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Useful Dutch Classroom Phrases and Vocabulary

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

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

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

Happy learning (or teaching)!

Students Paying Attention and Taking Notes in a Classroom

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

1. School Vocabulary

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

1- Educational Infrastructures

GebouwBuilding
SchoolpleinSchoolyard
GangHallway
KlaslokaalClassroom
KantineCanteen
SecretariaatSecretariat
LerarenkamerTeachers’ roo
BibliotheekLibrary
GymzaalGym
CollegezaalLecture hall

2- Subjects

A Girl in Front of a Whiteboard with a Mathematical Calculation

WiskundeMath
BiologieBiology
ScheikundeChemistry
InformaticaComputing
NatuurkundePhysics
KunstArt
TekenenDrawing
NederlandsDutch
FransFrench
EngelsEnglish
DuitsGerman
SpaansSpanish
FilosofiePhilosophy
LatijnsLatin
GrieksGreek
EconomieEconomy
MaatschappijleerSocial studies
GeschiedenisHistory
AardrijkskundeGeography
MuziekMusic
Lichamelijke opvoedingPhysical education (PE)

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

2- School Supplies

SchriftNotebook
MapBinder
Vel papierSheet of paper
BoekBook
PenPen
PotloodPencil
GumEraser
PuntenslijperPencil sharpener
EtuiPen case
RugzakBackpack
RekenmachineCalculator
SchaarScissors
LiniaalRuler


2. Teacher’s Phrases

A Teacher in Front of the Class

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

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

1- Instructions

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

2- Questions

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

3- Discipline

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


3. Student’s Phrases

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

1- Addressing Teachers

In primary school, school teachers are addressed as :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- I have a question

A Student in a Classroom Looking Troubled

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

3- I have a Problem

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


4. Tests Instructions

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

1- Basic Vocabulary

Examen
(“Exam”)
In the classroom vocabulary in Dutch, there exist different words to refer to a “test”: the word examen is mostly used at university, proefwerk at high school and toets at primary school.
Mondeling examen
(“Oral exam”)
Diploma
(“Degree”)
Surveillant
(“Test supervisor”)
Formulier
(“Form”)
Opstel
(“Essay”)
Instructies
(“Instructions”)

2- Instructions

Students Taking an Exam

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

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

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

Dutch Animal Names: The Ultimate List for Language Learners

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

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

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

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

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

Several Different Pet Animals

Learn some Dutch animal names with DutchPod101!

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

1. Pets

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

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

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

Kat“Cat”
Dutch expression: Een kat in de zak kopen

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

Hond“Dog”
Dutch expression: De hond in de pot vinden

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

Konijn“Rabbit”

Muis“Mouse”
Dutch expression: Als de kat van huis is, dansen de muizen op tafel

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

Hamster“Hamster”
Dutch expression: Hamsteren 

Literally: “To hamster”
Meaning: To hoard

Rat“Rat”

Cavia“Guinea pig”

Goudvis“Goldfish”

Kanarie“Canary”

A Kitten Mewling

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

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

2. Farm Animals

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

Here are the names of common farm animals in Dutch:

Koe“Cow”
Dutch expression: Dat is een waarheid als een koe.

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

Varken“Pig”
Dutch expression: Dat slaat als een tang op een varken.

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

Schaap“Sheep”
Dutch expression: Als één schaap over de dam is, volgen er meer.

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

Geit“Goat”

Paard“Horse”

Ezel“Donkey”
Dutch expression: Zo koppig als een ezel

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

Two Donkeys

Are you as stubborn as a donkey?

Kip“Chicken”

Haan“Rooster”

3. Wild Animals

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

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

Beer“Bear”

Wolf“Wolf”

Hert“Deer”

Vos“Fox”
Dutch expression: Een vos verliest wel zijn haren maar niet zijn streken.

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

Das“Badger”

Leeuw“Lion”

Tijger“Tiger”

Panter“Panther”

Olifant“Elephant”
Dutch expression: Als een olifant in de porseleinkast

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

Giraf“Giraffe”

Aap“Monkey”
Dutch expression: Nu komt de aap uit de mouw.

