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The Dutch Carnaval: Who Wants Another Beer?

If you grew up celebrating Halloween, then you already have a good idea of the main component of Carnaval celebrations in the Netherlands: dressing up in costume! But what about the bar-hopping? Or the insane float parades? And how exactly did this holiday originate? 

In this article, we’ll discuss the key aspects of Carnaval in the Netherlands and provide you with a list of useful vocabulary to know for the holiday. Enjoy!

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1. What is Carnival in the Netherlands?

A Giant Clown Float

Carnival (also spelled Carnaval) is a three-day Christian celebration observed in several countries around the world. The Dutch Carnaval is mainly celebrated in the nation’s southernmost regions—especially in Limburg and Brabant—which are largely Katholiek (Catholic)

The holiday originated from a pagan tradition that encouraged heavy feasting prior to winter food shortages. Over time, Carnival became more associated with Catholicism and eventually came to be celebrated as a way to indulge and use up perishable food before Lent.

However, even in the more religious regions of the Netherlands, Carnival has lost most (if not all) of its religious meaning. From a social point of view, the holiday is also a time to reverse societal roles: those who are poor can mock the rich by wearing silly clothing, people can show defiance toward authorities, and everyone is expected to dress like—and become—a different person or character for the duration of the holiday. 

Carnival in the Netherlands is really just a time of fun, laughter, and letting go of one’s daily worries and frustrations. It can be a crazy time, but also an opportunity to make great memories! 

2. Dutch Carnival Dates

Because the dates of Carnival depend on the dates of Easter and Lent, it takes place on a different day each year. The holiday immediately precedes the other major religious holidays of Vastenavond (Shrove Tuesday) and Aswoensdag (Ash Wednesday). For your convenience, here’s an overview of its start and end dates for the next ten years. 

  • 2021: February 14 – February 16
  • 2022: February 27 – March 1 
  • 2023: February 19 – February 21
  • 2024: February 11 – February 13
  • 2025: March 2 – March 4
  • 2026: February 15 – February 17
  • 2027: February 7 – February 9
  • 2028: February 27 – February 29
  • 2029: February 11 – February 13
  • 2030: March 3 – March 5

3. Traditions for the Dutch Carnival 

Men Hanging Out at a Pub

This vibrant traditie (tradition) begins once a “key to the city” has been given to the Carnival Prince, a member of the region who has been chosen by the Carnival Committee. Once the keys have been handed over, it’s time to unlock the fun! 

From this moment on, you can find myriads of people in any given kroeg (pub). Drinking is a major part of this holiday, and rightfully so—Carnival is meant to be a time of lightheartedness and jest. It’s also the perfect occasion to feesten (party) and don a unique kostuum (costume). Many people verkleden (dress up) as clowns, jesters, royalty, animals, food items, and even as the opposite gender!

People perform a popular dance during this holiday called the Polonaise. This is a traditional Polish dance (Polonais is French for “Polish”), and it was first incorporated into Dutch Carnival celebrations in the 1400s. It is a slow style of dance done in triple meter. Another popular dance style is the hossen, during which a group of people jumps up and down together. 

If you want to experience a Carnival parade, the Netherlands will have plenty of them! Special Carnival associations often put on parades featuring outlandish floats, which often depict political and/or religious leaders, as well as recent events, in a less-than-stellar light. Many of the parades will start at 11:11 or 12:11 (because eleven is seen as a fool’s number), and you can find these parades in most southern and eastern regions. Keep reading for additional information on where to visit for the best experience. 

4. Best Places for Carnival in the Netherlands

Are you planning to visit the Netherlands for Carnival in the near future? Then you should prepare your trip in advance by deciding which locations you’ll want to hit! Keep in mind that, during the three days of Carnival, all participating cities change their names. 

Here are a few Limburg and Brabant Carnaval celebrations you shouldn’t miss.


  • Carnival Name: Mestreech 

The Maastricht Carnival celebrations are the largest in the entire country, with a range of events and activities to take part in. If you want to experience a lot of festivity in a shorter amount of time, this is the place to be! 

