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Our Useful Guide on How to Say Goodbye in Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dutch Woman Saying Goodbye

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

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

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

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

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

2. Specific Ways to Say Bye in Dutch

Most Common Goodbyes

A- Casual Goodbyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

B- The Formal Goodbye

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

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

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

The Formal Goodbye with a Handshake

C- Have a Good One

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

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

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

D- Tot ___. (“See you ___.”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E- When in a Hurry… 

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Dutch

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

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

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

4. Dutch Culture: Goodbye Gestures

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

1- The handshake

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

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

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

2- The kiss or the hug

Saying Goodbye in Dutch with a Kiss on the Cheek

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

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


5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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

The 10 Most Common Questions in Dutch & How to Answer

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Are you in the Netherlands, wanting to get to know some nice Dutch people, but you don’t know how? Making friends and getting to know people can be hard, especially when you’re in another country. Luckily, there’s an easy way to break the ice: asking questions in Dutch. This is a great way to start conversations—and keep them going. 

Through asking questions, you’ll get to know your conversation partner, get personal, and maybe even become friends. And you’ll be able to practice your Dutch listening and speaking skills at the same time!

In this guide, you’ll learn everything about asking questions in Dutch, from the Dutch question words to making yes/no questions. We’ll also introduce you to the ten most common Dutch questions and the different answers you can give. By the end of this article, you’ll not only know how to make questions in Dutch, but also how to answer them!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. The Golden Rules of Dutch Questions
  2. The 10 Most Common Dutch Questions
  3. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. The Golden Rules of Dutch Questions

Before we go to our list of the ten most common Dutch questions, there are some basics you need to understand concerning how to make those questions in Dutch.

A- Questions Beginning with Dutch Question Words

The English Question Words

How? What? Why? Where? Who? When? 

You know the English ones, so let’s learn more about question words in Dutch!

There’s a special Dutch question structure for questions that use interrogative words at the beginning. The question word comes first, the conjugated verb second, and the subject third: 

Question word + Verb + Subject 

Let’s have a look at two simple examples:

  • Waarom lach je? (“Why do you laugh?”)
  • Wanneer trouwt je zoon? (“When does your son get married?”)

Now have a look at more Dutch question words:

Hoe
(“How”)
Hoe voel je je?
(“How are you feeling?”)
Wat
(“What”)
Wat doe je morgen?
(“What are you doing tomorrow?”)
Waarom
(“Why”)
Waarom is je vriendin boos?
(“Why is your girlfriend mad?”)
Waar
(“Where”)
Waar ligt Den Bosch?
(“Where is Den Bosch?”)
Wie
(“Who”)
Wie ben jij?(“Who are you?”)
Wanneer
(“When”)
Wanneer is zijn verjaardag?
(“When is his birthday?”)

B- Yes/No Questions

Another common question form Dutch people use is the yes/no question; as you know, these are questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Questions like this have a different word order, with the verb coming first:

Verb + Subject 

For example:

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

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

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

  • Ga je morgen naar school? (“Are you going to school tomorrow?”)
    • Instead of: Je gaat morgen naar school. (“You are going to school tomorrow.”)
  • Heb je vandaag met je oma gepraat? (“Did you talk to your grandmother today?”)
    • Instead of: Je hebt vandaag met je oma gepraat. (“You talked with your grandmother today.”)

2. The 10 Most Common Dutch Questions

Now that you know the golden rules of forming basic Dutch questions, it’s time to dive into the ten most common questions in Dutch.

A Man Holding Up a Big Question Mark Sign

1. How are you?

This basic Dutch question is the most common way to start talking to someone, whether you’ve met before or not.

However, be aware that in the Netherlands, this question isn’t just a formality. In some cultures (such as Spanish or French), someone can ask this question without really expecting a comprehensive answer. This is not so much the case in the Netherlands. When the Dutch ask this question, they’re usually interested in the answer. Of course, your answer may be more or less detailed depending on how well you know the other person.

How are you?

  • Hoe gaat het met je? [Casual]
  • Hoe gaat het met u? [Formal]

Another informal way to ask this question is: Alles goed? (“Everything fine?”)

Possible answers for this question include:

    Het gaat goed met me. (“I am doing great.”)
    Ik voel me niet goed. (“I am not feeling well.”)
    Het gaat wel. (“I am fine.”)
    Ik heb het erg druk. (“I am very busy.”)

As you can see, we used the question word hoe (“how”), followed by the conjugated verb. 

As you go through the rest of this article, ask yourself which structure each question uses: the one with a question word at the beginning or the yes/no structure.

2. What are you doing?

If you know someone well and want to know what they’re up to, this question is perfect.

However, it’s not the way to go when talking with strangers, as this random Dutch question can seem quite invasive (especially with the sometimes distant Dutch people).

What are you doing?

  • Wat doe je? [Casual]
  • Wat doet u? [Formal]

Let’s see some possible answers:

    Ik lees. (“I am reading.”)
    Ik kijk een film. (“I am watching a movie.”)
    Ik ben aan het studeren. (“I am studying.”)
    Ik ben aan het koken. (“I am cooking.”)

In the ik ben aan het + verb structure, you can replace the verb (studeren or koken) with the verb that’s applicable to your situation.


3. What’s your name?

First Encounter

Are you meeting someone new in the Netherlands? Then it’s crucial to be able to ask for their name. This is also a great ice-breaker, as it shows your interest in that person. And once the conversation’s been started, there will be plenty more questions to come! 

What’s your name?

  • Wat is je naam?  [Casual]
  • Wat is uw naam? [Formal]

Another way to ask this question in Dutch is: 

  • Hoe heet je? [Casual]
  • Hoe heet u? [Formal]

Let’s now have a look at the answers:

    Ik heet Sophie. (“My name is Sophie.”)
    Mijn naam is Sophie. (“My name is Sophie.”)
    Ik ben Sophie. (“I am Sophie.”)

4. Where are you from?

As a foreigner in the Netherlands, you’ll often hear this question. By learning how to ask this question in Dutch, you’ll have the perfect way to stimulate a conversation. While you can ask this to a foreigner, asking this to a Dutch person may help them open up about their hometown or the region they’re from.

Where are you from?

  • Waar kom je vandaan? [Casual]
  • Waar komt u vandaan? [Formal]

Let’s have a look at some possible answers:

    Foreign answers
    Ik ben Duits. (“I’m German.”)
    Ik kom uit Frankrijk. (“I’m from France.”)

    Local answers
    Ik kom uit Amsterdam. (“I’m from Amsterdam.”)
    Ik ben een Rotterdammer. (“I’m a Rotterdammer.” – a person from Rotterdam)
    Ik kom uit Brabant. (“I’m from Brabant.”)

Has your interlocutor given you the name of a place you’re not familiar with? Then you can ask this: 

Where is it?

  • Waar is dat?
  • Waar ligt dat?

      In het Zuiden van Nederland. (“In the south of the Netherlands.”)
      Vlakbij Den Haag. (“Close to The Hague.”)
      Het is een stad in Noord-Italië. (“It is a city in northern Italy.”)
A Woman Struggling to Understand What a Man Is Saying

5. Where do you live?

It’s nice to know where someone is from, but it may be more useful to know where someone is living. Let’s have a look at this common Dutch question:

Where do you live?

  • Waar woon je? [Casual]
  • Waar woont u? [Formal]

      Ik woon in Breda. (“I live in Breda.”)
      Ik woon in de provincie Groningen. (“I live in the province of Groningen.”)
    → Do you live in the Netherlands, but still struggle with the pronunciation of city names? Then have a look at our major Dutch cities list with audio recordings.

6. Have you been to [place]?

You’ve just told someone where you’re from or where you live. Let’s keep that conversation going and ask if they’ve ever been to that place. This way, you’ll show your interest and get to know more about someone’s (traveling) past.

Have you been to [place]? 

  • Bent u in [place] geweest? [Casual]
  • Ben je in [place] geweest? [Formal]
    → As you can see, this is a yes/no question that starts with the verb, followed by the subject.

Other ways to ask this question are:

  • Ben je ooit in Brussel geweest? (“Have you ever been to Brussel?”)
  • Heb je door Zuid-Amerika gereisd? (“Have you traveled through South America?”)

Possible answers include:

    Ja, ik ken [place] erg goed. (“Yes, I know [place] very well.”)
    Ja, ik ben er vorig jaar nog geweest. (“Yes, I went there last year.”)
    Ik ben er heel lang geleden geweest. (“I was there a long time ago.”)
    Nee, ik ben daar nog nooit geweest. (“No, I’ve never been there.”)

7. Do you speak Dutch?

Introducing yourself

The language question: another crucial Dutch question for any foreigner in the Netherlands. You’ll receive this question a lot yourself, but learning this structure will be useful for you too. You never know when you’ll need to communicate in your native language or a different common language.

Do you speak Dutch? 

  • Spreek je Nederlands? (“Do you speak Dutch?”) – Casual
  • Spreekt u Nederlands? (“Do you speak Dutch?”) – Formal
  • Spreek je Engels? (“Do you speak English?”) – Casual
  • Spreekt u Engels? (“Do you speak English?”) – Formal


Let’s have a look at some possible answers:

    Ik spreek een beetje Nederland. (“I speak a little Dutch.”)
    Ik spreek vloeiend Engels. (“I speak English fluently.”)
    Min of meer. (“So-so.”)

8. What do you do?

Different Jobs Means Many Possible Answers

You know how your new acquaintance is doing, you know their name, and you know where they’re from and where they live. You even know the languages they speak. What’s left to ask? A logical followup question is to ask about someone’s work or study. 

What do you do?