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

Nijlpaard“Hippopotamus”

Pinguïn “Penguin”

IJsbeer“Polar bear”
Dutch expression: IJsberen

Literally: “To polar bear”
Meaning: To pace

A Polar Bear in the Snow

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

4. Sea Animals

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

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

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

Vis“Fish”
Dutch expression: Als een vis op het droge

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

Haai“Shark”
Dutch expression: Naar de haaien gaan 

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

Dolfijn“Dolphin”
Zeehond“Seal”
Walvis“Whale”
Zeeleeuw“Sealion”
Kwal“Jellyfish”
Octopus“Octopus”
Kreeft“Lobster”
Zeester“Starfish”
Mossel“Mussel”

Mussels

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


5. Bugs and Insects

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

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

Bij“Bee”

Wesp“Wasp”

Mug“Mosquito”
Dutch expression: Van een mug een olifant maken 

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

Vlieg“Fly”

Spin“Spider”

Sprinkhaan“Grasshopper”

Vlinder“Butterfly”
Dutch expression: Vlinders in je buik hebben 

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

Mier“Ant”
Mot“Moth”
Slak“Snail”
Worm“Worm”
Kever“Beetle”
Lieveheersbeestje“Ladybird” / “Ladybug”

Two Butterflies against a White Background

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

6. Birds

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

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

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

Duif“Pigeon”
Zeemeeuw“Seagull”
Kraai“Crow”
Adelaar“Eagle”
Uil“Owl”
Ekster“Magpie”
Mus“Sparrow”

Zwaluw“Swallow”
Dutch expression: Een zwaluw maakt de lente niet.

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

Pauw“Peacock”
Dutch expression: Trots als een pauw

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

Gans“Goose”

Zwaan“Swan”

Eend“Duck”

A Duck with Its Ducklings

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

7. Reptiles & Amphibians

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

Kikker“Frog”

Pad“Toad”

Slang“Snake”

Krokodil“Crocodile”
Dutch expression: Krokodillentranen huilen

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

A Crocodile

Have you ever seen a crocodile tear?

Hagedis“Lizard”
Kameleon“Chameleon”
Schildpad“Turtle”
Zeeschildpad“Sea turtle”

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

8. Animal Body Parts

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

Staart“Tail”
Vleugel“Wing”
Haar“Hair”
Vacht“Fur”
Veer“Feather”
Tand“Tooth”
Hoektand“Fang”
Klauw“Claw”
Hoorn“Horn”
Hoef“Hoof”
Bek“Mouth”
Snavel“Beak”
Vin“Fin”
Tentakel“Tentacle”
Maan“Mane”
Slurf“Trunk”
Antenne“Antenna”
Poot“Leg”
Schub“Scale”

9. Animal Verbs

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

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


10. Animal Sounds in Dutch

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

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

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

A Friendly Dog Looking at the Camera

How does barking sound in Dutch? Woef!

Miauw(Cat)
Woef(Dog)
Boe(Cow)
Bêêê(Sheep)
Roekoe(Pigeon)
Kukeleku(Rooster)
Kwak(Duck)
Grrr(Growling sound)
Oe oe(Owl)
Kwaak(Frog)
Knor knor(Pig)

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

11. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com, as we have plenty of free resources to help you practice your grammar and many useful vocabulary lists with audio recordings to help you learn new words.

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

Happy learning!

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

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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Your Complete Guide to the NT2 Dutch Exam

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Would you like to take an official Dutch language proficiency test? If that’s the case, wouldn’t you love to receive some handy tips and tricks to make sure you pass? If so, this guide will definitely come in handy.

In the Netherlands, there are two official language proficiency tests: the NT2 Dutch as a Second Language State Exam (Staatsexamen NT2) and the Certificate Dutch as a Foreign Language (Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal, CNaVT). In this guide, we’ll only focus on the NT2 Dutch State Exam, as it’s the most common one they ask for when you’re looking for a job or applying for a university or school in the Netherlands. 