The most notable event is the eleven shots fired at exactly 12:11 in the afternoon of the first celebration day, which takes place after the raising of the Prince’s Flag. From that point on, you can look forward to an exciting, largely outdoor Carnival experience. From a brass band competition to dancing, parades, and family-friendly events, there’s something for everyone! A short hour’s drive away, you’ll also find plenty of celebrations going on in Eindhoven. 


Tilburg is most known for its orchestras, concerts, and pub crawling—the perfect combination, don’t you think? Of course, you can also enjoy watching the Tilburg Carnaval parade with a drink (or two) in hand! 

Den Bosch

Den Bosch may simultaneously have the most family-friendly and the most unique celebrations in the Netherlands. It’s notorious for its Youth Carnival, featuring a parade geared toward younger audiences (no inappropriate floats like you’re bound to see in other parades). To end the Den Bosch celebrations, a doll dressed as a farmer is buried; this is a symbolic show of respect for someone named Knillis who is said to have founded the city. 


  • Carnival Name: Jocus Riék

The first thing you should know is that while Maastricht might have the largest celebration, Venlo has the oldest. If you visit Venlo for Carnival, you can look forward to 12+ parades, a Boétezitting event, and a farmer’s wedding event. Check it out! 

5. Vocabulary to Know Before Carnival

Traditional Dutch Wooden Shoes with Tulips in Them

To conclude, let’s take a look at some useful vocabulary associated with Carnival in the Netherlands:

  • Kermis (Fair) – feminine noun 
  • Kroeg (Pub) – masculine noun 
  • Kostuum (Costume) – neuter noun 
  • Vastenavond (Shrove Tuesday) – masculine noun 
  • Verkleden (Dress up) – verb
  • Limburg (Limburg) – neuter proper noun 
  • Praalwagen (Float) – masculine noun 
  • Katholiek (Catholic) – adjective
  • Traditie (Tradition) – feminine noun 
  • Polonaise (Polonaise) – feminine noun 
  • Aswoensdag (Ash Wednesday) – masculine proper noun 
  • Feesten (Party) – verb
  • Kater (Hangover) – masculine noun
  • Brabant (Brabant) – neuter proper noun 

If you would like to practice your pronunciation, head over to our Carnival vocabulary list, where you’ll find recorded audio pronunciations of each word! 

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our article on Carnival in the Netherlands and that you’re craving even more cultural knowledge now! 

Do you celebrate Carnival in your country, or maybe a similar holiday? Tell us about it in the comments! 

If you can’t wait to feel the Netherland’s soil beneath your feet, but don’t yet feel confident in your language skills or cultural know-how, you’re in the right place. Here are some more blog posts from we think you’ll enjoy:

And this barely even scratches the surface of everything we have in store for our students! Create your free lifetime account today to gain access to hundreds of video and audio lessons, themed vocabulary lists, and our spaced repetition flashcards. It’s our aim to make learning Dutch fun, easy, and effective. 

Happy learning from the team!

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Driekoningen: The Dutch Epiphany Celebration

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

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

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1. What is Epiphany?

Silhouette of the Three Wise Men

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

The story behind the Epiphany holiday is as follows:

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

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

2. When is Epiphany Celebrated?

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

3. How is Epiphany Celebrated?

A Baby Being Christened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. King’s Cake

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

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

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

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

5. Essential Vocabulary for Epiphany

A Dutch Paper Lantern

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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Animal Lovers Unite! World Animal Day in the Netherlands.

If you have a pet, I’m willing to bet you think of them as part of your family

You spend quality time with them, feed them from your plate sometimes, and let them get away with things the rest of your family can’t. 

Pets are an integral part of life for many people in the Netherlands, and this is reflected in Dutchies’ participation in World Animal Day. In this article, you’ll learn how this holiday got started, how people celebrate it, and more. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is World Animal Day?

A Group of Animals

Wereld dierendag (“World Animal Day”) got its unofficial start in 1925, when Heinrich Zimmermann proposed a date to focus on the welfare of animals. Originally, he wanted this holiday to take place on the feast day of Franciscus van Assisi (“Saint Francis of Assisi“), on October 4. However, due to a lack of available venues, the very first celebration took place in March. Zimmermann continued to promote the October 4 holiday until 1931, when World Animal Day became official.