  • Wat doe je? [Casual]
  • Wat doet u? [Formal]

If you’re in a bar and you just say Wat doe je? the other person could be caught off guard by this random Dutch question, and answer “I am drinking a beer, why?” So when you ask this question out of nowhere, it may be better to be a bit more specific:

  • Wat voor werk doe je? (“What kind of work do you do?”)
  • Wat is jouw baan? (“What’s your job?”)
  • Waar werk je? (“Where do you work?”)
  • Wat voor een studie doe je? (“What kind of study do you do?”)
  • Wat studeer je? (“What do you study?”)
  • Waar studeer je? (“Where do you study?”)
    → The questions from this point on are in the casual, more common Jij/Je form, but you could make them more formal by using U or Uw.

Some possible answers are:

    Ik ben politieagent. (“I’m a police officer.”)
    Ik werk in IT. (“I work in IT.”)
    Ik werk in een kledingwinkel. (“I work in a clothing store.”)
    Ik studeer anthropologie. (“I study anthropology.”)
    Ik studeer aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. (“I study at the University of Amsterdam.”)
    → Not sure how to talk about your job in Dutch? Have a look at our free vocabulary list on Jobs.

9. What are your hobbies?

For the Dutch, their work is important. But many believe that their hobbies and interests define them more than their work. So a great way to show your interest in the other person and find common ground is to ask them about their hobbies.

What are your hobbies? 

  • Wat zijn je hobby’s?
  • Wat doe je graag in je vrije tijd? (“What do you do in your free time?”)

      Ik ga graag naar de bioscoop. (“I like going to the cinema.”)
      Ik hou van wandelen. (“I love hiking.”)
      Ik maak foto’s. (“I take pictures.”)
    → Find your favorite hobbies in our free vocabulary list with audio recordings to practice your pronunciation.

10. Do you like ___?

People Making Heart Sign with Hands Toward the Sky

Let’s get personal and find out what our Dutch acquaintance here likes or dislikes. There’s no better way to get to know someone! 

The Dutch are quite direct, and you can usually say whatever you’re thinking. However, try to stay respectful toward your host country. The Dutch don’t mind a bit of criticism, but don’t be too negative or you might hurt their feelings.

Do you like ___? 

  • Houd je van winkelen? (“Do you like to shop?”) 
    • Literally, it says “to love,” but in this instance, it’s more similar to the English “to like.”
  • Houd je van de Nederlandse keuken? (“Do you like Dutch cuisine?”)
  • Houd je van bier? (“Do you like beer?”)

And possible answers:

    Ja, ik houd ervan! (“Yes, I love it!”)
    Nee, ik vind het niet echt leuk. (“No, I don’t really like it.”)
    Nee, ik haat het. (“No, I hate it.”)
    Het ligt eraan. (“It depends.”)
      This answer is vague enough to keep yourself out of trouble!

Some other ways to ask this question:

  • Vind je Nederland leuk? (“Do you like the Netherlands?”)
  • Vind je je werk leuk? (“Do you like your work?”)
  • Heb je het naar je zin in Amsterdam? (“Do you enjoy Amsterdam?”)

    Ja, ik houd van Amsterdam. (“Yes, I love Amsterdam.”)
    Ja, maar het is wel erg druk. (“Yes, but it’s quite busy.”)
    Het gaat wel. (“It’s fine.”)
    Nee, ik vind het niet leuk. (“No, I do not like it.”)

3. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned how to make questions in Dutch, with plenty of example answers to keep that conversation going. You now have the tools to make conversation with your soon-to-be new Dutch friends.

So are you ready to put this useful knowledge into action? Do you feel ready to start asking basic Dutch questions using everything you’ve learned today?

You can start using and practicing these questions with the help of DutchPod101. Boost your studies with our useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources.

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

Start asking questions in Dutch (and getting answers) with DutchPod101!

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The Top 10 Easy Dutch Sentence Patterns

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Learning a new language can be tricky; there’s so much to learn. Where should you start? And what should you focus on? 

You may already be learning grammar rules, memorizing conjugation tables, and studying vocabulary lists. However, to really learn Dutch, it’s important that you speak it as early as you can. That’s the only way you’ll really improve your Dutch language skills.

Are you still hesitant to speak Dutch? Then try to learn some useful and easy Dutch sentence patterns. This will allow you to form hundreds of natural sentences that you can use in many daily situations. You’ll be able to communicate your thoughts, doubts, or opinions to your Dutch friends or colleagues with ease and confidence. Sure, it won’t enable you to express the most complicated lines of thought, but it will cover a wide range of typical day-to-day interactions. Moreover, it will give you the confidence boost you need to start speaking Dutch.

In this article, you’ll learn ten easy Dutch sentence patterns, covering situations from giving a description to expressing your desires. For each of these Dutch-to-English sentence patterns, we’ll include many examples. This way you’ll really have the tools to master the Dutch sentence structure and sentence patterns.

Good luck!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Something
  3. Making a Comparison
  4. Expressing Your Desires
  5. Expressing Your Needs
  6. Expressing Your Preferences
  7. Giving Orders
  8. Asking for Information
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position
  11. How DutchPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Linking Two Nouns

Sentence patterns

We’ll start with an easy Dutch sentence pattern that will allow you to link two nouns: the “A is B” pattern. 

This can also be called the [A] [B] [C] pattern: A (noun/subject) + B (verb) + C (noun/object).

A noun (subject) is linked by a verb to a noun (object), giving substance to a sentence. The way to do this is to use the verb zijn (“to be”). You can find details about its conjugation right here.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Jan is mijn vriend. (“Jan is my friend.”)
  • Charlotte was mijn baas. (“Charlotte was my boss.”)
  • Mijn broer is politieagent. (“My brother is a police officer.”)
  • Dit horloge is een cadeau van mijn vrouw geweest. (“This watch was a gift from my wife.”)
  • Nederland is het land van mijn dromen. (“The Netherlands is the country of my dreams.”)

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Something

Okay, let’s continue with another basic Dutch sentence structure, similar to the one above. This sentence pattern has the same kind of structure (A is B). However, the verb zijn (“to be”) here doesn’t connect two nouns; instead, it connects a noun and an adjective. 

So the pattern is: A (noun/subject) is B (adjective).

Let’s look at some examples:

  • Marlies is mooi. (“Marlies is beautiful.”)
  • Kai is heel jong. (“Kai is very young.”)
  • Deze baan was erg belangrijk voor mij. (“This job was very important to me.”)
  • Hij zou nu erg oud zijn geweest. (“He would have been very old now.”)
  • De film die we gisteravond hebben bekeken was eng. (“The movie we watched last night was scary.”)

3. Making a Comparison

Making a Comparison: the Boy is Taller than the Girl

Let’s take it one step further with this more complex (but still easy) Dutch sentence pattern: A is [adjective] than B. 

Use this sentence pattern to make a comparison.

Let’s have a look at the different parts of this sentence pattern, that again is connected by the verb zijn (“to be”): A (noun/subject) + zijn (“to be”) + B (adjective in comparative form) + dan (“than”) + C (noun).

Let’s now see some examples of how to form Dutch sentences like this with the verb zijn:

  • Ik ben mooier dan mijn zus. (“I am more beautiful than my sister.”)
  • Mijn man was slimmer dan ik. (“My husband was smarter than me.”)
  • Hij is grappiger dan mijn vader. (“He’s funnier than my dad.”)
  • Nederland is leuker dan België. (“The Netherlands is nicer than Belgium.”)
  • De vorige minister-president was beter dan de huidige. (“The previous prime minister was better than the current one.”)

However, you can also make comparisons with other verbs. For example:

  • Mijn kat rent harder dan mijn hond. (“My cat runs faster than my dog.”)
  • Hij loopt beter dan ik. (“He walks better than me.”)
  • Deze achtbaan ging sneller dan de vorige. (“This roller coaster went faster than the last one.”)
  • In Amsterdam praten ze duidelijker dan in Limburg. (“In Amsterdam, they talk more clearly than in Limburg.”)

4. Expressing Your Desires

Now let’s go another way and see a different kind of Dutch sentence structure. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could express your desires in Dutch? To be able to say things like “I want to go to the bathroom” or “I want a sandwich with gouda cheese.” Crucial stuff to know in the Netherlands.

Having a Desire for Cake

For this Dutch sentence pattern, we use the verb willen (“to want”), and it works quite similarly to how it does in English. It uses the indicative mood for something you WANT and the subjunctive mood for something you WOULD LIKE:

  • Ik wil (“I want”)
  • Ik zou willen (“I would like”)

This sentence structure follows the pattern:

A [object] + willen + B (noun) 

or  

A [object] + willen + B (noun) + C (verb)

For example:

  • Ik wil koffie. (“I want coffee.”)
  • Ik wil je zien. (“I want to see you”.)
  • Mijn broer wil Nederland bezoeken. (“My brother wants to visit the Netherlands.”)
  • Ik zou van de wc gebruik willen maken. (“I would like to use the toilet.”)
  • Hij zou graag de hond willen aaien. (“He would like to pet the dog.”)

And let’s not forget “I don’t want,” as the Dutch have no problem at all saying what they don’t want…

  • Ik wil geen fruit. (“I don’t want fruit.”)
  • Ik zou niet naar Groningen willen verhuizen. (“I would not want to move to Groningen.”) 
    → You can find the full conjugation table for willen right here.

5. Expressing Your Needs

Sentence Components

Let’s add some urgency and learn one of the most important Dutch sentence structures: how to express your needs. This is something you’re likely to do daily, on a variety of occasions: at work (Ik heb meer tijd nodig “I need more time”), at home (Ik moet de vaat nog wassen – “I need to wash the dishes”) or with friends (Ik heb echt een biertje nodig – “I really need a beer”). 