We’ll go over everything you need to know about the NT2 Dutch language proficiency exam: what it is, how to sign up, and why you should care. We’ll also give you some insight into the different language levels and how they relate to the NT2 Dutch exam. 

Finally, we’ll dive into the structure and content of all four sections of the exam, and provide you with some tips on how to practice for and master this most important Dutch test.

A Guy Mastering His Dutch Language Proficiency Test
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. What is the NT2 Dutch as a Second Language State Exam?
  2. A Test for Two Levels
  3. How to Succeed on the NT2 Dutch State Exam
  4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. What is the NT2 Dutch as a Second Language State Exam?

Language Skills

The NT2 Dutch as a Second Language State Exam is the national Dutch proficiency exam for non-native adult speakers who want to work or study in the Netherlands. The diploma received after passing this test is officially recognized by the Dutch government. You can find more details about the exam right here.

1- Why Take the Exam?

There are many possible reasons why you’d want to pass the NT2 Dutch exam:

  • To study at a Dutch school or university
  • To find a job in the Netherlands
  • To apply for a Dutch residence permit
  • To request a Dutch citizenship
    → The Diploma of the NT2 Dutch State Exam meets the Dutch language requirements for integration: Inburgering (“Integration”) and Naturalisatie (“Naturalization”).

You can only take this Dutch language exam in the Netherlands.

    → Would you like to do a test just “for fun” or to discover your level? In that case, the NT2 Dutch State Exam might be too much trouble, and it would be better to take a different Dutch test. 

2- What Does the Exam Look Like?

The exam has four sections:

1. Lezen (“Reading”)

2. Schrijven (“Writing”)

3. Spreken (“Speaking”)

4. Luisteren (“Listening”)

The tests are all computer-based. To obtain the diploma, you need to pass all four sections.

    → What happens if you fail one of the sections? It’s possible to re-do any of the four parts, but you won’t be able to apply for your diploma until you receive all four certificates.
A Kid that Needs to Re-do a Test

3- NT2 Exam Registration

You can register for the exams via the DUO departmental website. The examinations are held several times a year at seven different locations in the Netherlands: 

  • Amsterdam
  • Eindhoven
  • Amersfoort (only on predetermined Saturdays)
  • Oisterwijk
  • Rotterdam
  • Rijswijk
  • Zwolle

To be able to participate, you’ll need to have a valid ID.

How much does it cost? The NT2 Dutch exam costs €45,00 per language skill. So for all four sections, it will cost you a total of €180,00.

2. A Test for Two Levels

1- The different levels of the NT2 Dutch State Exam

There are two NT2 exam levels that you can choose to take: 

  • The NT2 program I – This exam is meant for people who want to work or study on a vocational education level (MBO). This is considered a Dutch B1 exam according to CEFR.
  • The NT2 program II – This exam is intended for people who want to study or work on a hogeschool (“higher education,” HBO) or university level (WO). The language level of this program is B2 (CEFR).

2- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Before you can choose the best test for your level, you need to be familiar with the CEFR system (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). This classification shows your proficiency level in a foreign language on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners to C2 for those who have mastered a language.

LevelDescriptionYou can:
A1

Beginner
  • Understand and use everyday expressions as well as simple statements about practical needs.
  • Introduce yourself and others.
  • Ask and answer questions about personal matters.
  • Use the present tense and the right word order in simple affirmative sentences and questions.
  • Have basic conversations if the other person is talking slowly and articulates clearly.
A2

Lower-Intermediate
  • Understand and communicate isolated sentences and common expressions or tasks about familiar daily situations (personal information, family, shop, or work interactions)
  • Describe your current environment and express immediate needs.
  • Correctly use present and past tenses. 
  • Build correct sentences and use the subordinate clause.
  • Understand and use standard pronunciation.
B1

Level of the NT2 program I
Intermediate
  • Understand and communicate in common everyday situations, such as work, school, or hobbies.
  • Handle most daily interactions when traveling in the Netherlands or through Flanders.
  • Write simple Dutch texts about familiar topics or subjects you are interested in.
  • Talk about events, experiences, dreams, expectations, and desires. You’re also able to express your opinions, reasons, and plans.
B2