Each year on October 4, World Animal Welfare Day sees some serious devotion from the Netherlands. 

This is an international feestdag (“holiday”) dedicated to improving the lives of animals everywhere. As stated on the official website, participation can take numerous forms depending on the country and the status of each participating individual. However, there is a singular World Animal Day theme each year to help unite the animal-loving community in their goals. In 2020, the theme will be “Man and Dog.”

Today, we’ll focus on what World Animal Day looks like in the Netherlands.

2. World Animal Day Celebrations 

A Dog and a Cat Against a White Background

Dutchies love their animals! In the Netherlands, the majority of households have at least one huisdier (“pet”). Cats, dogs, fish…the list goes on. This makes World Animal Day a big deal here.

The most common World Animal Day activities are those that include pampering one’s pets. People may take their dog for a nice, long walk through a forest, or let them roam free in an open field or park. Cats may get extra cuddles or treats, and maybe even some time outdoors. People who are really ready to splurge may buy their pets special treats, such as a beer designed for animals, slobber juice, or even a day at a pet spa.

Sometimes, people will set up their own events for the holiday, usually aimed at promoting voorkomen van dierenmishandeling (“prevention of cruelty to animals”). These may include speeches, fundraisers, or educational events to guide people on how to improve animals’ lives. It’s not uncommon for restaurants or businesses to get in on the action, too: for example, in 2012, an Amsterdam restaurant held a vegetarian meal special for World Animal Day.

    → October is such a great time to head outdoors with your furry friend. Great weather, beautiful scenery… Why not learn the Must-Know Autumn Vocabulary to make the most of it? 😉

How to Celebrate World Animal Day Yourself

World Animal Day is more popular in some countries than in others. If you want to participate, but don’t know how, keep reading.

If you have a pet, the easiest thing you can do is make the day special for them. If you have the time and means, your dog, cat, or even rodent, may love some supervised outdoor time out in the countryside or in a large park. Treats, cuddles, and toys are always welcome, too. Do you have a pet that’s less resilient to the outdoors or not as…cuddly? There are plenty of ways you can pamper them, too! 

Even if you don’t have a pet, you can still participate in making the world a better place for animals. If you’re not sure where to start, the official World Animal Day website has some practical ideas for you!

3. Most Popular Pets in the Netherlands

You know that Dutchies love their pets, but do you know which one is most popular?

As of 2019, cats were the most popular pet in the Netherlands, with around twenty-seven percent of households owning at least one cat. It’s estimated that the Netherlands is home to around three million pet felines! 

Dogs were the second-most-common pet, with roughly twenty percent of households owning a dog. 

4. Essential Vocabulary for World Animal Day

A Veterinarian Checking a Dog’s Heart Rate

Let’s review some of the Dutch vocabulary words from this article! 

  • Dier (“Animal”) — noun, neuter
  • Feestdag (“Holiday”) — noun, feminine
  • Huisdier (“Pet”) — noun, neuter
  • Oktober (“October”) — noun, masculine
  • Wereld dierendag (“World Animal Day”) — noun, masculine
  • Activisme (“Activism”) — noun, neuter
  • Dierenarts (“Veterinarian”) — noun, feminine
  • Franciscus van Assisi (“Saint Francis of Assisi”) — masculine
  • Recht (“Right”) — noun, neuter
  • Voorkomen van dierenmishandeling (“Prevention of cruelty to animals”) 
  • Dierenrechten (“Animal right”)

Remember that you can find each of these words and their pronunciation on our World Animal Day vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

Is World Animal Day as popular in your country as it is in the Netherlands? If so, what are your favorite ways to celebrate? Do you have any World Animal Day ideas we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments! 

We hope we encouraged you to take part in this fun but important holiday this year, and that you have a better idea of Dutch culture. If you would like to learn even more, see the following blog posts on

If you’re serious about learning Dutch, create your free lifetime account today. You’ll be speaking Dutch in minutes and fluent before you know it, thanks to our fun and effective lessons for learners at every level. We hope to see you around. 😉

Happy World Animal Day from the DutchPod101 team! 

