word order in simple affirmative sentences and questions.
  • Have basic conversations if the other person is talking slowly and articulates clearly.

To be able to do this, you need to build a foundation to start understanding how the language works. This means studying things like:

  • Word order
  • Present tense
  • Basic conjugation

Vocabulary is also important, but in this beginning phase, your focus will be on building lots of different sentences using few words. Don’t clutter your brain yet with too much vocabulary. With some basic nouns, verbs, and adjectives, you’ll be able to have basic conversations. 

Try to practice your pronunciation from the beginning, as this will prevent you from making the same mistakes when you’re improving your Dutch in the next stages. Listen to a lot of Dutch music to become familiar with the pronunciation, practice your speaking skills with others, and record yourself so you can listen to your own pronunciation and find things to improve.

At the beginner level, flashcards will come in handy. You can use them to remember words, simple phrases, useful questions, or conjugated verbs—basically anything you want or need. 

    → Also have a look at the DutchPod101 Absolute Beginner lesson pathway. This is the perfect pathway for learning the Dutch basics, containing 25 lessons (about 5.5 hours of material) that cover topics ranging from self-introductions to writing a postcard.

2 – Intermediate Level

B1 is the intermediate level.

    ★ How long does it take to reach B1? Around 350 to 400 hours.

At this level, you can:
  • Understand and communicate in common everyday situations, such as at work or school.
  • Handle most daily interactions when traveling in the Netherlands or through Flanders.
  • Write simple Dutch texts about familiar topics or subjects you’re interested in.
  • Talk about events, experiences, dreams, expectations, and desires. You’re also able to express your opinions, reasons, and plans.

To reach B1, you have to pass through the beginner level (A1) and the lower-intermediate level (A2). So there’s quite some ground to cover! 

As you progress toward this stage, you’ll be learning more about Dutch-language patterns, structures, and vocabulary. This is also the level where you’ll start learning new tenses and new types of words, such as adverbs. You’ll start to understand the pronouns better, which will allow you to make smoother sentences. Using all of this new knowledge, you’ll be able to get into more details when speaking or writing Dutch. 

If you’re not studying Dutch at school or university, this would be a good time to start some lessons with a teacher at a language school. Alternatively, you could try to find some affordable online coaching to make sure you’re on the right track.

    → Have a look at the DutchPod101 Lower Intermediate lessons to break out of the beginner level and pass through to the intermediate level. In only 25 lessons (around 4.5 hours), you’ll notice some improvement.

3 – Advanced Level

So, how long does it take to learn Dutch fluently? C1 is the advanced level.

A Little Kid with Glasses and a Graduation Cap

Ready to achieve the advanced level?

    ★ How long does it take to reach C1? Around 850 to 900 hours.

At this level, you can:
  • Understand long texts and their implicit meaning, humor, and wit.
  • Speak spontaneously and fluently without searching for your words too much.
  • Use the language flexibly and efficiently at home, work, or school.
  • Express your opinion on complex topics in a clear and structured manner.
  • Write clear, well-structured, and detailed texts about complex subjects.

Now you know how long it takes to learn Dutch fluently. You have to pass through the A1, A2, B1, and B2 levels. It’s double the time and effort of the intermediate level, but it’s worth it!

When you reach this stage, you’ll have expanded your vocabulary greatly, you understand the tenses, and you’re able to write and speak Dutch at a high level. You feel confident as you (almost) fully understand the language and you can discuss the most complex topics in Dutch.

To reach such a level of proficiency, you can, of course, use language classes or online teachers. However, try to really immerse yourself in the language as well. Read Dutch books, watch Dutch TV or movies, listen to music in Dutch, and try to find a native speaker you can talk with on a regular basis. 

This all helps, but at the end of the day, the best way to improve your Dutch to an advanced level is to live in the country or to spend a few months there.

    → Have a look at our official curated pathway for Level 5, the best tool to help you become an advanced Dutch learner. These 50 lessons (around 2 hours) will help you go from fully intermediate to an advanced learner.

3. Dutch Learning Strategies to Help You Learn Faster

As we mentioned before, how long it takes to learn Dutch fluently depends on your exposure to the language, how much time and effort you put into it, and the strategies you use.