Level of the NT2 program II
Upper-Intermediate
  • Understand the general ideas of complex texts (both concrete and abstract), including technical discussions in your field of specialization.
  • Talk Dutch spontaneously and quite easily with a native speaker.
  • Write clear and detailed texts in Dutch about various topics.
  • Express and explain your views, giving the advantages, disadvantages, and alternatives of various options.
C1Advanced
  • Understand long texts and their implicit meaning, humor, and wit.
  • Speak spontaneously and fluently without searching for your words too much.
  • Use the language flexibly and efficiently at home, work, or school.
  • Express your opinion on complex topics in a clear and structured manner.
  • Write clear, well-structured, and detailed texts about complex subjects.
C2Proficient
  • Effortlessly understand anything you read or hear.
  • Summarize verbal or written information, such as facts and arguments.
  • Speak very fluently, argue coherently, and reconstruct explanations.
  • Express yourself spontaneously, precisely, and subtly, even about more-complex topics.

3. How to Succeed on the NT2 Dutch State Exam

1- The Writing Test

Duration: 100 minutes

A- The Test

The Dutch writing exam (Program I and Program II) consists of completing sentences, as well as writing both short and medium texts. You can decide what order you want to do the assignments in.

  • Write sentences – You must complete sentences or finish them.
  • Write short text – This could be a note, a short letter, or a short description of a situation.
  • Write medium text – This could be a description of a problem and a proposal for a solution. You may receive a table, graph, or images that you must use.

Most assignments are about work or education. A number of assignments are about daily life topics.

Program IProgram II
Write 10 sentencesWrite 7-8 sentences
Complete 2 short textsWrite 1-2 short texts
Write 2 short textsWrite 1-2 medium texts

B- Tips on How to Practice for the Test

    ► Improve your grammar and vocabulary, and get familiar with the most common structures of Dutch texts by reading a lot. This way, you’ll get used to different Dutch writing styles, learn useful vocabulary, and discover connecting phrases.

    Write, write, and write even more. For the best results, try to get personal feedback from a native Dutch speaker. For example, this can be your own private DutchPod101 teacher, through our MyTeacher services.

    Take an old NT2 Dutch test and practice writing texts within a short period of time. Or study NT2 Dutch test reviews.
Practice Your Writing

C- Tips on How to Take the Test

    First, read the Dutch test instructions very carefully to understand them fully.

    ► Remember that you’ll probably not be asked for your opinion, and will sometimes be asked to take a stand following some specific guidelines. Follow these guidelines and write accordingly.

    ► Adapt your text for the target audience. The style, writing, and structure must match the type of text that you’re writing.

    ► Make a quick outline of your text before you begin writing. This way, you can write a better-organized text.

    Re-read your text several times, focusing on grammar, conjugation, and punctuation.

    Use a dictionary, it’s allowed! You may use a maximum of three dictionaries during the writing exam (except for the Van Dale Synonyms dictionary, the Van Dale Proverb dictionary, a digital dictionary, or a digital spell checker). Your dictionaries should not contain any notes.

2- The Speaking Test

Duration: around 25 minutes

A- The Test

For this Dutch speaking exam, you’ll wear headphones and speak through your microphone to the computer. You’ll read the commands and answers on the computer screen. The Program I exam consists of two parts; The Program II exam consists of three parts. There are both short and long speaking assignments:

  • Short speaking assignment – You’ll receive questions, to which you’ll give a short answer. You’ll have twenty seconds to speak per assignment.
  • Medium-length speaking assignment – You’ll receive questions, to which you’ll have to give a longer answer (a few sentences or more). You’ll have thirty seconds to speak per assignment.
  • Long speaking assignment – You’ll speak for two minutes on a specific topic, and will receive preparation time for this.
Program IProgram II
Part 18 short speaking assignments4 short speaking assignments
Part 28 medium speaking assignments8 medium speaking assignments
Part 31 long speaking assignment
    → You can’t use a dictionary for the speaking test!