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eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

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“I live in Tokyo.”

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eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

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Pasan: Celebrating Easter Monday in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Easter Monday is a public holiday, celebrated just as much as—if not more than—Easter Sunday. The Dutch celebrate this major religious holiday with a range of fun and adventurous traditions, some of which you may be familiar with!

In this article, you’ll learn about Easter in the Netherlands, how it’s celebrated, and gain some new vocabulary while you’re at it. Let’s get started.

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1. What is Easter Monday?

On Easter, Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion. According to Christian belief, he died to take on the sins of the world and then resurrected to prove his triumph over death.

Easter Monday is the day following the actual Easter holiday. In the Netherlands, Easter Monday is a continued celebration of Easter Sunday, with lots of fun and unique traditions, beginning on Carnival Day, before Lent.

2. When is Easter Monday in the Netherlands?

A Calendar Marking Monday

The date of Easter Monday varies from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2020: April 13
  • 2021: April 5
  • 2022: April 18
  • 2023: April 10
  • 2024: April 1
  • 2025: April 21
  • 2026: April 6
  • 2027: March 29
  • 2028: April 17
  • 2029: April 2

3. Easter Celebrations in the Netherlands

Painted Easter Eggs with Spring Flowers

Aside from the holiday’s religious meaning, family (familie) is a major aspect of how people in the Netherlands celebrate Easter. Children enjoy going on an Easter egg (paasei) hunt, indulging in sweet treats, and painting their own Easter eggs, much like they do in the United States. On Easter Monday, children also participate in other egg-related games; one such game is an egg-cracking competition, also called an eiertikken contest.

Entire families or groups of friends may also have a good time going to the beach (strand) or out shopping (winkelen) for Easter deals. Easter markets in the Netherlands often sell chocolates, Easter eggs, and paint sets for children to use for egg decorating.

Dutch Easter traditions always involve a large lunch (lunchen) with friends and family. Easter food in the Netherlands is typically prepared on Easter Sunday, and leftovers are eaten on Easter Monday. Some of the most common foods include various types of bread and pastries, smoked fish, and certain breakfast items. The Dutch often grace the Easter brunch table with decorated willow branches.

Other popular Easter traditions in the Netherlands include burning bonfires, playing sports, going to amusement parks, riding bikes—basically anything that involves enjoying the great outdoors in early spring!

4. From Holland to Italy

Did you know that the Easter flowers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome are provided by Holland?

Each year at the end of his Easter speech, the Pope gives Holland a little extra attention for this reason. He says, “Thank you for the flowers,” in broken Dutch!

5. Essential Easter Monday Vocabulary

A Sandy Beach

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important vocabulary for Easter Monday!

  • Maandag (n) — “Monday”
  • Strand (n) — “Beach”
  • Pasen (n) — “Easter”
  • Druk (adj) — “Crowded”
  • Festival (n) — “Festival”
  • Familie (n) — “Family”
  • Winkelen (n) — “Shopping”
  • Amsterdam (pr. n) — “Amsterdam”
  • Lunchen (n) — “Lunch”
  • Paasei (n) — “Easter egg”
  • Vrije (adj) — “Free”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to visit our Dutch Easter Monday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Easter Monday in Dutch culture with us, and that you were able to take away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Easter in your country? If so, are traditions there similar or pretty different from those in the Netherlands? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about Dutch culture and holidays, has you covered:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn the Dutch language or immerse yourself in the culture, know that is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone.

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Prinsjesdag: Prince’s Day in the Netherlands

Each year, the Netherlands observes Prinsjesdag, or “Prince’s Day.” Because this is the day the country officials go over the country’s budget proposals and new bills, many people also call this “Budget Day.” In the Netherlands, Prince’s Day is also a special day of celebration, and is the only time many people will ever see the Golden Carriage (which we’ll talk more about later).

In the learning about Prince’s Day, you’ll also gain insight into certain aspects of the culture in the Netherlands. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, this is a vital step in mastering any language. can make this part of the learning process both fun and informative!