With the right strategies, you’ll be able to learn Dutch faster and more effectively! 

1 – Make Use of Online Classes

Wondering how to learn Dutch online? We hear you! 

With online classes, you can learn Dutch anywhere and anytime you want. There are online classes for every level and they’re more affordable than private lessons or language schools. They’re also the most flexible option, as you can adapt them to your schedule. 

There are many websites you can choose from. Some are entirely free, while others have a mixture of free resources and paid resources with advanced services. Try to choose a website where you can track your progress and work over time; this way, you can really be aware of your improvement.

A Woman Reading a Book on a Bus

Be efficient and learn where and when you can.

    → Check out DutchPod101 to see what online lessons we offer. Even without a paid subscription, you can access a lot of free content, including vocabulary lists, a YouTube channel, and countless lessons for students at every level.

2 – Make Learning Dutch Fun

Try to make learning Dutch as enjoyable as possible—learning a new language shouldn’t be boring.

Of course there are some boring parts, such as grammar rules or those endless lists of verb conjugations, but try to mix it up with some entertaining learning tools. For example, you might enjoy watching a Dutch TV show with subtitles, or listening to Dutch music and trying to translate or understand the lyrics. Studying this way will make you more inclined to continue your Dutch studies! 

3 – Practice is Key

To really learn a language, you have to practice it a lot. So try speaking, reading, writing, and listening in Dutch as much as you can. It’s okay to make mistakes, and you don’t even need that many words or an extensive knowledge of complicated grammar rules to express yourself.

Try to put everything you learn into practice, as this is truly the only way to improve your Dutch. Really immerse yourself in the language through TV series, books, music, or even podcasts. Start writing Dutch stories and talk to every Dutch person you meet. You can do it!

4 – Use Word Lists to Build Up a Solid Vocabulary

Are you struggling to practice the language because you feel like you don’t have a solid vocabulary yet? Then use vocabulary word lists to expand your personal word bank. You can choose a topic you find interesting and learn words related to that topic. DutchPod101 has vocabulary lists on many topics, such as love, family, animals, work, and more.

You may even want to set yourself some vocabulary learning goals. For example, to memorize one or two vocabulary lists a week, or one new word a day. 

5 – Create a Study Schedule and Set Some Goals

When learning a new language, structure is key. Language learning is a big task, and there’s so much to learn. Therefore, it’s very important that you create a clear study schedule and set some goals. This will give you the motivation to continue and not give up. With every goal you achieve, you know you’re improving and you’ll be motivated to continue with your other goals. A study schedule gives you the consistency needed to achieve them.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Dutch Faster

In this guide, you learned that the time it takes to learn Dutch depends on certain factors, such as the level of proficiency you want to reach and the Dutch learning strategies you employ. We also gave you pointers on how to learn Dutch effectively at each stage. 

Did we forget any important language learning tips? Do you already feel motivated to start learning Dutch? 

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com, as we have plenty of free resources to help you learn Dutch quickly and efficiently. Our vocabulary lists are another great way to improve your knowledge of Dutch words and their pronunciation. 

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching with a private teacher who will help you master the Dutch language even faster. He or she will give you interesting exercises, useful recorded audio samples, and personalized feedback so that you can become fluent in Dutch before you know it.

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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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!

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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 DutchPod101.com, 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 DutchPod101.com:

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?”

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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 DutchPod101.com 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!

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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 DutchPod101.com? 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.

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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 DutchPod101.com!

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30 Inspirational Dutch Quotes With English Translations


Why do people love inspirational quotes so much? Life is full of them. You see them on social media, in commercials, printed on T-shirts, painted on walls, and even tattooed on people’s skin. There’s something very appealing about these quotes: they represent people’s attitudes, stories, mindsets, histories, and more. Deeper still, they represent cultures. So when you learn quotes from another language, it’s like you’re looking through a window into another culture. 

What kind of Dutch quotes would you like to learn? Whatever you want, we have it. In this article, we’ve listed thirty Dutch quotes with English translations that will teach you more about Dutch culture and traditions, as well as the typical (often down-to-earth) Dutch attitude. You’ll also find a few quotes that are popular in English and have been translated into Dutch so you can get the best of both worlds.

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

1. Quotes About Wisdom

We can all reach a point where we feel stuck or unsatisfied with our lives. So let’s start with a handful of simple Dutch quotes that offer valuable words of wisdom to get you back on the right path. 


DutchMeten is weten.
Literally“Measuring is knowing.”
EquivalentMeasuring things brings knowledge.
This is one of the most common Dutch wisdom quotes, and it represents how the Dutch like to do things: with precision and preparation, and never too hurriedly. 


DutchHaastige spoed is zelden goed.
Literally“Hasty speed is never good.”
EquivalentHaste makes waste.
Another popular quote in the Netherlands, this is used in a wide variety of situations: from parents to children, from teachers to students, and among friends.

It’s often used as a light reprimand, often delivered with a wink (real or imaginary).


DutchWees de verandering die je in de wereld wil zien gebeuren.
Literally“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Nearly identical to its English counterpart, this is a true inspirational quote. It’s not used quite as often in Dutch as it is in English, though a true Dutch idealist would definitely love this quote. 

In the Netherlands, this quote is used to inspire others to live responsibly.


DutchJe kunt nooit een oceaan oversteken, als je niet het lef hebt om de kust uit het zicht te verliezen.
Literally“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
While this isn’t a very common quote in Dutch, it’s such a beauty. It’s deep, it’s true, and it tells you all about the need to sometimes take a risk and let go of your safety blanket. 

As you may notice, many Dutch quotes are related to the sea and water. This is because of the Dutch’s naval history, their close relationship with water, and their expertise in water management.

2. Quotes About Success

Do you have big plans for the future or an upcoming project you’re concerned about? These motivational quotes in Dutch will inspire you and clue you in on how to achieve success.


DutchOm te slagen in het leven heb je twee dingen nodig: onwetendheid en vertrouwen. 
Literally“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
While this quote is originally from Mark Twain, you may also hear the Dutch version in the Netherlands. It suits the Dutch attitude: confident, direct, and maybe a little bit clumsy.


DutchStreef niet naar succes als dat is wat je wilt; gewoon doen waar je van houdt en in gelooft en de rest komt vanzelf.
Literally“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
This quote also falls in line with the Dutch attitude: understanding that success is not everything. Do something the best you can and enjoy it as much as possible. Only then will you succeed.


DutchVoor de wind is het goed zeilen.
Literally“Sailing is good before the wind.”
EquivalentIt is easier to be successful under favorable conditions.
Another quote that has to do with the sea, boats, and water. 

It perfectly depicts the level-headedness of the Dutch, who realize that a person’s efforts alone do not result in success. Better conditions make it easier to succeed by giving you a head start. 


DutchElk nadeel heeft zijn voordeel. 
Literally“Every disadvantage has its advantage.”
The Dutch love this inspirational quote. Every bad thing has something positive. The trick is to find the good in the bad. 

The world-famous Dutch soccer player Johan Cruyff loved to use this quote with his Amsterdam dialect: Elk nadeel heb se voordeel.


DutchOpgeven kan morgen ook nog.
Literally“You can always give up tomorrow.”
There is some power in this Dutch quote. You can always give up another day, so why give up today?

It tells you a bit about the Dutch go-getter mentality (doorzetter mentaliteit): keep on trying without giving up or making a fuss.   
Inspire Yourself with These Dutch Quotes about Success

3. Quotes About Love

The Dutch are not the most romantic people in the world, so there’s no overload of romantic love quotes in Dutch. The few love quotes they do have tend to possess a down-to-earth undertone. Let’s have a look at these Dutch love quotes with English translations.


DutchDe liefde is als de wind, je kunt het niet zien maar wel voelen.
Literally“Love is like the wind; you can’t see it, but you can feel it.”
This is a beautiful love quote that, unfortunately, is not so widely used in the Netherlands. Will you be the one to change this?


DutchDank je dat je altijd mijn regenboog na de storm wilt zijn.
Literally“Thank you for always being my rainbow after the storm.”
EquivalentThanks for always being my sunshine after the rain.


DutchDe liefde kan niet van één kant komen.
Literally“Love cannot come from one side.”
EquivalentIt takes two to tango.
This down-to-earth love quote is quite popular in the Netherlands.

It has a nice ring and some truth to it: if you want to do something together, each party will have to contribute.


DutchDe liefde van een man gaat door de maag.
Literally“A man’s love goes through the stomach.” 
EquivalentThe way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
This humorous quote, quite popular in the Netherlands, may say something about the not-so-romantic nature of the Dutch. It even has its own old Dutch song.

Of course, you can replace “man” for women, children, or even animals: 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 is one of those love quotes in Dutch with a nearly identical English equivalent. Those who always lose when gambling often have a happy love life. 

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 has an identical English counterpart, as well as its own song from the famous Dutch eighties 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.”) 
Did You Feel the Love with These Dutch Love Quotes?

4. Quotes About Life

Life is a great mystery, and yet there are some universal truths to be found. Read through these Dutch quotes about life to gain insight into the Dutch view of this phenomenon.


DutchHet leven gaat niet altijd over rozen. 
Literally“Life doesn’t always go over roses.”
EquivalentLife is not always beautiful.
This Dutch life quote is a great reflection of the Dutch culture and mindset: direct, honest, and realistic. 


DutchHoop doet leven. 
Literally“Hope makes you live.”
EquivalentAs long as you’ve got hope, there are possibilities.
This quote has a nice ring to it. It’s short but also quite powerful.

The Dutch often use this quote when speaking about love, life, or dreams.


DutchGeld maakt niet gelukkig. 
Literally“Money does not make you happy.”
EquivalentMoney can’t buy happiness.
This Dutch quote has a very similar English counterpart and is very popular in the Netherlands. 

It also reflects the aspect of Dutch culture that realizes money isn’t everything, and that there’s more to life than material wealth. 


DutchHet is zoals het is. 
Literally“Things are the way they are.”
EquivalentIt is what it is.
This may be the most Dutch quote out there. It’s down-to-earth, without drama, and very realistic. Things are just the way they are and you have to accept it. 


DutchWat er ook gebeurt, altijd blijven lachen. 
Literally“Whatever happens, always keep smiling.”
This Dutch quote became famous through a popular Dutch clown duo: Bassie & Adriaan.

They had a very popular children’s TV show from the late seventies to the end of the nineties. They even have a song about this positive quote.

5. Quotes About Family & Friends

Express Your Love of Your Family with These Dutch Quotes

Family and friends are life’s greatest joys and necessities. These Dutch quotes about family and friendship offer some cultural perspective on how the Dutch perceive these crucial relationships.


DutchOost west, thuis best. 
Literally“East, West, home is best.”
This Dutch quote is very popular in the Netherlands. It emphasizes that you have to appreciate where you’re from. You can travel all you want, but there is just no place like home.


DutchGezelligheid kent geen tijd.
Literally“Coziness knows no time.”
This is one of the classic Dutch quotes about friendship. It just means that when you’re having fun, you shouldn’t worry about the time. So if you’re having fun drinking with friends, don’t worry about going to sleep a bit later.

Yes, the Dutch know how to have fun and be cozy together. They even have a special word for it: gezelligheid


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


DutchIn nood leert men zijn vrienden kennen.
Literally“In distress, people get to know their friends.”
When you’re in trouble or in a difficult situation, you’ll know who your true friends are. They’re the people that will be there for you no matter what. 


DutchElk huisje heeft z’n kruisje. 
Literally“Every house has its cross.”
EquivalentEvery home has its own worries and problems.
This quote means that there is trouble in every house or family. This Dutch expression has been used since the seventeenth century. 

The house in this quote represents a family. The cross represents the difficulties and griefs that everyone inevitably faces in their life, such as illness, loss of loved ones, and setbacks. This is represented as a cross because of the horrible punishment of crucifixion from the past.

    → Would you like to learn more? Have a look at our vocabulary lists of quotes on Family and Friendship.

6. Quotes About Learning

Let’s close this article with the best quotes in Dutch for language learners: those about learning! 


DutchTalenkennis is de deur naar wijsheid.
Literally“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”


DutchIn het leven en ook in de taal zijn nuances alles.
Literally“In life and also in language, nuances are everything.”
This Dutch quote is from Louis Couperus, a Dutch novelist and poet who lived from 1863 to 1923. His famous works span a wide variety of genres: lyric poetry, psychological and historical novels, novellas, short stories, fairy tales, feuilletons, and sketches.


DutchMen is nooit te oud om te leren. 
Literally“People are never too old to learn.” 
This is a popular Dutch learning quote, telling people to never get discouraged about learning something.  You’re never too old to learn something new.

Let’s live up to this inspirational quote. You’re never too old to start learning Dutch. You can do it!


DutchOp een oude fiets moet je het leren. 
Literally“You have to learn it on an old bicycle.”
EquivalentTeaching materials are rarely new.
Although things may be renewed or modernized, the base often stays the same. A bike is a bike. Learning a language is learning a language. It has been done for ages and modern tools may make it a bit easier, but in the end we use the same kind of teaching materials.


DutchLeren doe je met vallen en opstaan. 
Literally“You learn by falling and getting up.”
EquivalentYou learn by trial and error.
This Dutch learning quote reveals a lot about the Dutch mentality: you learn by doing and trying. Don’t expect to succeed at once. You’ll learn with time. 
Did These Dutch Learning Quotes Inspire You to Learn More Dutch?

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned the most important and inspirational Dutch quotes with English translations on a variety of topics: from wisdom to success, from love to life, from family to friends, and beyond. 

Did we inspire you? Are you motivated to learn more about the Dutch culture, history, and language?

Then DutchPod101.com is the place to be. With our multiple vocabulary lists featuring audio recordings and other useful free resources, you’ll definitely boost your Dutch studies from day one. Practice is key! And remember: Leren doe je met vallen en opstaan. (“You learn by trial and error.”)

Would you like some one-on-one coaching? Remember that DutchPod101 also has the Premium PLUS MyTeacher service. Here, you can discover more about Dutch culture with your own private teacher and really master the Dutch language. Through personalized feedback and pronunciation advice, you’ll definitely get the hang of it. 

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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

32 Useful Dutch Business Phrases You Should Know


Can you imagine going to a meeting in the Netherlands’ business world without having any idea about Dutch business customs? Or going into a formal situation and not knowing how to use the formal “you”? (Yes, it’s U, but do you know how to conjugate it?) 

The business world varies from country to country, and even within a single country, there’s a big difference between the formal and informal worlds. So although you can handle yourself in the Netherlands in casual settings, you might need to study business Dutch phrases and get some useful tips on Dutch business etiquette before starting work there.

Spare yourself all of the awkward situations by getting prepared with these thirty-two useful Dutch business phrases. In this guide, you’ll learn all the phrases you need for a variety of work-related situations, from nailing your job interview to going on business trips. 

Let’s get down to business in the Netherlands!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Formal Greetings, Introductions, and Goodbyes
  2. Nailing a Job Interview
  3. Interacting with Coworkers
  4. Sound Smart in a Meeting
  5. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails
  6. Going on a Business Trip
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Formal Greetings, Introductions, and Goodbyes

Before we dive into the more-specific Dutch business phrases, let’s first cover the basics: the formal greetings, introductions, and goodbyes. We’ll even let you know which form of “you” to use.

1- Greetings

When greeting someone, a handshake is the way to go in formal situations. So, when meeting someone in a business setting, give that person a handshake and combine it with one of the following greetings:

1. Dag. (“Hello.”) 

This is the perfect basic greeting, and it works in almost any situation. It’s neither too formal nor too relaxed, so you can’t go wrong with it.

2. Dag, aangenaam kennis te maken. (“Hello, nice to meet you.”) 

This is the perfect formal greeting when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

3. Goedemorgen. / Goedemiddag. / Goedenavond. (“Good morning.” / “Good afternoon.” / “Good evening.”) 

Of course, you should use these according to the time of day (until twelve p.m., until six p.m., and until twelve a.m., respectively).

2- Introductions

You’ve said your greetings, so now it’s time to let them know your name:

4. Ik ben ___. (“I am ___.”)

Simply put your name in the blank. For example: Ik ben Robert Green or Ik ben Valentina Blanco.

It’s not the most formal introduction, but it is the most common one. Using your first and last name makes it more formal (and it’s also the norm in the Netherlands’ business world to introduce yourself with your last name). 

3- Goodbyes

The Handshake Is the Way to Go

The conversation is over, so make your good impression last with a smooth goodbye. In general, it’s polite to shake hands while saying one of these goodbyes:

5. Dag. (“Goodbye.”) 

Yes, this also means goodbye. It’s a basic Dutch goodbye that can be used in almost any situation, including many business settings.

6. Tot ziens. (“See you.”)

Although it doesn’t sound very formal in English, in Dutch, this goodbye can definitely be used in more-formal situations. People use this phrase when they know that they’ll see the other person again (not hypothetically; the Dutch take these things quite literally).

7. Het was leuk u te ontmoeten. (“It was nice to meet you.”) 

This is a friendly thing to add when saying your goodbyes to someone you’ve just met for the first time. But be aware that it’s not appropriate for all situations. Dutch people are not fake, so only use it when you’re being real.

4- Jij or U?

You now know how to greet, introduce yourself, and say your goodbyes in Dutch. But before moving on to more-complicated Dutch business phrases, we want to clear up any doubts about the Dutch “you.”

In Dutch, there are two distinct pronouns for “you”: Jij (casual “you”) and U (formal “you”). Whenever in doubt, you can’t go wrong with U. This is especially the case when you’re talking to someone older than you.

In the Netherlands, there are no strict rules on when to use which pronoun; it depends on the people, the business, or the branch of work you’re in. A simple rule is to follow the lead of the other person. If they use Jij when addressing you, answer with Jij. Otherwise, just stick to the formal U

2. Nailing a Job Interview

If there’s one situation where you’ll need to up your Dutch business phrases game, it’s definitely a job interview. 

The great thing about job interviews is that you normally have a few days to prepare for it. This gives you plenty of time to look up all of the Dutch phrases for business you think you’ll need to express who you are and what you do. If you want a head-start, make sure you check out our special introduction article.

Optimize your skills even more with these useful Dutch business phrases for nailing a job interview:

8. Ik heb jarenlange ervaring met ___. (“I have years of experience with ___.”) 

9. Ik onderscheid me in mijn werk door ___. (“I distinguish myself in my work by ___.”)

10. Ik ben geïnteresseerd in deze baan omdat ___. (“I am interested in this job because ___.”)

What should you do if you don’t understand the interviewer? Ask him or her to repeat the question (but don’t ask too many times):

11. Zou u uw vraag nog een keer kunnen herhalen? (“Could you repeat your question, please?”) 

Now it’s time to end the conversation with an appropriate job interview goodbye (with a handshake, of course):

12. Bedankt voor het gesprek. (“Thank you for the conversation.”)

Let’s Nail Your Dutch Job Interview

3. Interacting with Coworkers

You aced your interview and you’re starting your new job in the Netherlands. Hurray! Now we’ll give you some common business phrases in Dutch that you can use to interact with your coworkers.

So, you’re new at work and you need some help (understanding how a system works, how to use the printer, or how to make the coffee machine work):

13. Zou je/u mij kunnen helpen? (“Could you help me?”)

Whether you use jij or u depends on your workplace, so follow your colleagues’ lead. The same applies to the next phrase, which you can use if you want to praise someone’s work:

14. Ik ben erg blij met jouw/uw werk. (“I am very happy with your work.”) 

This is a more formal compliment that you can say to some of your employees. 

15. Goed bezig! (“Doing good!”) 

This is a more casual compliment that works well with coworkers.

16. Bedankt voor de fijne samenwerking. (“Thank you for the nice collaboration.”) 

This phrase is most appropriate after you’ve finished a project with someone, and not if you’re going to keep on working with that person.

Are you feeling comfortable with a certain coworker and would like to ask them out for a drink after work sometime? Then the following phrase will come in handy:

17. Heb je zin om na werk wat te drinken? (“Would you like to have a drink after work?”)

Doing business with Dutchies isn’t all about time spent in the workplace; it’s also about forming relationships. In the Netherlands, it’s quite common to drink after work on Fridays with colleagues. There’s even a word for it: vrijdagmiddagborrel (“the Friday afternoon drinks”). Depending on where you work, though, this afternoon drinking session could take place on a different day.

Get Friendly with Your Dutch Coworkers

4. Sound Smart in a Meeting

Would you like to sound smart in a meeting? All you need are some smooth but common business phrases in Dutch.

If you’re participating in a Dutch business meeting and would like to pitch an interesting idea or solution, throw in one of the following phrases:

18. Ik geloof dat we wel tot een compromis kunnen komen. (“I believe we can find a compromise.”)

19. Ik denk dat ik wel een oplossing kan voorstellen. (“I think I can suggest a solution.”)

If you’ve just finished your pitch or presentation, then end it with the following phrase:

20. Heel erg bedankt voor jullie aandacht. (“Thank you very much for your attention.”) 

Use jullie (“you,” plural) if there are several people in the meeting; if not, use uw in its place.

Is there something you would like to discuss in the next meeting? Then you can use this phrase:

21. Kunnen we dit tijdens de volgende vergadering bespreken? (“Can we discuss this matter during the following meeting?”)

By using even just one of these bad boys, you’ll definitely make an impression with your professional Dutch and your ability to get to the point and present your ideas.

5. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

Handling communication in Dutch business settings may be challenging, and you might struggle with which words you should or shouldn’t use.

To give you a head start, here are some phrases you’ll need when writing a Dutch business email:

22. Geachte heer, mevrouw, (“Dear Sir / Madam,”) 

You can start an email this way if you don’t know the name or gender of the person you’re writing to. If you do know the person’s name, you can write, for example: Geachte meneer Janssen (“Dear Mr. Janssen”).

Now that you’ve used the perfect formal email greeting and introduced yourself, you should continue with the following phrase to explain why you’re writing this email:

23. Wij schrijven u naar aanleiding van ___. ( “We are writing to you regarding ___.”) 

And to end the email in a polite way, use the following phrase:

24. Mocht u meer informatie willen, kunt u altijd contact met mij opnemen. (“If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.”)

Manage Those Phone Calls Like a Pro

Let’s now continue with some useful Dutch for business phone calls:

25. Hallo, u spreekt met ___. (“Hello, you are talking with ___.”)

26. Spreek ik met ___? (“Am I speaking with ___?”)

27. Ik bel u vanwege ___. (“I am calling you because ___.”)

What if someone is calling you, and you’re unsure of what to do or how to connect them with someone else? Just use this phrase and put them on hold:

28. Een momentje alstublieft. (“Please wait for a moment.”)

6. Going on a Business Trip

Last but definitely not least, what phrases do you need to know for going on a business trip to the Netherlands

Let’s first have a look at some phrases that can be useful in your hotel or during other moments of your business trip:

29. Ik heb een kamer gereserveerd. (“I have a reservation [for a room].”)

30. Ik ben hier voor zaken. (“I’m here on business.”)

31. Accepteert u credit cards? (“Do you accept credit cards?”)

If your host has been especially helpful and kind to you, then definitely use the following phrase when saying your goodbyes:

32. Bedankt voor de gastvrijheid. (“Thank you for your hospitality.”)

    → Would you like to learn more business Dutch phrases? Have a look at our lesson library and learn business Dutch for beginners alongside other useful words and phrases.

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Let’s Get Down to Business in Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned all about business Dutch phrases, from the basics to useful phrases for job interviews, interactions with coworkers, meetings, emails, phone calls, and business trips. Which of these common business phrases in Dutch will you use the most?

Are you ready to get down to business in the Netherlands? Or would you like more help first?

DutchPod101 has many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings, to help you prepare for any business setting.

Or do you prefer a private teacher? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching with our Premium PLUS MyTeacher service. Boost your Dutch with your private teacher’s interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips.

Happy learning, and good luck in your business endeavors!

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