B- Tips on How to Practice for the Test

    ► Take some old NT2 tests and practice the short, medium, and (if you plan on taking the Program II) long speaking assignments. This is the best way to get familiar with the “real” test conditions.

    Practice your speaking skills with Dutch natives as often as you can. Practice with your Dutch friends or colleagues. Don’t have any yet? Talking to strangers also helps a lot; it gets you out of your comfort zone and exposes you to different ways of speaking.

    ► Don’t have any natives around to talk with? Try to practice with other Dutch learners, or even alone. If practicing alone, record yourself and try to correct your own mistakes. 
    ► Use MyTeacher and send your recordings to your private teacher. He or she will give you some great feedback on your grammar and pronunciation!
Let’s Talk to Some Dutch Natives

C- Tips on How to Do the Test

    Read the Dutch test instructions carefully, as many times as necessary to understand them perfectly.

    ► Try to use examples to illustrate your ideas or opinions. You can use examples from your own experiences, current events, or texts that you’ve read.

    ► Try to articulate your thoughts clearly, and don’t scatter your ideas too much.

3- The Reading Test 

Duration: 110 minutes in Program I and 100 minutes in Program II

A- The Test

For the Dutch reading exam, you’ll receive a booklet containing texts. The questions and answer options are on the computer. For the seven texts, you must answer 35-38 multiple-choice questions. 

There are different types of assignments:

  • There are assignments where you have to choose the subject of the text, the source, or the audience.
  • There are assignments where you have to choose the meaning of a text, the relationship between two pieces of text, or the conclusion of the text.
  • There are questions where you need to look something up in the text.

B- Tips on How to Practice for the Test

    ► Practice by reading a wide variety of materials, from newspaper articles, books, and essays to short stories.

    Practice the reading test from a past NT2 Dutch test. This way, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect in terms of length and difficulty. You can also have a look at NT2 Dutch test reviews.

C- Tips on How to Do the Test

    Read the text carefully before you read the questions. This way, you won’t be biased and you’ll be able to better understand the text.
    ► Then, read the Dutch test instructions and questions attentively and make sure you understand them perfectly. After that, you can read the text one more time in this new light.

    Stay alert and prepare yourself for word play and traps. 
    You can use up to three dictionaries for the reading test, as long as they are free of any notes. You can’t use the Van Dale Synonyms dictionary, the Van Dale Proverb dictionary, a digital dictionary, or a digital spell checker.

4- The Listening Test

Duration: 90 minutes

A- The Test

The Dutch listening exam consists of about 40 different assignments. There are five or more audio texts and 1-3 videos, each with questions. All questions are multiple-choice.

You’ll hear speakers talk about daily life situations, in addition to recordings of “normal life conversations.” These will feature different voices, repetitions, accents, and noises in the background.

For each question, you get twenty-five seconds to read the question and the three possible answers. 

You can’t use a dictionary for the listening test.

B- Tips on How to Practice for the Test

    ► Do you have some Dutch native speakers close by? Listen to them speak by asking them many questions.

    ► Any listening exercise on DutchPod101.com can be a great way to practice your listening skills. We also have a page on Listening Comprehension for Absolute Beginners.
Practice Your Listening Skills

C- Tips on How to Do the Test

    Read the test instructions attentively.
    Make the best of the short time you’re given to read the questions.

    Stay alert and don’t jump to conclusions too fast—appearances may be deceiving. Don’t choose your answer until you’ve heard the entire text. 

4. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned everything you need to know about the NT2 Dutch State Exam. We’ve shown you some useful information on the structure and the different levels of the test. You’ve also received some useful tips on the writing, speaking, reading, and listening sections of this Dutch language proficiency test.

Do you feel ready to start practicing for the NT2 Dutch Exam? A good exercise is to practice an official NT2 test, from the beginning to the end. It will take some time, but it’s the only way to learn what to expect.

Would you like to practice your Dutch? DutchPod101.com has many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings which are great for practicing your listening and speaking skills.