Let’s get started with a little more about what Prince Day is.

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1. What is Prince’s Day in the Netherlands?

On Prince’s Day, Netherlands’ King gives the “Speech from the Throne,” or Troonrede Prinsjesdag, and the Minister of Finance presents the national budget proposal in a special briefcase to the Dutch House of Representatives. The national budget and the budget memorandum for the new year consist of new bills. Before ratification, these are debated in advance in the House and Senate.

The famous briefcase the Minister of Finance uses to submit the budget memorandum has been in existence since 1947. The Minister of Finance at the time, Lieftinck, wanted to make Prince’s Day a little snazzier and decided to carry the documents with him in a classy briefcase. This practice remained customary for ten years until Minister Hofstra broke tradition, carrying the national budget with him in his bag. This didn’t sit well with many students, and they decided to just offer up a small briefcase to the Minister himself. The briefcase the Minister uses now has been in use since 1964.

2. When is Prince Day?

Prince's Day is in September

Each year, the Dutch celebrate Prince’s Day on the third Tuesday in September. For your convenience, we’ve composed a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: September 17
  • 2020: September 15
  • 2021: September 21
  • 2022: September 20
  • 2023: September 19
  • 2024: September 17
  • 2025: September 16
  • 2026: September 15
  • 2027: September 21
  • 2028: September 19

Earlier in history, around 1850, Prince’s Day fell on the third Monday in September, but since that meant some legislators had to leave on a Sunday, the date was moved to a Tuesday, thus the current date of the third Tuesday in September.

3. Prince’s Day Traditions

The Hague

Prince’s Day is the only day the Golden Carriage ever ventures out. The Golden Carriage stays put almost the entire year in the Royal Stables behind the Noordeinde Palace (North-end Palace) in The Hague. Prince’s Day is the only day the carriage is permitted to venture out, traveling only a few miles to the Binnenhof parliamentary complex of the States-General and back.

Only with rare exception is it possible to view the Golden Carriage up close. The Golden Carriage was once on display for all to admire up close at an exhibit in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, but this exhibit was only there for a year.

Of course, Prince’s Day is also famous for the King’s speech and the fancy briefcase mentioned earlier.

4. Long Live the King

Do you know what famous phrase ends the King’s annual speech?

After the Speech from the Throne is delivered, the president of the Senate presiding over the Joint Session shouts “Long live the King!” to which everyone else in attendance responds, “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

After that, the King leaves the hall for the Queen’s Chamber in the adjacent room.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Prince’s Day

A Carriage

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Prince’s Day!

  • Hoed — “Hat
  • Dinsdag — “Tuesday”
  • Paleis — “Palace”
  • Politiek — “Politics”
  • September — “September”
  • Prinsjesdag — “Prince’s Day”
  • Miljoenennota — “State’s budget”
  • Troonrede — “Queen’s speech”
  • Koningin — “Queen”
  • Beleid — “Policy”
  • Volkslied — “National Anthem
  • Minister — “Minister”
  • Regering — “Government”
  • Gouden koets — “Golden carriage”
  • Grondwet — “Constitution”
  • Koets — “Carriage”

To hear the pronunciation of each vocabulary word, check out our Dutch Prince’s Day vocabulary list!

Let DutchPod101 be Your Guide to the Dutch Language

What are your thoughts on the Prince Day Netherlands holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

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Dutch Movies Guide: The 10 Best Movies to Learn Dutch


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could improve your Dutch by, say, watching movies? Yes, learning Dutch could really be that fun. Supplementing your Dutch language course with Dutch movies could really boost your understanding of the language! 

Watching movies in your target language is a unique way to practice your listening comprehension skills in a relaxed environment, without the pressure you may feel in a real-life conversation. Is there something you don’t understand? Then just turn on the subtitles or pause the video while you look it up. 

In this article, we’ll first explain how watching Dutch movies can boost your Dutch. After that, we’ll give you tips on where to watch Dutch movies and provide you with a selection of movies for every proficiency level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Have fun “studying” Dutch!