As you can see in these examples, there are different ways in Dutch to express your needs:

  • Moeten (“To have to”)
Ik moet + Infinitive verbIk moet plassen. (“I have to pee.”)
  • Nodig hebben (“To need to”)
Ik heb + Nominal + nodigIk heb jou nodig. (“I need you.”)

Here are some more Dutch sentence examples:

  • Ik heb rust nodig. (“I need to rest.”)
  • Ik moet met je praten. (“I need to talk to you.”)
  • Ik heb een nieuwe jas nodig. (“I need a new jacket.”)
  • We hadden gisteren jouw hulp nodig. (“We needed your help yesterday.”)
  • Zij moesten vorige week onverwachts naar Duitsland reizen. (“They had to travel to Germany unexpectedly last week.”)

6. Expressing Your Preferences

You’ve expressed your desires and needs, now it’s time to talk about the things that you like or even love… 

Just like in English, we have a verb for “to like” (leuk vinden) and a verb for “to love” (houden van). In general, the Dutch are quite careful with their expressions of love; it’s quickly seen as dramatic or overdone to use this word. However, if you really like something or someone, you can use it, of course. 

Expressing Your Love
  • Leuk vinden (“To like [to]”)
Ik vind + Nominal + leuk Ik vind mijn collega leuk. (“I like my colleague.”)
Ik vind + Infinitive verb + leuk Ik vind tekenen leuk. (“I like to draw.”)
  • Houden van (“To love [to]”)
Ik houd van + Nominal or NounIk houd van jou. (“I love you.”)
Ik houd van + Infinitive verbIk houd van fietsen. (“I love to bike.”)

Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • Ik vind deze film leuk. (“I like this movie.”)
  • Ik vind je leuk. ( “I like you.”)
  • Mijn vader houdt veel van mijn moeder. (“My father loves my mother a lot.”)
  • De kinderen hielden vroeger van buiten spelen. (“In the past, the children loved playing outside.”)
  • Ik vind bier lekker, maar ik houd meer van wijn. (“I like beer, but I prefer wine.” Literally: “I love wine more.”)

7. Giving Orders

Would you like to get bossy in Dutch? Or just be able to express your limits? Then you need this sentence pattern with the Dutch imperative. For this, we use the present tense of the first person singular. However, in the case of regular verbs, the imperative is the verb stem.

This is the sentence pattern: A (imperative verb) + niet (+ B [noun]). In English, this means: Don’t + A (conjugated verb).

Let’s see this Dutch sentence construction in action:

    Ga niet weg! (“Don’t go away!”)
  • Lach niet. (“Don’t laugh.”)
  • Wees niet onbeleefd. (“Don’t be rude.”)
  • Vertel me niet wat ik moet doen. (“Don’t tell me what to do.”)
  • Doe de deur niet dicht. (“Don’t close the door.”)

8. Asking for Information

A Woman with Many Questions

Let’s now move on to some questions. Especially as a foreigner, it’s so important to be able to ask basic questions; you need to know how to ask for information. So what’s an easy way to do this in Dutch?

  • Wat + zijn + A (noun)? (“What + to be + A [noun]?”)

As you can see, it’s quite similar to its English counterpart. Let’s see a few examples of this Dutch language sentence structure:

  • Wat is dat? (“What is this?”)
  • Wat is jouw naam? (“What is your name?”)
  • Wat was haar beroep? (“What was her profession?”)
  • Wat was het gerecht dat we de vorige keer aten? (“What was the dish we ate last time?”)
  • Wat zou je ideale feest zijn geweest? (“What would have been your ideal party?”)

In the sentences above, note the conjugation of the verb zijn (“to be”). 

9. Asking About Time

After the “what” questions, it’s time to look at the “when” questions:

  • Wanneer + zijn + A (noun)? (“When + to be + A [noun]?”)

This Dutch sentence pattern is also quite similar to the English version. The zijn (“to be”) conjugation is also crucial for this question. Let’s see some examples:

    Wanneer is je verjaardag? (“When is your birthday?”)
  • Wanneer is de vergadering? (“When is the meeting?”)
  • Wanneer was jouw feest? (“When was your party?”)
  • Wanneer was je boos op je zus? (“When were you angry with your sister?”)
  • Wanneer zou jouw trein aankomen? (“When would your train arrive?”)
    → Would you like to learn more about the vocabulary for the days in Dutch? Have a look at this useful vocabulary list on Talking About Days with audio recordings.

10. Asking About Location or Position

Last, but definitely not least, a very useful Dutch sentence pattern is that for asking “where” questions. 

These are crucial for when you get lost and need to ask for directions, or when you just want to socialize with someone and ask them where in the Netherlands they’re from:

  • Waar + zijn + A (noun)? (“Where + to be + A [noun]?”)

This question can also use different conjugations of the verb zijn (“to be”):

  • Waar is dat? (“Where is that?”)
  • Waar is de wc? (“Where is the toilet?”)
  • Waar was ik gebleven? (“Where was I?”)
  • Waar ben jij geboren? (“Where were you born?”)
  • Waar ben jij het liefste op jouw verjaardag? (“Where do you prefer to be on your birthday?”)
    → Want to see more Dutch-to-English sentence patterns? Make sure to visit our vocabulary list on the Top 10 Sentence Patterns for Beginners, with useful audio recordings to improve your pronunciation.

11. How DutchPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Learn More Words to Form More Sentences

You’ve just learned the top ten Dutch sentence patterns. You can use these patterns to form sentences for just about any situation! 

Are you ready to put this knowledge into practice? Do you feel like speaking in Dutch to complete strangers using these Dutch sentence patterns?

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com, as we have many free resources that will help you form perfect sentences. Have a look at our vocabulary lists with audio recordings; they’re a great way to practice Dutch words and their pronunciation.

Remember that DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching with our premium MyTeacher service. This way, you can practice the Dutch sentence structures with your own private teacher, through interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and much more.

Happy learning!

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Beginner’s Guide to Dutch Verb Conjugation

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Why is it so important to study Dutch verb conjugation? Verbs are a crucial aspect of any language, and Dutch is no exception. But to be able to use verbs well, you have to understand their conjugation. What verb form should you use, when and why? 

First, it’s important to understand the concept of conjugation and how it influences the Dutch language. After that, you can proceed to learning the different types of Dutch verbs. And with that information, you’ll have the tools to start understanding Dutch verb conjugation. 

Conjugation is a basic skill that you need to really understand the Dutch language. But don’t panic; we’re here to help you. In this Beginner’s Guide, we’ll take you by the hand and explain everything you need to know about Dutch verb conjugation.

Is making Dutch sentences still a challenge for you? Then have a look at our Top 10 Sentence Patterns for Beginners.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. What is Conjugation?
  2. The Five Types of Verbs
  3. Present Simple
  4. Past Simple
  5. The Present & Past Perfect
  6. Future Simple
  7. Future Perfect
  8. Conditional
  9. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. What is Conjugation?

Top Verbs
Dutch verb conjugation defines how the verbs change depending on the person, the number of subjects, the politeness level, and the tense.

Okay, but what does that mean? Let’s give you some examples.

1- Persons, number of subjects, and politeness level

1st person singularik“I”
2nd person singularjij / u“you” (casual) / “you” (formal)
3rd person singularhij / zij“he” / “she”
1st person pluralwij“we”
2nd person pluraljullie“you”
3rd person pluralzij“they”

Quite similarly to English, Dutch regular verbs don’t change with every different person. However, irregular verbs are a different story.

For example, the irregular verb zijn (“to be”) in present tense:

  • Ik ben (“I am”)
  • Hij is (“He is”)
  • U/Jij bent (“You are” formal/casual)
  • Wij zijn (“We are”)
  • Jullie zijn (“You are”)
  • Zij zijn (“They are”)

As you can see, the Dutch verb conjugation also changes because of the number of subjects (for example, see the difference between “you” and “they”).

The politeness level doesn’t have such a big influence on the Dutch language, unless you use hebben (“to have”) in the present tense. Take a look at this brief Dutch conjugation table:

Dutch conjugation of hebben (“to have”)Jij hebt (“you have” casual)U heeft (“you have” formal)

2- The Dutch verb tenses

The Dutch language has two main tenses: the present simple and the past simple. Besides these two tenses, there are also some “semi-tenses.” The six semi-tenses appear when the present or past tense interacts with an aspect (temporary or continuing) or a mood (factual or hypothetical). 

Thus, the Dutch language has, in total, eight tenses. Each one has a different use:

The eight tenses of the regular verb praten (“to talk”)
1. Onvoltooid Tegenwoordige Tijd (“Present Simple”)Used to describe something that is happening now.Ik praat.“I talk.”
2. Onvoltooid Verleden Tijd (“Past Simple”)Used to describe a situation that happened in the past.Ik praatte.“I talked.”
3. Voltooid Tegenwoordige Tijd (“Present Perfect”)Used to describe something that happened in the past and has already ended.Ik heb gepraat.“I have talked.”
4. Voltooid Verleden Tijd (“Past Perfect”)Used to describe an action or event that happened in the past and ended in the past.Ik had gepraat.“I had talked.”
5. Onvoltooid Tegenwoordige Toekomende Tijd (“Future Simple”)Used to talk about something that will happen in the future. Ik zal praten.“I will talk.”
6. Voltooid Tegenwoordige Toekomende Tijd (“Future Perfect”)Used to describe an action that will have been completed before another action in the future.Ik zal hebben gepraat.“I will have talked.”
7. Onvoltooid Verleden Toekomende Tijd (“Conditional”)Used in a “what if” scenario; used to speculate about something.Ik zou praten.“I would talk.”
8. Voltooid Verleden Toekomende Tijd (“Conditional Perfect”)Used to describe a future hypothetical situation in the past.Ik zou hebben gepraat.“I would have talked.”

The Dutch verb praten is a regular (weak) verb, which makes the above exercise a bit easier. Let’s have a look at all of the five types of Dutch verbs.

2. The Five Types of Verbs

More Essential Verbs

In the Dutch language, there exist five types of verbs:

  • Irregular verbs
  • Weak verbs of the T-class
  • Weak verbs of the D-class
  • Strong verbs
  • Mixed verbs

1- Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs are difficult as they’re quite unpredictable. Unfortunately, several important Dutch verbs are irregular. We already showed this before with the irregular verb zijn (“to be”). Another example of Dutch irregular verbs conjugation is the Dutch hebben (“to have”) conjugation:

  • Ik heb (“I have”)
  • Jij hebt (“You have” casual)
  • U heeft (“You have” formal)
  • Hij heeft (“He has”)
  • Wij hebben (“We have”)
  • Jullie hebben (“You have”)
  • Zij hebben (“They have”)


Some other irregular Dutch verbs are willen (conjugation in Dutch) and mogen (conjugation in Dutch).

2- Weak verbs of the T-class

Luckily, not everything is irregular in the Dutch language. A great example of this are the weak verbs. 

Weak verbs are the most common type of verb in Dutch. They’re regular and end with -d or -t. Let’s first show you the Dutch weak verbs of the T-class; these always have a t in the past tense:

Fietsen (“to bike”)Ik fiets (“I bike”)Ik fietste (“I biked”)Ik heb gefietst (“I have biked”)

3- Weak verbs of the D-class

Let’s continue and have a look at the weak verbs of the D-class. These are regular verbs that always have a -d in the past tense:

Redden (“to save”)Ik red (“I save”)Ik redde (“I saved”)Ik heb gered (“I have saved”)

4- Strong verbs

In strong verbs, the vowel changes when going from the simple present tense to other tenses. You can also recognize a strong verb in the past participle, which often ends with -en.

Let’s have a look at some examples in this Dutch verb conjugation chart:

Geven (“to give”)Ik geef (“I give”)Ik gaf (“I gave”)Ik heb gegeven (“I have given”)
Lopen (“to walk”)Ik loop (“I walk”)Ik liep (“I walked”)Ik heb gelopen (“I have walked”)
Sluiten (“to close”)Ik sluit (“I close”)Ik sloot (“I closed”)Ik heb gesloten (“I have closed”)

5- Mixed verbs

Last but not least, there are also verbs that have a mixture of strong and weak elements. These so-called “mixed verbs” are quite common in the Dutch language.

The most common mixed verb form is the one that has a weak past tense, but a strong past participle ending with -en:

Vouwen (“to fold”)Ik vouw (“I fold”)Ik vouwde (“I folded”)Ik heb gevouwen (“I have folded”)
Lachen (“to laugh”)Ik lach (“I laugh”)Ik lachte (“I laughed”)Ik heb gelachen (“I have laughed”)

However, there also exist a smaller group of verbs with the reverse situation: a strong past tense, but a weak past participle.

Vraag (“to ask”)Ik vraag (“I ask”)Ik vroeg (“I asked”)Ik heb gevraagd (“I have asked”)
Jagen (“to hunt”)Ik jaag (“I hunt”)Ik joeg (“I hunted”)Ik heb gejaagd (“I have hunted”)

Okay, we know all about the different types of Dutch verbs. Let’s now dive into the wonderful world of Dutch verb conjugation. 

3. Present Simple

Negative Verbs
    →Used to describe something that is happening now.

1- Weak and strong verbs

In the present simple tense, you can’t see the difference between strong verbs, weak verbs of the T-class, or weak verbs of the D-class. Let’s have a look at the Dutch present tense conjugation of weak and strong verbs. 

To conjugate the singular form (I, you, he, she, it), you can take the infinitive, remove the -en to get the crude stem, and add the -t. However, it’s not always this easy. There are some exceptions:

  • Does the crude stem end with a -z? Then the first person singular ends with an -s. For example: Reizen – ik reis (“To travel” – “I travel”).
  • Does the crude stem end with a -v? Then the first person singular ends with an -f. For example: Schrijven ik schrijf (“To write” – “I write”).
  • Is there a double-consonant ending? Then remove one of the consonants. For example: Vallen – ik val (“To fall” – “I fall”).
  • Does the vowel of the crude stem sound different than the vowel of the infinitive? Then this must be adapted by changing the vowel. For example, a becomes aa or o becomes oo. Let’s have a look: Lopen – ik loop (“To walk” – “I walk”).

In the case of the plural form (we, you, they), you can use the infinitive directly.

Simple Present – Dutch verb conjugation chart
For weak and strong verbs 
Example: voelen (“to feel”)
SingularPlural
I + stem
(“I feel”)
Ik + stem
(Ik voel)
We + infinitive
(“We feel”)
We/Wij + infinitive
(We/Wij voelen)
Casual – 
You + stem + t 
(“You feel”)

Formal – 
You + stem + t 
(“You feel”)
Jij + stem + t
(Jij voelt)


U + stem + t
(U voelt)
You (plural) + infinitive
(“You feel”)
Jullie + infinitive 
(Jullie voelen)
He/She/It + stem + t

(“He/She/It feels)
Hij/Zij/Het + stem + t 

(Hij/Zij/Het voelt)
They + infinitive
(“They feel”)
Zij + infinitive
(Zij voelen)
    →Do you need some help recognizing the infinitive of a Dutch verb? When you look up a verb in the Dutch dictionary, you’ll find the infinitive. The Dutch infinitives are the plural and present tense verbs. They usually end with en, like in praten (“to talk”), and sometimes with only n, like in zijn (“to be”). 
    →Is the verb separable? Then remove the separable prefix from the verb, and add it to the end of the phrase as a separate word (for example: aanbellen (“to ring”) – ik bel aan).
A Woman Studying and Laughing

2- Verbs having an –aan ending

Does the infinitive of a verb have an -aan ending? Then remove the -n to get the stem.

Let’s look at an example of a verb with an -aan ending:

Gaan (“to go”) in simple present
SingularPlural
“I go”Ik ga“We go”We gaan
“You go”Jij gaat“You go”Jullie staan
“He goes”Hij gaat“They go”Ze gaan

In the first person conjugation, it looks like a letter is missing, but the pronunciation of a or aa is the same in Dutch. Therefore, this is the correct spelling.

3- Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs are unpredictable. All you can do is memorize them. The Dutch language has six completely irregular verbs. 

Let’s have a look at them in the present simple tense in this Dutch verb conjugation chart:

SubjectHebben conjugation Dutch (“to have”)Kunnen conjugation Dutch (“can”)Mogen conjugation Dutch (“to be allowed to”)Willen conjugation Dutch (“to want”)Zijn conjugation Dutch (“to be”)Zullen conjugation Dutch (“shall”)
Ikhebkanmagwilbenzal
Jij, uhebtkuntmagwiltbentzult
Hij, zij, hetheeftkanmagwiliszalzal
Wijhebbenkunnenmogenwillenzijnzullen
Julliehebbenkunnenmogenwillenzijnzullen
Zijhebbenkunnenmogenwillenzijnzullen

4. Past Simple

    →Used to describe a situation that happened in the past.

1- Weak verbs

A weak verb can either belong to the T-class or D-class. But how can you recognize which class a weak verb belongs to?

  • Step 1: Remove the -en to get the crude stem.
  • Step 2: Have a look at the last letter of the crude stem.
  • Step 3: Check if it is one of the following: f, ch, s, t, k, p
  • Step 4: Is it? Then it’s a T-verb. If not, it’s a D-verb. 

For example, see the verb voelen (“to feel”). The crude stem is voel, the last letter of the crude stem is –l, and this isn’t one of the endings mentioned. Therefore, it belongs to the D-class: Ik voelde (“I felt”).

Another example is the verb haten (“to hate”). The crude stem is haat (add an a to make the vowel sound the same as in the infinitive), and the last letter of the crude stem is -t, making it a T-verb: Ik haatte (“I hated”).

Simple Past for Weak Verbs of the T-class – Dutch Verb Conjugation Chart
Stem + te (singular) or Stem + ten (plural)
SingularPlural
I stem + teIk stem + teWe stem + tenWe stem + ten
You stem + te (casual)
You stem + te (formal)
Je stem + te 
U stem + te
You stem + ten (plural)Jullie stem + ten
He stem + te
She stem + te
It stem + te
Hij stem + te 
Ze stem + te 
Het stem + te
They stem + tenZe stem + ten

You can replace the stem with the stem of a T-class verb. For example, zet from the verb zetten (“to put”): 

  • Ik zette 
  • Je zette 
  • Hij zette 
  • We zetten 
  • Jullie zetten 
  • Ze zetten
Simple Past for Weak Verbs of the D-class – Dutch Verb Conjugation Chart
Stem + de (singular) or Stem + den (plural)
SingularPlural
I stem + deIk stem + deWe stem + denWe stem + den
You stem + de (casual)
You stem + de (formal)
Je stem + de 
U stem + de
You stem + den (plural)Jullie stem + den
He stem + de
She stem + de
It stem + de
Hij stem + de 
Ze stem + de 
Het stem + de
They stem + denZe stem + den

You can replace the stem with the stem of a D-class verb. For example, voel from the verb voelen (“to feel”): 

  • Ik voelde 
  • Je voelde 
  • Hij voelde 
  • We voelden 
  • Jullie voelden 
  • Ze voelden

2- Strong verbs

A Strong Dutch Kid

As in the present tense, vowel changes can also occur in the past tense. The Dutch language has a lot of different strong verbs; however, we’ve divided them into groups in this Dutch verb conjugation table.

Groups of strong verbsVerbExample
e in the infinitive gets ie in the past form.Werpen
(“to throw”)
Ik wierp
(“I threw”)
ij in the infinitive gets ee in the past form.Blijven
(“to stay”)
Ik bleef
(“I stayed”)
e in the infinitive gets o in the past form.Vechten
(“to fight”)
Ik vocht 
(“I fought”)
e in the infinitive gets a in the past form.Nemen
(“to take”)
Ik nam
(“I took”)
i in the infinitive gets a in the past form.Bidden
(“to pray”)
Ik bad
(“I prayed”)
a in the infinitive gets ie in the past form.Slapen
(“to sleep”)
Ik sliep 
(“I slept”)
ui in the infinitive gets oo in the past form.Sluiten
(“to close”)
Ik sloot
(“I closed”)
a in the infinitive gets oe in the past form.Dragen 
(“to carry”)
Ik droeg
 (“I carried”)
Ik droeg
 (“I carried”)
 Vergeten  
(“to forget”)
Ik vergat 
(“I forgot”)
a in the infinitive gets i in the past form.Vangen
(“to catch”)
Ik ving 
(“I caught”)
o in the infinitive gets ie in the past form.Lopen
(“to walk”)
Ik liep
(“I walked”)
iez in the infinitive gets oor in the past form. Vriezen 
(“to freeze”)
Ik vroor 
(“I froze”)
i in the infinitive gets o in the past form. Drinken 
(“to drink”)
Ik dronk 
(“I drank”)
ends in -cht in the past form.Denken 
(“to think”)
 Ik dacht 
(“I thought”)

3- Irregular verbs

This Dutch verb conjugation chart shows you the conjugation of the six Dutch irregular verbs in the past tense:

SubjectHebben conjugation Dutch (“to have”)Kunnen conjugation Dutch (“can”)Mogen 
conjugation Dutch (“to be allowed to”)
Willen conjugation Dutch (“to want”)Zijn conjugation Dutch (“to be”)Zullen conjugation Dutch (“shall”)
Ik (“I”)hadkonmochtwildewaszou
Jij, u (“you”)hadkonmochtwildewaszou
Hij, zij, het (“he, she, it”)hadkonmochtwildewaszou
Wij (“we”)haddenkondenmochtenwildenwarenzouden
Jullie (“you”)haddenkondenmochtenwildenwarenzouden
Zij (“they”)haddenkondenmochtenwildenwarenzouden

5. The Present & Past Perfect

1- The past participle

There are different rules for the past participle of weak and strong verbs.

Let’s start with the weak verbs. Here, the following rule applies:

ge- (prefix) + stem + -t/-d (ending)

    →Regarding the prefix, if the verb already starts with a prefix (ge-, be-, er-, her-, ver-, ont-), then you don’t have to add the ge-.
    →Regarding the ending, have a look at the stem of the verb. Does it end with one of these letters: f, ch, s, t, k, p? Then the past participle ends with a -t. If not, then it ends with a -d.
    →Does the stem end in -t or –d? Then no extra -t or -d has to be added.

For example, the verb voelen (“to feel”): voel is the stem and gevoeld is the past participle.

For example, the verb fietsen (“to bike”): fiets is the stem and gefietst is the past participle.

The strong verbs have the following past participle rule:

ge- (prefix) + stem + -en (ending)

For example, the verb lopen (“to walk”): loop is the stem and gelopen is the past participle.

For example, the verb zingen (“to sing”): zing is the stem and gezongen is the past participle.

    →Remember, in strong verbs, the vowel may change! 
    →Remember, if the verb already starts with a prefix (ge-, be-, er-, her-, ver-, ont-), then you don’t have to add the ge-.

2- Present perfect

    →Used to describe something that happened in the past and has already ended. 

To master the Dutch verb conjugation rules for present perfect, you need to know the following things:

  • The present tense of zijn (“to be”) or hebben (“to have”).
  • The past participle of your verb.

So, the present perfect is:

Subject + present tense of zijn/hebben + past participle

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Ik heb gelezen (“I have read”) — Present tense of the Dutch hebben conjugation + past participle of strong verb lezen

Hij is gegroeid (“He has grown”) — Present tense of zijn (notice that in Dutch, we say “He is grown”) + past participle of weak verb groeien

3- Past perfect

    →Used to describe an action or event that happened in the past and ended in the past. 

To be able to use the past perfect, you need to know:

  • The past tense of zijn (“to be”), hebben (“to have”), or worden (“to become”).
  • The past participle of your verb.

So, the past perfect is:

Subject + past tense of zijn/hebben/worden + past participle

Let’s give you some examples:

Hij had gewacht (“He had waited”) — Past tense of the Dutch hebben conjugation + past participle of weak verb wachten

We zijn begonnen (“We have started”) — Past tense of zijn (in Dutch, we say “We are started”) + past participle of strong verb beginnen

Ik werd gebracht (“I was brought”) — Past tense of worden + past participle of weak verb brengen

6. Future Simple

    →Used to talk about something that will happen in the future. 
A Guy daydreaming

Follow this simple rule to make the Dutch simple future:
Present tense zullen (“shall”) + infinitive

SubjectFormSchrijven 
(“to write”)
Kijken 
(“to watch”)
Ik (“I”)zal + infinitiveIk zal schrijvenIk zal kijken
Jij, u (“you”)zult + infinitiveJij zult schrijvenJij zal kijken
Hij, zij, het (“he, she, it”)zal + infinitiveZij zal schrijvenZij zal kijken
Wij (“we”)zullen + infinitiveWij zullen schrijvenWij zullen kijken
Jullie (“you”)zullen + infinitiveJullie zullen schrijvenJullie zullen kijken
Zij (“they”)zullen + infinitiveZij zullen schrijvenZij zullen kijken

7. Future Perfect

    →Used to describe an action that will have been completed before another action in the future.

Knowing the simple future, you can now also make the future perfect:

Future simple of Dutch conjugation hebben or zijn + past participle 

Or…

Zullen (“shall”) + Dutch conjugation of hebben or zijn + past participle

SubjectFormLachen
(“to laugh”)
Gaan
(“to go”)
Ik (“I”)zal + hebben/zijn + past participleIk zal hebben gelachenIk zal zijn gegaan
Jij, u (“you”)zult + hebben/zijn + past participleJij zult hebben gelachenJij zult zijn gegaan
Hij, zij, het (“he, she, it”)zal + hebben/zijn + past participleHij zal hebben gelachenHij zal zijn gegaan
Wij (“we”)zullen +hebben/zijn + past participleWij zullen hebben gelachenWij zullen zijn gegaan
Jullie (“you”)zullen +hebben/zijn + past participleJullie zullen hebben gelachenJullie zullen zijn gegaan
Zij (“they”)zullen +hebben/zijn + past participleZij zullen hebben gelachenZij zullen zijn gegaan

8. Conditional

    →Used in a “what if” scenario; used to speculate about something.

Follow the following rule to make the Dutch conditional tense:

Zouden (“would”) + infinitive

SubjectFormRennen (“to run”)
Ik (“I”)zou + infinitiveIk zou rennen
Jij, u (“you”)zou + infinitiveJij zou rennen
Hij, zij, het (“he, she, it”)zou + infinitiveHij zou rennen
Wij (“we”)zouden + infinitiveWij zouden rennen
Jullie (“you”)zouden + infinitiveJullie zouden rennen
Zij (“they”)zouden + infinitiveZij zouden rennen

1- Dutch conditional perfect 

    →Used to describe a future hypothetical situation in the past.

The conjugation of the Dutch conditional perfect is very similar to the conjugation of the future perfect tense. The following rule is used to form the conditional perfect:

Zouden (past tense of zullen [“shall”]) + Dutch conjugation of hebben/zijn + past participle

SubjectFormSchreeuwen
(“to scream”)
Verdronken (“to drown”)
Ik (“I”)zou + hebben/zijn + infinitiveIk zou hebben geschreeuwdIk zou zijn verdronken
Jij, u (“you”)zou + hebben/zijn + infinitiveJij zou hebben geschreeuwdU zou zijn verdronken
Hij, zij, het (“he, she, it”)zou + hebben/zijn + infinitiveZij zou hebben geschreeuwdHij zou zijn verdronken
Wij (“we”)zouden + hebben/zijn + infinitiveWij zouden hebben geschreeuwdWij zouden zijn verdronken
Jullie (“you”)zouden + hebben/zijn + infinitiveJullie zouden hebben geschreeuwdJullie zouden zijn verdronken
Zij (“they”)zouden + hebben/zijn + infinitiveZij zouden hebben geschreeuwdZij zouden zijn verdronken
A Woman Studying on the Bus

9. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned all about the Dutch verb conjugations, from the five different types of Dutch verbs to the eight Dutch tenses. You now know how to deal with all of them.

Are you ready to rumble and start using the Dutch verb conjugation in your daily life? Or would you like to get some more help?

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com as it has a lot to offer, such as the multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other useful free resources. Start practicing Dutch conjugations with DutchPod101’s tools, and learn new words and verbs while you’re at it. Practice is key! 

Would you like some one-on-one coaching? Remember that DutchPod101 also has the MyTeacher Premium PLUS service. Here, you can practice Dutch verb conjugation with your own private teacher and really master the Dutch tenses. Through personalized feedback and pronunciation advice, you can master the Dutch language in no time.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Dutch

Learn Dutch Verb Conjugation & 100 Common Dutch Verbs

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Have you read DutchPod101’s articles on 100 Nouns, 100 Adjectives, and Pronouns? By reading this series of articles, you’ll slowly but surely learn more and more about the Dutch language. Learning a language is like completing a big puzzle, piece by piece. Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns are of course crucial pieces, but how can you use them without knowing some common Dutch verbs? 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to speak Dutch using the words that you just learned, but you were incapable of expressing yourself because you didn’t remember a verb? Verbs are a vital part of speech for connecting words. By learning some key Dutch verbs, you’ll expand your capacity to build phrases, creating a good basis for your daily interactions in Dutch. 

Don’t despair, the help of DutchPod101 is near! We present to you this article on the top 100 most common Dutch verbs. To help you even more, we’ll start by giving you some useful tips to help you understand and master Dutch verbs. 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Mastering Dutch Language Verbs
  2. The 100 Most Useful Verbs in Dutch
  3. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Better Dutch

1. Mastering Dutch Language Verbs

Top Verbs

Are you a bit intimidated by Dutch verbs and grammar? Are you unsure of how to start and where to start? Don’t worry. With some easy tips and tricks, we’ll help you master Dutch verbs.

A. How can you recognize a Dutch verb? 

Man Studying Dutch Verbs

So, let’s start at the beginning: What is a verb? Verbs are action words. In sentences, these action words describe what the subject is doing. Therefore, verbs, together with nouns, are a crucial part of a sentence. Even the most simple sentences have a verb! For example: 

  • Ik ben Tom.

“I am Tom.”

A verb can also be a sentence on its own: 

  • Zing! 

“Sing!”

or 

  • Kom! 

“Come!”

So how can you recognize verbs? You can recognize them by looking for the part of the sentence that explains the action taking place. This can either be something that someone is doing, such as in the words rennen (“to run”), eten (“to eat”), and gaan (“to go”), or something that happens, such as in the words sneeuwen (“to snow”) or waaien (“to blow”). 

However, there also exist verbs that don’t include such a clear action. For example, these can be verbs that describe an opinion, an emotion, a possession, or a state of being: voelen (“to feel”), zijn (“to be”), hebben (“to have”), or houden van (“to love”).

Another way to recognize a verb is to find its location compared to the subject. In sentences, verbs almost always come after a noun or pronoun (the subject): 

  • Hij denkt aan school.

“He thinks about school.”

B. What is the Dutch infinitive?

What is the entire verb (the infinitive) in Dutch? Well, Dutch infinitive verbs 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 werken.

“I can work.”

C. The Dutch verb tenses

So, how many tenses are there in Dutch?

Dutch has two main tenses: the present and the past. However, there exist some “semi-tenses” that appear when these two tenses (present or past) interact with a mood (factual or hypothetical) or an aspect (temporary or continuing). Through these combinations, six other tenses are created, giving Dutch a total of eight basic tenses:

The eight tenses of the verb praten (“to talk”)
1. Onvoltooid tegenwoordige tijd (“Present Simple”)Ik praat“I talk”
2. Onvoltooid verleden tijd (“Past Simple”)Ik praatte“I talked”
3. Voltooid tegenwoordige tijd (“Present Perfect”)Ik heb gepraat“I have talked”
4. Voltooid verleden tijd (“Past Perfect”)Ik had gepraat“I had talked”
5. Onvoltooid tegenwoordige toekomende tijd (“Future Simple”)Ik zal praten“I will talk”
6. Voltooid tegenwoordige toekomende tijd (“Future Perfect”)Ik zal hebben gepraat“I will have talked”
7. Onvoltooid verleden toekomende tijd (“Conditional”)Ik zou praten“I would talk”
8. Voltooid verleden toekomende tijd (“Conditional Perfect”)Ik zou hebben gepraat“I would have talked”

Is this Dutch conjugation table a bit intimidating? Praten is one of the Dutch regular verbs—it can get more complicated for irregular verbs. Don’t worry, let’s take it step by step. It gets easier when you start learning the logic and patterns of Dutch grammar and verbs.

D. How to learn Dutch verbs effectively

So let’s take a step back and first give you an idea of the most common Dutch verbs. Don’t worry yet about Dutch verb conjugation, the rules and the exceptions. Pass through this Dutch verbs list of 100 must-know verbs and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How does the infinitive end?
  • How does it end now that it’s conjugated with a pronoun?
  • Is it like one of the Dutch regular verbs, or could it be irregular?

To keep it easy, we’ll stick to the Tegenwoordige tijd (“Present Simple”) for all of the examples in this article.

Last but not least, look for the basic and most useful Dutch verbs, like the verb “to have” in Dutch (hebben), or “to be” (zijn). These are the first verbs you should know when you start to learn Dutch.

2. The 100 Most Useful Verbs in Dutch

More Essential Verbs

Let’s start diving into the 100 most useful Dutch verbs. To create a logical Dutch verb list, we’ve listed the verbs in alphabetical order (based on the Dutch spelling). This way, you can easily find the verb you’re looking for.

1.

Accepteren
“To accept”
Ik accepteer het aanbod.
“I accept the offer.”

2.

Annuleren
“To cancel”
Wij annuleren onze vakantie.
“We cancel our holiday.”

3.

(Be)antwoorden
“To answer”
Ik antwoord je bericht nu.
“I answer your message now.”

4.

Arriveren
“To arrive”
De trein arriveert.
“The train arrives.”

5.

Beginnen
“To start”
Hij begint vandaag met zijn nieuwe werk.
“He starts today with his new work.”

6.

Couple Understanding Each Other
Begrijpen
“To understand”
Zij begrijpt haar vriendje.
“She understands her boyfriend.”

7.

Bijten
“To bite”
De hond bijt de kat.
“The dog bites the cat.”

8.

Blijven
“To stay”
Ik blijf vandaag thuis.
“I stay at home today.”

9.

Bouwen
“To build”
De bouwvakkers bouwen mijn huis.
“The builders build my home.”

10.

Brengen
“To bring”
De bezorger brengt ons onze pizza.
“The delivery driver brings us our pizza.”

11.

Denken
“To think”
Ik denk aan jou.
“I think about you.”

12.

Doen
“To do”
De man doet huishoudelijk werk.
“The man does housework.”

13.

Douchen
“To shower”
Het kind doucht niet graag.
“The child doesn’t like to shower.”

14.

Draaien
“To turn”
Ik draai me om.
“I turn around.”

15.

Eten
“To eat”
Wij eten altijd om 6 uur ‘s avonds.
“We always eat at six o’clock in the evening.”

16.

Foto’s maken
“To take pictures”
De jongen maakt foto’s van bands.
“The boy takes pictures of bands.”

17.

Gaan
“To go”
Wij gaan morgen op vakantie.
“We go on holiday tomorrow.”

18.

Gebruiken
“To use”
Ik gebruik voor mijn werk de nieuwste gadgets.
“I use the newest gadgets for my work.”

19.

Geloven
“To believe”
Zij gelooft in mij.
“She believes in me.”

20.

Geven
“To give”
Hij geeft me altijd cadeautjes voor mijn verjaardag.
“He always gives me presents for my birthday.”

21.

Halen
“To get”
De vrouw haalt brood bij de bakker.
“The woman gets bread at the bakery.”

22.

Hangen
“To hang”
De klok hangt aan de muur.
“The clock hangs on the wall.”

23.

Hebben
“To have”
De vrouw heeft te veel spullen in haar handen.
“The woman has too many things in her hands.”
Here it is, the verb “to have” in Dutch. Learn this to improve your basic speaking skills!

24.

Helpen
“To help”
We helpen het oude vrouwtje met oversteken.
“We help the old lady with crossing the road.”

25.

Herinneren
“To remember”
Ik herinner me het als de dag van gisteren.
“I remember it as if it were yesterday.”

26.

Heten
“To be called”
Hij heet Mathias.
“He is called Mathias.”

27.

Horen
“To hear”
We horen heel veel roddels over jou.
“We hear a lot of gossip about you.”

28.

Woman Holding Baby
Vasthouden
“To hold”
Het meisje houdt een baby vast.
“The girl is holding a baby.”
Vasthouden is one of the Dutch separable verbs. Let’s see if you can find more of them!

29.

Houden van
“To love”
Hij houdt van zijn werk.
“He loves his work.”

30.

Kennen
“To know”
Zij kennen hun buren al sinds jaren.
“They’ve known their neighbors for many years.”

31.

Kijken naar
“To watch”
Wij kijken naar het programma op tv.
“We watch the show on the television.”

32.

Klimmen
“To climb”
Het jongetje klimt in de boom.
“The boy climbs the tree.”

33.

Koken
“To cook”
Hij kookt erg goed.
“He cooks very well.”

34.

Komen
“To come”
We komen vandaag niet naar huis.
“We are not coming home today.”

35.

Kopen
“To buy”
Ik koop mijn kleding altijd online.
“I always buy my clothes online.”

36.

Kunnen
“Can”
Wij kunnen goed samenwerken.
“We can work together very well.”

37.

Kwetsen
“To hurt”
Ik kwets je niet graag.
“I don’t like to hurt you.”

38.

Lachen
“To laugh”Lachen
“To laugh”
Wij lachen om de grapjes van onze vader.
“We laugh at our father’s jokes.”

39.

Laten
“To let”
Wij laten onze kinderen hun eigen beslissingen maken.
“We let our kids make their own choices.”

40.

Leren
“To learn”
Ik leer Nederlands.
“I learn Dutch.”

41.

Lesgeven
“To teach”
Ik geef Nederlandse les.
“I teach Dutch.”
Yes! Lesgeven is another one of the Dutch separable verbs!

42.

Leven
“To live”
Hij leeft in alle luxe in Amsterdam.
“He lives in luxury in Amsterdam.”

43.

Lezen
“To read”
Wij lezen veel boeken op vakantie.
“We read a lot of books on holiday.”

44.

Liggen
“To lie”
De baby ligt in zijn ledikant.
“The baby lies in his crib.”

45.

Lopen
“To walk”
Wij lopen samen door de stad.
“We walk together through the city.”

46.

Luisteren (naar)
“To listen to”
Ik luister naar de muziek van de Beatles.
“I listen to the music of the Beatles.”

47.

Maken
“To make”
Hij maakt kunst.
“He makes art.”

48.

Moeten
“To have to”
Je moet naar me luisteren.
“You have to listen to me.”

49.

Mogen
“To be allowed to”
Mijn zoon mag in de avond TV kijken.
“My son is allowed to watch television in the evening.”

50.

Nemen
“To take”
Ik neem altijd zonnebrandcrème mee naar het strand.
“I always take sunscreen to the beach.”

51.

Nodig hebben
“To need”
Je hebt me niet nodig.
“You don’t need me.”

52.

Ontvangen
“To receive”
We ontvangen vandaag het pakketje.
“We receive the package today.”

53.

Openen
“To open”
Hij opent de brief.
“He opens the letter.”

54.

Opmerken
“To notice”
Zij merkt me niet op.
“She doesn’t notice me.”

55.

Plannen
“To plan”
Ik plan de bruiloft van mijn zus.
“I plan the wedding of my sister.”

53.

Praten
“To talk”
Wij praten over onze gevoelens.
“We talk about our feelings.”

57.

Proberen
“To try”
Mijn broer probeert zich te concentreren.
“My brother tries to concentrate.”

58.

Running in Forest
Rennen
“To run”
De jongen rent door het bos.
“The boy runs through the forest.”

59.

Rijden
“To drive”
We rijden in de auto.
“We drive the car.”

60.

Rusten
“To rest”
Mijn oma rust op bed.
“My grandmother rests in bed.”

61.

Schrijven
“To write”
Jij schrijft hem een brief.
“You write him a letter.”

62.

Slapen
“To sleep”
Ik slaap 8 uur per dag.
“I sleep eight hours a day.”

63.

Spelen
“To play”
De kinderen spelen samen.
“The kids play together.”

64.

Spreken
“To speak”
De baas spreekt met zijn werknemers.
“The boss speaks with his employees.”

65.

Springen
“To jump”
De kat spring op de kast.
“The cat jumps on the cupboard.”

66.

Staan
“To stand”
Ik sta naast mijn broer.
“I stand next to my brother.”

67.

Studeren
“To study”
Wij studeren voor ons examen.
“We study for our exam.”

68.

Sturen
“To send”
Het bedrijf stuurt me de rekening per post.
“The company sends me the bill by mail.”

69.

Telefoneren
“To call”
Ik telefoneer elke dag met mijn zus.
“I call my sister everyday.”

70.

Tekenen
“To draw”
Het jongetje tekent een draak.
“The boy draws a dragon.”

71.

Terugkeren
“To return”
De soldaat keert terug naar huis.
“The soldier returns home.”
Terugkeren is another one of the Dutch separable verbs.

72.

Tillen
“To carry”
De moeder tilt haar zoon.
“The mother carries her son.”

73.

Trekken
“To pull”
Haar vriendin trekt aan haar jas.
“Her friend pulls her jacket.”

74.

Uitleggen
“To explain”
De lerares legt de Nederlandse grammatica en werkwoorden uit.
“The teacher explains the Dutch grammar and verbs.”
Bingo! The verb uitleggen is also one of the Dutch separable verbs.

75.

Vallen
“To fall”
Ik val van de trap.
“I fall down the stairs.”

76.

Vangen
“To catch”
De rugbyspeler vangt de bal.
“The rugby player catches the ball.”

77.

Voelen
“To feel”
Ik voel me niet lekker.
“I don’t feel well.”

78.

Vergeten
“To forget”
Hij vergeet zijn huiswerk.
“He forgets his homework.”

79.

Verlaten
“To leave”
De vrouw verlaat haar man.
“The woman leaves her husband.”

80.

Verslaan
“To beat”
Ik versla je gemakkelijk in dit spel.
“I beat you easily in this game.”

81.

Vertellen
“To tell”
Wij vertellen je de waarheid.
“We tell you the truth.”

82.

Verwijzen
“To refer”
De dokter verwijst haar naar een specialist.
“The doctor refers her to a specialist.”

83.

Verzamelen
“To collect”
De kinderen verzamelen stickers.
“The kids collect stickers.”

84.

Vinden
“To find”
Ik vind mijn sleutels in de la.
“I find my keys in the drawer.”

85.

Vragen
“To ask”
Jij vraagt me uit.
“You ask me out.”

86.

Cute Puppy Waiting for owner
Wachten op
“To wait for”
De hond wacht thuis op zijn baasje.
“The dog waits for his owner at home.”

87.

Wakker worden
“To wake up”
Ik word wakker met een lach.
“I wake up smiling.”

88.

Wassen
“To wash”
Hij wast zijn handen voor het avondeten.
“He washes his hands before dinner.”

89.

Wensen
“To wish”
Ik wens je een leuke verjaardag.
“I wish you a nice birthday.”

90.

Werken
“To work”
Wij werken te veel.
“We work too much.”

91.

Weten
“To know”
Mijn vader weet niets van technologie.
“My father knows nothing about technology.”

92.

Willen
“To want”
Het stel wilt trouwen.
“The couple wants to get married.”

93.

Wonen
“To live”
Ik woon in Nederland.
“I live in the Netherlands.”

94.

Worden
“To become”
Mijn vriendin wordt binnenkort zwanger.
“My girlfriend will become pregnant soon.”

95.

Zeggen
“To say”
Hij zegt dat hij van haar houdt.
“He says that he loves her.”

96.

Zien
“To see”
Ik zie je op de foto.
“I see you in the picture.”

97.

Zijn
“To be”
Ik ben verdrietig.
“I am sad.”
As you can see, the verb “to be” in Dutch isn’t one of the Dutch regular verbs, it’s irregular. This is one of the first verbs you should learn, as it’s one of the most basic ones! Find here the Dutch verb conjugation of the verb zijn.

98.

Zingen
“To sing”
Wij zingen altijd tijdens het koken.
“We always sing while cooking.”

99.

Zitten
“To sit”
Jij zit op de bank.
“You sit on the couch.”

100.

Zoeken
“To look for”
Zij zoeken hun hond.
“They look for their dog.”
    → Do you need help with Dutch verb conjugation? Use an online verb conjugator, or check out DutchPod101’s upcoming article on how to conjugate Dutch verbs!

3. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn Better Dutch

Negative Verbs

In this guide, you’ve learned all about Dutch verbs: recognizing Dutch verbs, understanding the infinitives, and even having a little peek into the different Dutch tenses. And as the icing on the cake, this guide offered you a wide selection of the 100 must-know Dutch verbs, with some useful examples to get familiar with them.

Are you ready to start using your new Dutch verbs vocabulary in your daily conversations with the Dutch? Or do you need some more help?


DutchPod101 has much more to offer, such as the multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources. Boost your Dutch with these easy and useful DutchPod101 tools.

Want more? DutchPod101 also has the MyTeacher premium service. Let your own private teacher help you practice Dutch grammar, verbs, and Dutch verb conjugation, through personalized exercises, fun assignments, and useful recorded audio samples. Improve your Dutch quickly with this personal one-on-one coaching.

Happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Dutch

Dutch Word Order Guide: Master the Dutch Sentence Structure

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Do you ever struggle with the formulation of Dutch sentences? You have all the tools you need to form a sentence: You know what you want to say, and you know the words to use. However, at the moment of truth, you just can’t find a way to fit them all together.

This can be very frustrating. You’ve made some great progress learning Dutch vocabulary. You’re also starting to understand Dutch verbs and tenses more and more. But in Dutch grammar, word order is essential in putting this knowledge into practice. So, how do you form a Dutch sentence?

Help is near. Master this skill with this Dutch word order guide from DutchPod101.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Subject + Verb
  2. Adding an Object
  3. Adding a Complement
  4. Adding a Verb at the End of a Sentence
  5. Another Conjugation: The Imperative
  6. Making Questions
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Subject + Verb

Improve Pronunciation

In this guide, we’ll mostly talk about the most common type of sentence: declaratives. You make a declarative sentence when you make a statement. It’s not used to give orders or to ask questions (however, we will discuss interrogative sentences later on in this guide). 

Let’s start with the most basic sentence in Dutch, consisting of only a subject and a verb:

Subject + Verb

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

Contrary to languages like Spanish or Italian, the subject is almost never dropped in Dutch. A Dutch sentence structure is not complete without the subject.

2. Adding an Object

Improve Listening

The (direct) object in Dutch is called lijdend voorwerp, which translates to “leading entity/object.” In Dutch language word order, it normally comes right after the verb.

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 object can be direct or indirect. In the above examples, the object is direct. However, you can also add an indirect object after the direct object.

Subject + Verb + Direct object + Indirect object 

  • Ik praat met mijn vader over ons huis. (“I talk to my father about our home.”)
  • De jongen verft de deur met verf. (“The boy paints the door with paint.”)

A direct object is a noun or pronoun that’s directly affected by the actions of the subject. An indirect object is a person or thing that’s involved in the actions in some way.

3. Adding a Complement

Okay, let’s make it a bit more complicated. Let’s advance and add a complement to the sentence. A complement can be, for example, an adjective or an adverb.

Your Brain Notices That It’s Getting More Difficult

1- Adding Adjectives

Adjectives describe nouns, giving extra information about them. They provide details and make the noun more interesting. So where should you place them in a sentence?

Most Dutch adjectives go BEFORE the noun they describe.

  • Mijn lieve vader (“My sweet father”)
  • De gele deur (“The yellow door”)

So when we add the adjective to the sentence, it looks like this:

Subject + Verb + Adjective + Direct object + Adjective + Indirect object 

  • Ik praat met mijn lieve vader over ons mooie huis. (“I talk to my sweet father about our beautiful home.”)
  • De jongen verft de gele deur met zwarte verf. (“The boy paints the yellow door with black paint.”)

As you can see, the adjectives are placed right before the nouns they describe. 

2- Adding Adverbs

Adverbs modify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, or make their meaning more precise. Thus, they describe verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

In Dutch word order, adverbs that modify a verb usually come AFTER that verb:

Subject + Verb + Adverb

  • Ik praat veel. (“I talk a lot.”)

If the adverb influences another adverb, the sentence would be: 

Subject + Verb + Adverb + Adverb

  • Ik praat altijd veel. (“I always talk a lot.”)

And if the adverb modifies an adjective, the Dutch sentence structure would be:

Subject + Verb + Adverb + Adjective + Direct object

  • Ik praat met mijn zeer lieve vader. (“I talk to my very sweet father.”)

So, as you can see, if the adverb modifies an adverb or adjective, it usually comes AFTER the verb and BEFORE the adverb or adjective.


There are different kinds of adverbs, from adverbs describing time, frequency, place, manner, or degree, to those that help you connect your thoughts

Do you want to use more than one adverb in a sentence? Then the following Dutch adverb placement is common:

Time-Manner-Place

Let’s have a look at these three specific types of adverbs, and place them in the sentences we’ve been using:

  • Ik praat vandaag rustig in de tuin. (“I talk today quietly in the garden.”)
  • De jongen verft al uren aandachtig thuis. (“The boy has been painting at home carefully for hours.”)

Let’s make it even more complicated:

Subject + Verb + Adverb of time + Adverb of manner + Adverb of place + Adjective + Direct object + Adjective + Indirect object 

  • Ik praat vandaag rustig in de tuin met mijn lieve vader over ons mooie huis. (“I talk today quietly in the garden with my dear father about our beautiful house.”)
  • De jongen verft al uren aandachtig thuis de gele deur met zwarte verf. (“The boy has been carefully painting the yellow door with black paint for hours at home.”)
    → Do you see how the Dutch sentence order differs from that in English? Have a look at the previous examples and compare the different structures. This will make a great addition to your Dutch word order exercises!

However, it’s also possible to place the time and place adverbs at the beginning of the sentence. This is generally done to put emphasis on these adverbs:

  • Vandaag praat ik rustig in de tuin met mijn lieve vader over ons mooie huis. (“Today, I talk today quietly in the garden with my dear father about our beautiful house.”)
  • In het huis verft de jongen al uren aandachtig de gele deur met zwarte verf. (“In the house, the boy has been painting the yellow door carefully with black paint for hours.”)

Did you notice that, in this case, the verb comes BEFORE the subject? Be sure to make a note of this difference for your future reference. 

Okay, these sentences are getting a bit crazy with all the adverbs, adjectives, and objects. Luckily, sentences don’t have to be this complicated. You can just use a subject, verb, object, and maybe one adjective or adverb to get into more detail. It’s better to keep it simple when you start learning a language.

4. Adding a Verb at the End of a Sentence

A Girl Studying and Laughing

Regarding the conjugation of verbs, Dutch is quite a strange language. Did you know it’s possible to add a verb at the end of a sentence? You can’t do this with all Dutch conjugations, but in the present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect, verbs may be added to the end of a sentence.

Let’s have a look at the eight Dutch tenses:

The eight tenses of the regular verb praten (“to talk”)
1. Onvoltooid tegenwoordige tijd (“Present Simple”)Describes something that is happening nowIk praat“I talk”
2. Onvoltooid verleden tijd (“Past Simple”)Describes a situation that happened in the pastIk praatte“I talked”
3. Voltooid tegenwoordige tijd (“Present Perfect”)Describes something that happened in the past and has already endedIk heb gepraat“I have talked”
4. Voltooid verleden tijd (“Past Perfect”)Describes an action or event that happened in the past and ended in the pastIk had gepraat“I had talked”
5. Onvoltooid tegenwoordige toekomende tijd (“Future Simple”)Talks about something that will happen in the futureIk zal praten“I will talk”
6. Voltooid tegenwoordige toekomende tijd (“Future Perfect”)Describes an action that will have been completed before another action in the futureIk zal hebben gepraat“I will have talked”
7. Onvoltooid verleden toekomende tijd (“Conditional”)Used in a “what if” scenario, used to speculate about somethingIk zou praten“I would talk”
8. Voltooid verleden toekomende tijd (“Conditional Perfect”)Describes a future hypothetical situation in the pastIk zou hebben gepraat“I would have talked”

So how does it work with the other components of the Dutch sentence structure?

Here’s an example for all six of the 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.”)

As you can see, the Dutch sentence structure for these tenses will be:

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

Do you think this Dutch sentence word order is very complicated? Then make sentences with less components. For example:

  • De jongen heeft urenlang de deur geverfd. (“The boy has painted the door for hours.”)
  • Ik zou rustig in de tuin met mijn vader hebben gepraat. (“I would have talked quietly with my father in the garden.”) 
    → Try to think of easy sentences like this that you can use. 
    → Do you want to make a negative sentence that ends with a verb? The word niet (“not”) comes AFTER the working verb.

5. Another Conjugation: The Imperative

The imperative (in Dutch: de gebiedende wijs) is used for commands, orders, and suggestions. Similar to English, there’s no subject in this conjugation, and the sentences usually start with the verb.

A Woman Ordering Her Colleague To Do Something

For example:

  • Verf de deur groen. (“Paint the door green.”)
  • Praat rustig met je vader. (“Talk quietly with your father.”) 

Let’s have a look at the imperative word order in Dutch. These examples show two different word orders:

Verb + Direct object + Adverb

Or

Verb + Adverb + Direct object

These different word orders are caused by the fact that the first adverb is connected to the object (de deur, meaning “the door”), while the second adverb is related to the verb (praten, meaning “to talk”).

As you can notice, these sentences are often shorter than descriptive sentences. But of course, you can also add several adverbs, adjectives, or an indirect object.

Verb + Adverb + (Adjective) + Direct object + (Adverb) + (Indirect object)

For example:

  • Verf nu die lelijke deur groen. (“Now paint this ugly door green.”)
  • Praat rustig met je vader door de telefoon. (“Talk quietly with your father on the phone.”) 
  • In the imperative mode, the word niet (“not”) also comes AFTER the verb when making negative sentences.

6. Making Questions

To make a question, turn the verb and subject of a statement around. 

Verb + Subject + Adverb + (Adjective) + Direct object + (Adjective) + (Indirect object)

For example: 

  • Verf je morgen die lelijke deur groen? (“Will you paint that ugly door green tomorrow?”)
  • Praat hij graag met zijn vader door de telefoon? (“Does he like to talk to his father on the phone?”) 
    → In questions, the word niet (“not”) comes AFTER the subject and verb. For example: Praat hij niet graag met zijn vader? (“Doesn’t he like to talk to his father?”)
    → Try to make your own questions as part of your Dutch word order exercises. What Dutch questions can you think of?
Different Question Words in English

Another way to make questions is through question words:

  • Wie (“Who”): Wie verft de deur? (“Who paints the door?”)
  • Waar (“Where”): Waar verf je de deur? (“Where do you paint the door?”)
  • Wanneer (“When”): Wanneer verf je de deur? (“When do you paint the door?”)
  • Hoe (“How”): Hoe verf je de deur? (“How do you paint the door?”)
  • Waarom (“Why”): Waarom verf je de deur? (“Why do you paint the door?”)
  • Wat (“What”): Wat doe je met de deur? (“What do you do with the door?”)

As you can see, the Dutch word order with question words is:

Query word Verb + Subject + Direct object

The wie (“who”) question word is an exception, as there’s no subject mentioned.

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned the ins and outs of the word order in Dutch sentences. You now know all about the Dutch sentence structure.

Do you feel ready to put all of this knowledge into practice? Or would you like to do more Dutch word order exercises?

Make sure to discover everything that DutchPod101.com has to offer, such as the multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other useful free resources. Learn some new words and put them into practice to form your own Dutch sentences.

Would you like a private teacher? DutchPod101 also has the MyTeacher Premium PLUS service. Here, you can get private one-on-one classes about Dutch word order and other crucial language features, with personalized feedback, interactive assignments, and professional advice. 

Let’s master the Dutch language!

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

Telling Time in Dutch – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Dutch is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Dutch perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. DutchPod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Dutch, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Dutch
  2. How to Tell the Time in Dutch
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Dutch

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Dutch will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Dutch terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Dutch? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Dutch’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At DutchPod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Dutch time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – ochtend

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Dutch time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – avond

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Dutch snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Dutch studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – dag

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – nachtelijk

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – uur

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minuut

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Dutch. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – uur

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.” In Dutch, this is essentially the same as just saying “hour.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Dutch time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – een half uur na

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – ‘sochtends

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – ‘s avonds

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Hoe laat is het nu?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – één uur

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Netherlands, try asking our online community about lunch time in Dutch.

13- Two o’clock – twee uur

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – drie uur

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – vier uur

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – vijf uur

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – zes uur

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – zeven uur

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – acht uur

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – negen uur

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Netherlands and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – tien uur

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – elf uur

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – twaalf uur

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Dutch

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Netherlands is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Dutch? 

The first step to saying the time in Dutch is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Dutch, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Dutch is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Dutch, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Dutch. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Dutch, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Dutch time daily. Start by replacing English with Dutch whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Dutch and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Dutch. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at DutchPod101!

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