Or do you prefer some private teaching? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching with our premium MyTeacher service. Through interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips, you can really master this Dutch language proficiency test!

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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!

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

Dutch Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Dutch

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Dutch! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Dutch keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Dutch Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Dutch
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Dutch
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Dutch on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Dutch Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Dutch Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Dutch

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Dutch

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Dutch language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Dutch websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Dutch teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Dutch

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Dutch. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Dutch, so all text will appear in Dutch. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Dutch on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Dutch language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language.

2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Dutch.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Dutch with the note “language pack available.”

3. Click on “Dutch” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.

4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Dutch.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Dutch.”

4. Expand the option of “Dutch” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Dutch.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Dutch,” and add the “Dutch” keyboard (not the “Belgian” one).

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Dutch Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Dutch will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Dutch keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Dutch” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Dutch” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Dutch Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Dutch can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Dutch keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

You can use Alt codes to enter specific characters. Here are some examples that are useful when using a Microsoft Windows device: 

Grave (capital letters)À
0192
È 
0200
Ì
0204
Ò
0210
Ù 
0217
Graveà
0224
è
0232
ì
0236
ò
0242
ù
0249
Acute (capital letters)Á
0193
É
0201
Í
0205
Ó
0211
Ú
0218
Ý
0221
Acuteá
0225
é
0233
í
0237
ó
0243
ú
0250
ý
0253
Circumflex (capital letters)Â
0194
Ê
0202
Î
0206
Ô
0212
Û
0219
Circumflexâ
0226
ê
0234
î
0238
ô
0244
û
0251
Tilde (capital letters)Ã
0195
Õ
0213
Tildeã
0227
õ
0245
Umlaut (capital letters)Ä
0196
Ë
0203
Ï
0207
Ö
0214
Ü 
0220
Ÿ
0159
Umlautä
0228
ë
0235
ï
0239
ö
0246
ü
0252
ÿ
0255

When using a macOS, the Alt key changes into the Option key and the combinations change as well. For more information, check the Alt key page on Wikipedia.

2- Mobile Phones

On mobile devices, the process is much simpler. Just hold the vowel key and select the type of accentuation from the menu that pops up!

7. How to Practice Typing Dutch

As you probably know by now, learning Dutch is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Dutch typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a DutchPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Dutch keyboard to do this!

Log in to Download Your Free Dutch Alphabet Worksheet

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!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Dutch quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Dutch tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

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As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

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Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

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Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. DutchPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

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With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

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Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

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My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

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A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Dutch teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by DutchPod101.com in Dutch Language, Dutch Online, Feature Spotlight, Learn Dutch, Site Features, Speak Dutch, Team DutchPod101

Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Dutch

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Do you know your left from your right in Dutch? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Netherlands, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Dutch magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Dutch? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Netherlands is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at DutchPod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Dutch
  2. Getting directions in Dutch
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Dutch

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Dutch? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Dutch friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Dutch is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Dutch positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – bovenop

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Netherlands is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – onderkant

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Dutch, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Netherlands.

3- Up – omhoog

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – omlaag

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – midden

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – centrum

Although similar in meaning to ‘middle’, this word is more specific. Technically, it means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference.  When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – voorkant

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Dutch directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – achterkant

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Dutch ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – zijkant

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Dutch.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – oosten

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – westen

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – noorden

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – zuiden

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – buiten

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – binnenkant

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Dutch-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – tegenovergesteld

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – aangrenzend

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Dutch that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Dutch food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – naar

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Netherlands to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – tegenover

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – naast

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – hoek

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – afgelegen

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Dutch word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Dutch. Even better, get a Dutch person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – ver

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – dichtbij

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – bij

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – omheen

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – alle kanten

Another useful descriptive Dutch term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – naast

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – boven

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – onder

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Dutch, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Dutch

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Netherlands won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Dutch. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Dutch as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Netherlands with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Dutch. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Dutch, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Netherlands. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Dutch phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Dutch WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Dutch?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Dutch, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Dutch to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Dutch music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Dutch for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join DutchPod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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