A Man Binge-Watching Something on TV

Let’s get you hooked on these Dutch movies.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch Movies Will Help You Learn Dutch
  2. Where to Watch Dutch Movies
  3. Dutch Movies for Beginners
  4. For Intermediate Learners
  5. For Advanced Learners
  6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch Movies Will Help You Learn Dutch

Learning a language while watching a movie—it almost sounds too good to be true. But watching movies in Dutch really can help you improve your language skills! Here’s how.

1. It gives you the opportunity to learn by observation.

When you’re talking with someone in Dutch, you don’t have much time to think about what the other speaker is saying. Luckily, watching a Dutch movie does afford you this luxury! You’ll have the time to reflect on the Dutch dialogue, see how the speakers use certain words, and expand your vocabulary in the process. And if there’s something you don’t understand, you can just pause the movie to look it up (or take notes and look it up later).

2. It will teach you about the Dutch culture.

To learn a language, you also need to become familiar with the culture surrounding it. However, unless you’re living in the Netherlands, it can be hard to do this. The good news is that watching Dutch movies can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, regardless of where you live! You’ll get to see how people interact, learn more about Dutch humor, and discover new popular Dutch phrases. 

3. It stimulates multiple senses.

When you watch something, your eyes and ears are stimulated simultaneously; this stimulation of multiple senses helps your brain make connections between sounds and images. For example, if someone is talking about a jacket in a Dutch movie while showing it to the camera, your brain will connect the image with the sound of the word’s pronunciation. This little trick can help you retain new words much quicker!

4. It makes learning Dutch fun.

Who said learning can’t be fun? Learning a language may get dull at times, especially when you’re trying to master certain grammar rules or when you’re trying to memorize a lot of vocabulary at once. However, there are many fun learning activities you can do to spice up your learning process, such as watching Dutch movies. 

This will also keep you motivated to keep on learning Dutch. When something is fun, there’s a greater chance that you’ll stick with it. 

2. Where to Watch Dutch Movies

A Woman Watching a Movie on the Couch with Popcorn

So, how can you watch these Dutch movies from the comfort of your couch?

There are several places you can check out to watch the best Dutch movies of all time:

  • NPO: You can watch many Dutch movies on the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (“Dutch Public Network”) online, for free. However, the page doesn’t always allow you to see everything when you’re abroad. But still, even from abroad, you can watch a nice selection of the best Dutch movies.
  • RTL: This is a Dutch Commercial Network with five different channels: RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8, and RTL Z. You can also find some Dutch movies online on RTL XL
  • Netflix: There are a few Dutch movies on Netflix you can enjoy. The collection here may not be extensive, but the titles you can find are pretty impressive. Netflix also allows you to watch the Dutch movies with English subtitles, a feature which sets it apart from the previous options.
  • YouTube: You can find some Dutch movies on YouTube, from the classics to more recent ones. While there is an extensive offering, it can be hard to find the whole movie. 

Now that you know where to watch the best movies to learn Dutch, check out our vocabulary lists for television and YouTube!

3. Dutch Movies for Beginners

Let’s begin our Dutch movies list with films that are best for beginners. The following titles are all Dutch children’s films that are just as enjoyable for adults. The simple language and plot structures will make it easier for you to understand what you’re hearing, and the stories are sure to keep you entertained while you build a strong language foundation. 

1. Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster


Title translation: “Yes Nurse! No Nurse!”

The story: Four unique individuals are residing in Sister Klivia’s rest home. Together, these residents cause trouble for the angry neighbor Barend Boordevol, who does everything in his power to get the nurse and her residents out of the house.

Why it’s worth watching: Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster is a classic Dutch comedy musical from 2002, based on the original story by the famous Dutch children’s book author Annie M.G. Schmidt. It’s therefore a true classic, full of classic Dutch songs that will make watching the movie even more fun.

Cast: Loes Luca, Tjitske Reidinga, Waldemar Torenstra, and Paul de Leeuw

Important words or quotes: 

    De buurman (“The neighbor”)
    De inbreker (“The burglar”)
    Mijn opa (“My granddad”)
    Samen met u onder de paraplu (“Together with you under the umbrella”)

2. Minoes


The story: This story is about the cat Minoes, who has turned into a young woman. While Minoes looks like a charming young lady, she still has some cat habits and can also talk with cats. This ends up being beneficial for her, as befriended cats tell her human secrets which she uses to help the sympathetic, insecure journalist Tibbe, in exchange for food and a place to sleep.

Why it’s worth watching: Minoes is a Dutch film from 2001, directed by Vincent Bal. It’s a film adaptation of the famous children’s book by Annie M.G. Schmidt from 1970, making it another true classic. 

Cast: Carice van Houten, Theo Maassen, Pierre Bokma, Hans Kesting, and Olga Zuiderhoek

Important words or quotes: 

    De allerslechtste journalist van Killendoorn (“The worst journalist of Killendoorn”)
  • Poes Minoes (“Cat Minoes”)
    Merkwaardige juffrouw (“Strange lady”)
    Er is iets vreselijks gebeurd (“Something terrible happened”)

3. Het zakmes


Title translation: “The pocketknife”

The story: Mees has a problem: He took his best friend’s pocketknife home with him by accident. Unfortunately, his best friend is moving the next day and it’s too late to return the pocketknife. His parents are too busy to help, so little Mees goes on searching for his friend all by himself. Eventually, he enters a talent contest, hoping to get a message to his friend through a song.

Why it’s worth watching: The movie is based on a classic children’s novel by Dutch writer Sjoerd Kuyper. The book was first published in 1981 and was adapted for film in 1992. This cute Dutch classic won several awards. 

Cast: Olivier Tuinier, Verno Romney, and Adelheid Roosen

Important words or quotes: 

    Het zakmes (“The pocketknife”)
    Ik ben pas zes, Tom ik heb je mes. (“I’m only six, Tom I have your knife.”)

Is it hard for you to remember words? Have a look at these fifteen tips on how to remember Dutch words

Do you need to improve your Dutch before watching these movies? Then dive into these Top 10 FREE Dutch Lessons You Can’t Miss.

4. For Intermediate Learners

Now we’ll continue with some of the best Dutch movies to watch at an intermediate proficiency level. These films will have slightly more advanced vocabulary and more complex storylines, but they shouldn’t be too difficult to understand with some basic Dutch knowledge. 

1. Alles is liefde


Title translation: “Love is all”

The story: This romantic comedy interweaves different storylines about love against the backdrop of Amsterdam around the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. In this movie, six couples discover that love is everywhere. But love is like Sinterklaas: You have to believe in it, otherwise it won’t work. Follow crown prince Valentijn, saleswoman Kiki, lifeguard Victor, divorced mother Klaasje—and their children, parents, and other relatives—as everyone becomes entangled in the (im)possibilities of love.

Why it’s worth watching: The story is inspired by the movie Love Actually, but this version is all about the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. It will therefore give you some good insight into the celebration of this classic Dutch holiday. The movie was such a success that there was a sequel: Alles is familie (“Everything is family”).

Cast: Carice van Houten, Paul de Leeuw, Wendy van Dijk, and Daan Schuurmans

Important words or quotes: 

  • Liefde is als Sinterklaas. Je moet erin geloven. Anders wordt het niks. (“Love is like Sinterklaas. You have to believe in it. Otherwise it won’t work.”)
  • De ware (“The one”)
  • Liefde (“Love”)

2. Aanmodderfakker


The story: Thijs, 32, is the eternal student without any ambition. He goes through life carefree, filling his time with beer, women, and hanging out with his roommate Walter. He lives on donations from his mother and what he earns from a part-time job in an electronics shop. That life changes when he meets his sister Simone’s sixteen-year-old babysitter Lisa. This young woman has ambitions and a beautiful plan for her life, and is exactly the opposite of Thijs.

Why it’s worth watching: Aanmodderfakker gives some funny insight into the life of a lazy Dutch student and his relationship with his family. Although the story of Thijs may be quite extreme, it will tell you something about the Dutch culture and family relationships.

Cast: Gijs Naber, Yannick van de Velde, Roos Wiltink, and Anniek Pheifer

Important words or quotes: 

  • Aanmodderen (“Muddle through”)
  • Eeuwige student (“Eternal student”)
  • Ik hou van je (“I love you”)
  • Zachtgekookt ei (Literally, “soft-boiled egg,” meaning “a softy”)

3. Gooische vrouwen


Title translation: “Women of the Gooi”

The story: The life of the women of the Gooi, a fancy area in the Netherlands, is anything but smooth. The ladies are in desperate need of a holiday to regain their peace of mind. They pack their bags and leave for France, where they realize the importance of their friendship. Together they’re strong, and they try everything to solve their problems at home.

Why it’s worth watching: Gooische Vrouwen is a Dutch movie based on the popular drama series of the same name. The movie was also a huge success—in fact, it’s one of the most successful Dutch films of all time.

Cast: Linda de Mol, Susan Visser, Tjitske Reidinga, and Lies Visschedijk

Important words or quotes: 

  • Ik ga bij papa wonen. (“I am going to live with daddy.”)
  • Reis naar onze innerlijke zelf. (“Journey to our inner selves.”)
  • Oh heerlijk, in Frankrijk. (“Oh lovely, in France.”)
  • Ik heb je nodig. (“I need you.”)

4. De Eetclub


Title translation: “The dining club”

The story: Karen and Michel move to a high-end neighborhood with their daughter, and Karen soon finds friendship within a close circle of women from a dining club. One of the club members commits suicide, which puts pressure on everyone involved…what secrets lurk in the eetclub

Why it’s worth watching: De Eetclub is based on the popular book of the same name by Saskia Noort. This Dutch thriller movie will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end.

Cast: Peter Paul Muller, Angela Schijf, Bas Keijzer, Birgit Schuurman, Mattijn Hartemink, Irma Hartog, and Thom Hoffman

Important words or quotes: 

  • Wil je misschien wat drinken? (“Would you like to have a drink?”)
  • We hebben een eetclub. (“We have a dining club.”)
  • Vriendenclubje (“Group of friends”)
  • Verhouding (“Affair”)

5. For Advanced Learners

Let’s see some of the more advanced stuff. These are the best movies to learn Dutch if you already have some Dutch knowledge and experience.

1. Zwartboek


Title translation: “Black book”

The story: In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during WWII, the Jewish singer Rachel infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance. To do so, she hooks up with a German officer. In a failed attempt to free a group of resistance fighters, Rachel is seen as a traitor by both the resistance and the Germans.

Why it’s worth watching: This movie is directed by the famous Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. This thriller was filmed in the Netherlands and won several national and international awards. This thrilling movie will get you hooked and tell you more about Dutch history.

Cast: Carice van Houten, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, and Sebastian Koch

Important words or quotes: 

  • Het verzet (“The resistance”)
  • Verrader (“Traitor”)
  • Hoe ver zou je met hem willen gaan? (“How far would you go with him?”)
  • Voor het vaderland (“For the fatherland”)

2. Bankier van het Verzet


Title translation: “The resistance banker”

The story: After witnessing the devastation wreaked by the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, Dutch banker Walraven van Hall decides to fight back. He comes up with a method to finance the Dutch resistance and his fake “Sailor’s Fund” becomes the most elaborate hoax known to Dutch banking. As the operation grows larger, the stakes become higher and the risks more intense. 

Why it’s worth watching: The movie tells the true story of the resistance fighters and bankers Walraven van Hall and his brother Gijsbert van Hall. Even though the story is largely true, some changes to the story have been made to keep it exciting and easy to watch. In spite of these changes, the movie will teach you more about Dutch history and the Dutch resistance.

Cast: Jacob Derwig, Barry Atsma, Pierre Bokma, and Fockeline Ouwerkerk

Important words or quotes: 

  • NSB´er (“Dutch Nazi”)
  • Tijd om terug te vechten (“Time to fight back”)
  • Een ondergrondse bank (“An underground bank”)
  • We hebben geen andere keuze. (“We have no other choice.”)

3. