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

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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!

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

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

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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! 

#1

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.

#2

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.


#3

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.

#4

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.

#5

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! 

#6

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.”

#7

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.”

#8

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.”

#9

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. 

#10

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.

#11

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. 

#12

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.

#13

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.

#14

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. 

#15

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.

#16

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.

#17

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! 

#18

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.

#19

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.

#20

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.

#21

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. 

#22

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. 

#23

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.

#24

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!)

#25

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.

#26

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. 

#27

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…

#28

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. 

#29

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.

#30

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

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

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

Happy learning with DutchPod101!

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

A Practical Amsterdam Travel Guide with Local Tips

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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.

Language

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: 

    Waterlooplein
    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.

Hallo!“Hello!”
Dag.“Goodbye.”
Bedankt.“Thank you.”
Nee bedankt.“No, thank you.”
Alstublieft.“Please.”
Sorry.“Sorry.”
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?”
Help!“Help!”

    → 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?”


A Man in the Desert without Water

DutchPod101 helps you survive those language barriers.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

Make sure to explore 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?

Thumbnail

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:

Checken
 “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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman Studying on Her Laptop with Headphones

Doesn’t this make learning Dutch more fun?

4. Common Dutch Words in English

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Let’s boost your Dutch learning.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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30 Inspirational Dutch Quotes With English Translations

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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. 

#1

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. 

#2

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).

#3

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.

#4

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.

#5

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.

#6

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.

#7

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. 

#8

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.

#9

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.

#10

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?

#11

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.

#12

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.

#13

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.”) 

#14

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?

#15

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.

#16

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. 

#17

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.

#18

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. 

#19

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. 

#20

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.

#21

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.

#22

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

#23

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.

#24

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. 

#25

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! 

#26

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

#27

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.

#28

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!

#29

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.

#30

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!

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32 Useful Dutch Business Phrases You Should Know

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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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Dutch

Our Useful Guide on How to Say Goodbye in Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

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

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

A Dutch Woman Saying Goodbye

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

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

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

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

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

2. Specific Ways to Say Bye in Dutch

Most Common Goodbyes

A- Casual Goodbyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

B- The Formal Goodbye

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

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

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

The Formal Goodbye with a Handshake

C- Have a Good One

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

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

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

D- Tot ___. (“See you ___.”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E- When in a Hurry… 

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Dutch

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

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

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

4. Dutch Culture: Goodbye Gestures

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

1- The handshake

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

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

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

2- The kiss or the hug

Saying Goodbye in Dutch with a Kiss on the Cheek

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

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


5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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Driekoningen: The Dutch Epiphany Celebration

Nearly a quarter of the Dutch population identifies as Roman Catholic, making this the most prominent religion in the country. As such, it should come as no surprise that many Dutch people celebrate the Christian holiday Driekoningen (Epiphany), also known as Three Kings Day.

In this article, you’ll learn what Epiphany is all about and explore a variety of Dutch traditions for this holiday. Let’s get started!

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1. What is Epiphany?

Silhouette of the Three Wise Men

Epiphany is a religious feestdag (holiday) on which Christians commemorate the three wise men who followed a bright star to find Baby Jesus. This is not a public holiday in the Netherlands, though it is still an important holiday for Catholic and Protestant believers in the country. 

The story behind the Epiphany holiday is as follows:

Three wise men named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar noticed an unusual star in the sky while they traveled. Amazed by the sight, the trio decided to follow after it and were led to the birthplace of Jesus. Seeing this as the openbaring (revelation) of their Savior being born, they offered Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Many Christians consider this a key event in the story and life of Jesus. During Christmas services several days before, many kerken (churches) read the story from the Bible or host a play outlining the story. 


2. When is Epiphany Celebrated?

Each year, most countries celebrate Epiphany on January 6. Some churches, however, hold their celebrations on the Sunday following this date. 

3. How is Epiphany Celebrated?

A Baby Being Christened

Despite Epiphany not being a public holiday, there are plenty of celebrations each year. 

One of the most common Three Kings Day traditions is for primary schools to host plays or skits at their local church. These plays will involve kinderen (children) dressing up in costumes to represent the different characters and figures in the story: the three wise men, Mary, Joseph, King Herod, Baby Jesus, and even the animals! 

There is an annual parade in Maastricht during Epiphany, so make sure to check it out if you get a chance. The main feature is several men fully costumed to look like koningen (kings), riding on horses and donkeys. They are accompanied by people dressed as shepherds, as well as Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. Sometimes, children will march alongside the procession carrying lantaarns (lanterns).

In times past, Epiphany was associated with baptism and doop (christening). This tradition still carries over to some extent, with baptism water being consecrated on this day. This consecrated water is then used to bless people’s homes, after which the letters C+M+B are written with chalk on their doors. There are two schools of thought concerning what these letters mean: 

1. They could stand for the Latin phrase meaning, “Christ, bless this house.”

2. They could also represent the names of the three wise men (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar).

Epiphany in the Netherlands is a favorite holiday among children, if for no other reason than all of the sweets and geld (money) they receive! Similar to Halloween, children dress up in costumes representing the three wise men and go from door to door while carrying lanterns. They sing songs at each door and are then rewarded with a variety of sweets and candies (and sometimes even money). The act of carrying lanterns originates from the belief that the lantern light wards off evil; the giving of treats is rooted in the pagan tradition of sacrificial meals. 

4. King’s Cake

As most good holidays are, Epiphany is also a time to enjoy some delicious food! 

While traditional holiday foods are common on this day, the most popular food item is King’s bread. This sweet treat is a round-shaped loaf of bread made with ingredients such as flour, sugar, yeast, milk, and almond paste. 

Inside the bread, one bakes three uncooked beans: two white beans and one dark. The person who receives the dark bean in their slice of bread is considered ‘king’ or ‘queen’ for that day. Some believe this also predicts luck for the coming year.

    → We have an entire lesson dedicated to Sweets and Desserts in the Netherlands. If you have a sweet tooth on you, make sure to check it out!

5. Essential Vocabulary for Epiphany

A Dutch Paper Lantern

To conclude, let’s review some of the Dutch words used in this article, plus a few more! 

  • Geld (Money)
    • noun, neutral
  • Snoep (Candy)
    • noun, neutral
  • Kind (Child)
    • noun, neutral
  • Kerk (Church)
    • noun, feminine
  • Feestdag (Holiday) 
    • noun, feminine
  • Bijbel (Bible) 
    • noun, feminine
  • Zingen (Sing) 
    • verb
  • Lied (Song) 
    • noun, neutral
  • Driekoningen (Epiphany) 
    • proper noun, masculine
  • Lantaarn (Lantern) 
    • noun, masculine
  • Koning (King) 
    • noun, masculine
  • Openbaring (Revelation) 
    • noun, feminine
  • Verkleden (Disguise) 
    • verb
  • Doop (Christening) 
    • noun, masculine

You can also visit our list of Dutch Vocabulary for Epiphany to hear the pronunciation of each word and practice along with the audio. 

Final Thoughts

While Epiphany is not as big a deal in the Netherlands as it is in many other European countries, there are still plenty of holiday traditions associated with this day. Do you celebrate Epiphany in your country? If so, how do your traditions compare to those in the Netherlands? 

We hope you enjoyed learning about this little slice of Dutch culture with us and that you feel inspired to continue learning. 

DutchPod101.com is the best place to learn about Dutch culture alongside the language. Most of our lessons combine grammar points, vocabulary lists, and cultural insights so that you get the most out of your study time. We provide lessons and other learning materials for learners at every level, so you can jump right in no matter where you are on your language learning journey.

Not sure where to start? How about reading more articles on popular Dutch holidays? We recommend the following:

Happy learning!

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Is Dutch Hard to Learn?

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Are fear and uncertainty keeping you from getting started with Dutch? 

This is a common issue for many potential Dutch-learners. They tend to wonder things like: “Is Dutch hard to learn?” and “Is learning Dutch really worth it?”  

If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to answer all of your questions and clear up any doubts you may be having. 

At first, Dutch might seem like a very difficult language, but it’s surprisingly easy for English- and German-speakers. Dutch has even been described as a combination of the English and German languages! This makes it one of the easiest languages to learn for speakers of either language. That said, learning Dutch will take some time and effort, no matter what your native language is. 

So, is Dutch hard to learn? No, it isn’t. And in this article, we’ll show you why. 

DutchPod101 will give you a clear overview of what things might make Dutch hard to learn, and which parts are easy-peasy for new learners. With the right tools, you can overcome even the more challenging aspects of the language. We’ll show you that you can master the Dutch language, and we’ll even tell you how.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Is Dutch a Hard Language to Learn?
  2. Why is Dutch Easy to Learn?
  3. What are the Best Ways to Start Learning Dutch?
  4. Why is DutchPod101 Great for Learning Dutch?
  5. Summing it Up…

1. Is Dutch a Hard Language to Learn?

Is Dutch Really So Hard to Learn?

So, let’s start with the more challenging side of the Dutch language: Why is Dutch hard to learn? 

Every language has some tricky parts, and the only way to manage them is to be aware of them. In the long run, this will make learning Dutch a lot easier for you and provide you with a solid learning base. 

1. Tricky Pronunciation

Many new learners find Dutch hard to pronounce.

Even the most fluent foreign Dutch-speakers struggle with this, as the language has the weirdest combinations of letters. For example, there are consonant combinations like: nk, sch, ng, and nk. In addition, you’ll find some consonant combinations that form one sound, and others that form two sounds. 

Consonant combinations that form one sound:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample 
ngIt sounds like the [ng] in the English word “cling” or “thing.”lang (“long”)
chThe ch has three different pronunciations:
1) Like the Dutch “g,”
2) like [sh] in the English word “ship,” and
3) as [k] in the English word “Christ.”
1) licht (“light”),
2) douche (“shower”), and
3) Chris (“Chris,” the name)
sjIt’s pronounced like [sh] in the English word “ship.”sjaal (“scarf”)

Now let’s look at the combinations that form two separate sounds:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample 
schIt’s pronounced like an [s] followed by a harsh [ch], as in the Scottish word “loch.”schaap (“sheep”)
nkIt’s the same sound as in the English word “link.”pink (“little finger”)
knUnlike in English, a k before an n is pronounced. You’ll hear both sounds separately.knoop (“button”)
psUnlike in English, a p before an s is pronounced. You’ll hear both sounds separately.psycholoog (“psychologist”)

And it’s not just the consonants! There’s another tricky aspect to Dutch pronunciation: diphthongs. These are combinations of two vowels that make a fluid sound that no vowel makes on its own in Dutch:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample
aiThis Dutch diphthong is pronounced  as [I] like in “I am” in English.mais (“corn”)
auIt’s pronounced like [ow] in the English word “now.”auto (“car”)
eiIt’s pronounced 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”)
ieIt’s pronounced like [ee] in the English word “bee.”mier (“ant”)
ijIt’s pronounced exactly the same as the Dutch ei diphthong.wijn (“wine”)
oeIt’s pronounced like [oo] in the English word “pool.”moe (“tired”)
ouThis diphthong has exactly the same sound as the Dutch au diphthong. koud (“cold”)
uiThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but it’s a combination of the [a] sound in “man” followed by a long Dutch u.muis (“mouse”)



All you can do is practice, practice, and practice even more. Luckily, DutchPod101 is here to help.


The Difficult Dutch Pronunciation

2. Confusing Word Order 

So let’s continue with another reason why people find the Dutch language hard to learn: the confusing word order.

Of course, simple sentences can just be made with a subject and a verb: 

Subject + Verb

  • Ik praat. (“I talk.”)
  • De jongen verft. (“The boy paints.”)

Adding a direct object to the mix is rather easy as well:

Subject + Verb + (Direct) Object

  • Ik praat met mijn vader. (“I talk to my father.”)
  • De jongen verft de deur. (“The boy paints the door.”)

The direct object in Dutch is called lijdend voorwerp (“leading entity/object”). It normally comes right after the verb.

However, when the sentences get longer, the word order gets more confusing. It becomes especially difficult when there are several verbs in the mix, because you’ll have to start splitting the verbs—something you don’t do in English. So be aware.

How do you know if you should split a verb or not? Be cautious when using the present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect verbs. When you use them, you may need to put a verb at the end of a sentence:

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

Here are examples for all six Dutch tenses that can make sentences end with a verb:

  • Present perfect: 
    De jongen heeft in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf geverfd
    (“The boy has painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)
  • Past perfect: 
    De jongen had in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf geverfd
    (“The boy had painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)
  • Future simple: 
    De jongen zal in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf verven
    (“The boy will paint the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)
  • Future perfect: 
    De jongen zal in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf hebben geverfd
    (“The boy will have painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)
  • Conditional: 
    De jongen zou in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf verven
    (“The boy would paint the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)
  • Conditional perfect: 
    De jongen zou in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf hebben geverfd
    (“The boy would have painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”)

Do you find this very confusing? Try not to worry too much about it. When you’ve just started learning Dutch, you don’t have to worry about little details like this yet. For now, just be aware that these rules exist; it will help a lot when you’re a more advanced Dutch-learner.


3. De vs. Het – Two Ways to Say “The”


The Dutch language has two different ways to say the word “the”: de and het. In theory, all masculine and feminine words get de while all neuter words get het:

  • De vrouw (“The woman”) 
  • De man (“The man”)
  • Het kind (“The child,” neuter) 

However, a lot of Dutch words don’t have a clear gender indication, so it can be quite challenging to know which word to use. It’s something you just have to hear, memorize, and develop a knack for. 

Here are some tips to help you overcome this confusing ordeal:

  • All words referring to persons (individuals) are de-words (de voetballer = “the football player” / de president = “the president”).
  • All plural words get de (de katten = “the cats” / de stoelen = “the chairs”).
  • All words made smaller with (e)(t/d)je are neuter (het kindje = “the little child” / het bloemetje = “the little flower”).
  • Words ending with -el or -er are often de-words (de tafel = “the table” / de bakker = “the baker”).
  • All infinitive verbs that are used as a noun have the neuter het (het fietsen = “the cycling” / het schrijven = “the writing”).
  • Words with standard prefixes like ge-, ver-, ont-, and be-, and those without an -ing ending, are neuter (het verhaal = “the story” / het ontslag = “the resignation”).
  • Almost all words with the standard suffixes -ing, -ij, -ie, -e, and -heid are feminine (de politie = “the police” / de schoonheid = “the beauty” / de drukkerij = “the printing company” / de dame = “the lady”).

We know, we know. Why is Dutch so hard to learn? 

Now that we’ve shown you some of the trickier aspects of the Dutch language—and how to learn them well—let’s get to the good news.

Are You Already Getting Confused?

2. Why is Dutch Easy to Learn?

You’ve just survived the three most challenging parts of the Dutch language, but we promise that it’s not all bad. Dutch is actually a pretty easy language to learn with the right tools. Let’s show you why.

1. Dutch is Very Similar to English and German

As we mentioned in the introduction, Dutch is very similar to English and German. We’re guessing that you already speak one of those two languages (probably English since you’re reading this article). That’s great! It means that you have a head-start: Dutch is one of the easiest languages to learn for native English– or German-speakers. 

Why is that? 

Dutch is part of the Indo-European family of languages and belongs to the Germanic branch, as do English and German. That’s why Dutch is quite similar to those languages (but without the difficult grammar of the German language, lucky for you).

2. You Already Know Some Dutch Words

You may not realize it, but you probably already know some Dutch words. 

Back in the day, the Dutch had quite some influence all over the world, and they brought their language with them. That’s why some English words have Dutch origins, as do some other languages such as German, Spanish, and French. 

But these won’t be the only words you already know! It also works the other way around, as the Dutch language adopts a lot of foreign words and expressions. German, English, and French words are often used in Dutch conversations.

Here are some examples:

  • From German: Bühne (“Stage”), Folie (“Foil”), Föhn (“Hairdryer”)
  • From English: Bar, Editor, Manager
  • From French: Abonnement (“Subscription”), Actrice (“Actress”), Capuchon (“Hood,” of a jacket)

And don’t forget those more modern words that the Dutch adopt into their language: whatsappen (“to whatsapp”), bad hair day, out-of-the-box denken (“to think out of the box”), netflixen (“to Netflix”).

3. Dutch People Appreciate Your Efforts

The Dutch are used to foreigners speaking English with them. They don’t really mind it, as they accept that their language isn’t very popular or widely spoken. However, when foreigners (try to) speak Dutch, native speakers are pleasantly surprised and are happy to help. They’ll appreciate your effort, try to speak extra-slow, and help you whenever you get stuck. 

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

4. Your Pronunciation and Grammar Don’t Have to be Perfect 

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

The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has a lot of dialects and accents from region to region. That’s why there’s no such thing as perfect Dutch pronunciation. Take, for example, the hard g sound in the north and the soft g sound in the south.

Of course, you should try to learn Dutch the best you can, but it’s simply okay to make mistakes.

3. What are the Best Ways to Start Learning Dutch?

Would you like to learn Dutch? There are many reasons why you would benefit from learning the Dutch language: it broadens your mind, gives you new opportunities, and is a great way to get to know another culture.

With the right motivation and some useful learning tips, you’ll be able to master this not-so-complicated language. So how can you learn the Dutch language quickly and easily?

How to Study Dutch

1. Create a Study Schedule and Set Some Goals

Learning a new language can be quite overwhelming—there’s so much to learn! So how can you approach this big task in an orderly manner? 

Structure is key. Many new language-learners get started quite unorganized. They start off strong, but after a few weeks, they begin to lose motivation. To avoid this fate, it’s very important that you create a clear study schedule and set some goals. Goals give you motivation and something to strive for; a study schedule gives you the consistency needed to achieve those goals.

2. Use Word Lists to Build Up a Solid Vocabulary Base

If you want to speak and understand Dutch, you need a solid vocabulary base. But with so many words to learn, where should you start? Luckily, there are some tools available to help you build up your vocabulary, such as our word lists.

Just choose a topic that you find interesting and learn words related to that topic, one at a time. DutchPod101 has vocabulary lists on nationalities, animal names, occupations, and so much more. 

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

3. Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes

As we said before, it’s okay to make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes when they start learning a language, and it’s the only way to really start understanding it. So make mistakes, learn from them, and improve your Dutch. 

The most important thing is that you practice your Dutch; with time, those mistakes will happen less frequently.


4. Practice is Key

Learning Dutch vocabulary and grammar is great, but it’s not everything. To really learn a language, it’s important that you take every opportunity you have to practice. Whether it’s with your private teacher or with the baker in your Dutch neighborhood, just try to talk and put everything you’ve learned into practice. You don’t need that many words or extensive knowledge of complicated grammar rules to communicate. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you keep on speaking, listening, reading, and writing Dutch.

Practice is the only way to improve your Dutch, so go ahead and dive into the Dutch language. Watch Dutch series, read books in Dutch, listen to Dutch music, or tune in for a podcast. Talk with every Dutchie you meet and start writing stories in Dutch. Practice at every opportunity! 

5. Make Learning Dutch Fun

Learning a new language shouldn’t be boring. When it’s boring, you definitely won’t be able to stick with it. So try to make learning Dutch as enjoyable as possible. 

Of course, you can’t ignore learning the Dutch grammar rules or those endless lists of verb conjugations. But you can mix some fun into your learning by combining this dry type of studying with things you enjoy. For example, watching a Dutch TV show with subtitles, or listening to Dutch music and trying to translate or understand the lyrics.

This way, you’ll be more inclined to study!

    → Would you like to start watching Dutch TV? Luckily, the Netherlands has some great Dutch TV shows and series for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced learners.

4. Why is DutchPod101 Great for Learning Dutch?

To summarize, let’s go back to the main question: Is Dutch a hard language to learn? No, but like any language, it has its challenging parts. However, with the right tools, you’ll be able to learn it with little problem. This is where DutchPod101 comes in. We’ll make your Dutch learning experience fun, fast, and simpler than you think!

How to Master Your Dutch Tests

1. An Integrated Approach

DutchPod101 works with an integrated approach by blending several skills into every lesson. So in just one lesson, you’ll be working on your reading, listening, and writing skills. This is because we provide audio recordings for you to listen to, transcripts and vocabulary words to read, and writing exercises to try it out for yourself.

This will make your Dutch learning more natural and effective. In one solid package, you’ll be able to work on all of the most crucial language skills.

2. A Massive Offering of Free Content

Whatever your learning level, DutchPod101 offers a great collection of content to help you advance. After you take the assessment test, you’ll be directed to the level that matches your needs. There, you’ll find a wide variety of free content, from vocabulary lists to customizable flashcards. 

On DutchPod101.com, you’ll find many other free tools that can be tailored to your needs. Some of these resources can even be downloaded and used offline.

3. Premium Personal Coaching

So DutchPod101 offers great content to practice your reading, writing, and listening skills, but how about those important speaking skills? To practice your Dutch speaking, you can rely on premium personal coaching with our MyTeacher service. Improve your pronunciation with feedback from your own private tutor! 

And your tutor will focus on much more than your speaking skills. They’ll also guide you through the wonders of the Dutch language with interactive assignments and personalized exercises. Together, you’ll focus on the areas you need the most help with and improve your overall language skills.

5. Summing it Up…

So, is the Dutch language hard or easy? 

We’ve shown you the most challenging aspects of the Dutch language, and why it might be easier than you think, from similarities with English to patient Dutchies. Learning a language is always a challenge, but we think you’ll agree that Dutch’s lighter side will make the learning process fairly simple for you. 

Do you feel ready to start learning Dutch? Or do you need some more guidance?

Another important aspect of mastering a language is having the right learning tools. Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com, as we have plenty of free resources to help you practice your grammar and many useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings to learn new words.

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

Get started with DutchPod101!

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The 10 Most Common Dutch Mistakes When Learning the Language

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Are you afraid to make mistakes in Dutch? In your studies, you’re bound to make a few. And that’s no big deal! 

Making mistakes is human, and even Dutch natives make some of the mistakes we’ll cover in this article. It’s through expressing yourself and making mistakes that you’ll really master the language. So making mistakes in the first place is no problem, but always try to learn from them!

That said, wouldn’t it be nice to be aware of some of the most common mistakes in learning Dutch? 

This is exactly what DutchPod101 has in mind for you with this guide. Have a look at the ten most common Dutch mistakes and impress your new Dutch friends with your great language skills.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Dutch Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. Vocabulary – Dutch Word Mistakes
  3. Word Order Mistakes
  4. Common Dutch Grammar Errors
  5. A Special Dutch Mistake
  6. The Biggest Mistake in Dutch Language-Learning
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Dutch Pronunciation Mistakes

Autocensuring yourself because of your Dutch pronunciation mistakes

Dutch pronunciation is tricky, even for fluent Dutch-speakers. Dutch is known for its weird sounds and long words with the strangest combinations of letters.

So, let’s have a look at two common pronunciation mistakes for Dutch-learners. 

1. Pronouncing diphthongs incorrectly

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 mistake Dutch-learners make is to pronounce the letters separately, rather than as one fluid sound.

So let’s recap and master, once and for all, the challenging sounds of 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”)
ouThis diphthong has exactly the same sound as the Dutch au diphthong. koud (“cold”)
uiThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but it’s a combination of the [a] sound in “man” followed by a long Dutch u.muis (“mouse”)

2. Pronouncing sch as sk

As you’ve probably noticed, Dutch is a language with a lot of g-sounds, more than you’re probably used to in your own language. And those g-sounds may surprise you, as they even occur in the ch and sch consonant combinations. Well, you’re not alone in your struggle. The pronunciation of sch as sk is one of the most common pronunciation mistakes for Dutch-learners (who often make 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”)


2. Vocabulary – Dutch Word Mistakes

Girl Can’t Remember Dutch Vocabulary

You’re learning your Dutch vocabulary and are feeling quite confident. However, confusion is near. It may be because of words with multiple meanings or because of those extremely long Dutch words.

Let’s have a look at two common mistakes in learning Dutch vocabulary.

3. Confusing words with multiple meanings 

The Dutch language is full of words with multiple meanings (homonymes), so a common mistake of Dutch-learners is to not learn the different meanings of a Dutch word. Only by mastering the multiple meanings can you use and understand them correctly in a given context. 

Here are some funny examples:

WordMeaning 1Meaning 2
Arm“Arm” (the body part)“Poor”
Gerecht“Dish”“Court”
Kussen“Pillow”“To kiss” / “Kisses”
Kater“Male cat”“Hangover”
Weer“Weather”“Again”

4. Splitting up compound words 

Okay, let’s now continue with those confusing compound words. The Dutch language is known for its long words, so be aware of this common mistake of Dutch-learners: splitting up the compound words. 

All you can do here is be aware of this peculiar characteristic of the Dutch language and keep on improving your Dutch vocabulary. 

Here are some examples of compound words consisting of two, three, and even five parts:

PartsDutch Compound WordMeaning in English
2Broodmes“Breadknife”
3Langeafstandloper“Long-distance runner”
… to 5Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden
(This is the longest word in the Dutch language.)
“Preparation activities plan for a children’s carnival procession”

How to Manage Those Long Dutch Words?

    → Are you having difficulties understanding compound words? Try to divide them into smaller parts and see if you can understand the different parts. 

3. Word Order Mistakes

Dutch word order can be confusing, possibly because of its similarities to English or because of its weird habit of splitting up verbs.

5. Using the word doe in yes/no questions

Dutch can be quite similar to English, so you’re bound to mix the rules up sometimes. This fifth most common Dutch mistake is to use the Dutch word doe (“to do”) in yes/no questions. 

Contrary to English, Dutch doesn’t use the auxiliary “do” in questions. So don’t use it, otherwise your Dutch question word order will be incorrect.

Here are some examples:

Example 1: “Do you like dancing?”

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

Example 2: “Do you want to marry me?”

  • Correct: Wil je met me trouwen?
  • Wrong: Doe jij met me willen trouwen?

Let’s have a look at the word order:

Working verb + Subject + (Object +) Other verb

Some simple examples:

  • Kom je? (“Are you coming?”)
  • Werkt hij? (“Does he work?”)


6. Not knowing when to split the verbs in sentences

Dutch word order can be even more confusing when a sentence has many words. Even more so when there are several verbs in the mix, in which case one part of the verb will be at the beginning of the sentence and other parts will be at the end. 

How do you know when to split a verb? Be cautious when using the present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect verbs. Here, you may need to add a verb to the end of a sentence.

Let’s have a look at the sentence structure for these tenses:

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

Let’s give you an example for each of the six aforementioned Dutch tenses:

  • Present perfect: 
    De jongen heeft in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf geverfd. 
    “The boy has painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
  • Past perfect:
    De jongen had in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf geverfd
    “The boy has painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
  • Future simple: 
    De jongen zal in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf verven
    “The boy will paint the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
  • Future perfect: 
    De jongen zal in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf hebben geverfd
    “The boy will have painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
  • Conditional: 
    De jongen zou in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf verven
    “The boy would paint the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
  • Conditional perfect: 
    De jongen zou in het huis de gele deur met zwarte verf hebben geverfd
    “The boy would have painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”
Practicing These Sentence Patterns Will Help You Avoid Dutch Word Order Mistakes

    → Try to think of easy sentences that you can use like this. This way, you can improve your own Dutch sentence structures and learn how to avoid this common mistake of Dutch-learners.


4. Common Dutch Grammar Errors

Grammar is a challenge in every language, and Dutch is no exception. Let’s learn from our mistakes! 

7. Mixing up the dt ending

Although the Dutch present tense might look easy, be aware of one of the most common Dutch grammar mistakes: mixing up the dt ending. 

So when should you use the dt ending? It has to be used with certain subjects when the verb used has a -d root ending.

Let’s take this mistake in Dutch grammar step-by-step:

How do you get the infinitive in Dutch? Well, Dutch infinitives are the plural and present tense verbs. They usually end with -en, as in lopen (“to walk”). Sometimes, they end with only -n, as in zijn (“to be”).

Before the Dutch infinitive, you can almost always put Ik kan (“I can”): 

  • Ik kan fietsen.
    “I can cycle.”

Or:

  • Ik kan antwoorden.
    “I can answer.”

So how do you get the root of your verb? You simply remove the -en ending. So in this case, fiets is the root of fietsen and antwoord of antwoorden.

SubjectFietsen present tense (“to cycle”)Antwoorden present tense (“to reply”)
Ik (“I”)fietsantwoord
Jij, u (“You”)fietstantwoordt
Hij, zij, het (“He, she, it”)fietstantwoordt
Wij (“We”)fietsenantwoorden
Zij (“They”)fietsenantwoorden

As you can see, in the verb antwoorden, because the root ends with a -d, it becomes -dt for the “you” and “he, she, it” subjects. So when in doubt, look at the conjugation of a verb that doesn’t end with a -d (such as fietsen), and you’ll know what to do. 

8. Making words plural with an -s instead of -en

English and Dutch have many similarities. Just like English, Dutch makes words plural by changing that word’s ending. However, avoid the common mistake in Dutch of making plural words with an -s instead of -en

There are some cases where we can add an -s, but most of the time, we add -en.

SingularPlural
Kat (“Cat”)Katten (“Cats”)
Kus (“Kiss”)Kussen (“Kisses”)
Stoel (“Chair”)Stoelen (“Chairs”)
Bord (“Plate”)Borden (“Plates”)
Banaan (“Banana”)Bananen (“Bananas”)

5. A Special Dutch Mistake

A typical Dutch Mistake

Every culture has its own peculiarities. So what’s a Dutch-learning mistake that’s closely connected to Dutch culture?

9. Switching to English every time you struggle speaking Dutch

This may not be a grammar or vocabulary blunder, but it’s a common mistake in learning Dutch. 

Many Dutch people speak English very well, so it might be tempting to switch from Dutch to English every time you start to struggle. Try not to do that too much, as you’ll only master Dutch if you really practice the language.

This impulse to switch to English may not even come from you, as the Dutch are always happy to speak English. When they see you struggle, or even notice the littlest hint of an accent, they’ll try to “help” you by suggesting you switch to English. So it can definitely be called a typical cultural challenge that Dutch-learners face

Instead of switching, just try to explain that you’re practicing their beautiful language. They’ll be patient, and maybe even flattered that you’re trying to speak their language (as a lot of foreigners don’t even bother). 

6. The Biggest Mistake in Dutch Language-Learning

Last, but definitely not least, try to avoid the biggest mistake: mixing up de and het.

10. “The” in Dutch: het vs. de

Mixing up articles: this is seen as the most common and most typical mistake of Dutch-learners.

In Dutch, there are two options for “the”: de and het. It’s very common to hear Dutch-learners mix them up, and for a good reason: the Dutch language lacks a clear explanation of which one to use in what situations. In theory, all masculine and feminine words get de, while all neuter words get het:

  • De vrouw (“The woman”) 
  • De man (“The man”)
  • Het kind (“The child” – is neuter) 

However, in practice, this won’t help you that much as there’s not always a good explanation as to why a word is feminine, masculine, or neuter. Dutch words don’t have a clear gender indication. 

Luckily, there are a few indications that can help you:

  • All words referring to people are de-words (de voetballer [“the football player”] / de president [“the president”]).
  • All plural words get de (de katten [“the cats”] / de stoelen [“the chairs”]).
  • All words made smaller with (e)(t/d)je are neuter (het kindje [“the little child”] / het bloemetje [“the little flower”]).
  • Words ending with -el or -er are often de-words (de tafel [“the table”] / de bakker [“the baker”]).
  • All infinitive verbs that are used as a noun have the neuter het (het fietsen [“the cycling”] / het schrijven [“the writing”]).
  • Words with standard prefixes like ge-, ver-, ont-, and be-, and without an -ing ending, are neuter (het verhaal [“the story”] / het ontslag [“the resignation”]).
  • Almost all words with the standard suffixes -ing, -ij, -ie, -e, and -heid are feminine (de politie [“the police”] / de schoonheid [“the beauty”] / de drukkerij [“the printing company”] /, de dame [“the lady”]).

Practice is key. When in doubt, look up the word in the dictionary (it will say [m], [v], or [o] behind the word). This way, you’ll learn the combinations, and with time, you’ll develop the instinct of when to use de and when to use het

In the meantime, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes in Dutch, because it means that you’re learning.


Asking Questions Will Help You Improve Your Dutch

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned all about the ten most common mistakes in Dutch. You know what to do and what not to do. We’ve made you aware of the most common mistakes and gave you some hints on how to avoid them. 

Yes, you’re bound to make mistakes in Dutch, but this guide has given you some tools to recognize them. From the common pronunciation mistakes for Dutch-learners, vocabulary word mistakes, and word order mistakes, to the “biggest mistake of all.”

So are you already feeling more confident about your Dutch? Which one of the mistakes do you make the most and how can you avoid it in the future?

Start avoiding these mistakes today with the help of DutchPod101.com. Boost your studies with our useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources.

Would you like some personal one-on-one coaching? Check out our premium MyTeacher service. We’ll connect you with a private teacher who will help you improve your Dutch through interactive exercises and personalized feedback.

Practice Dutch and learn from your mistakes with DutchPod101!

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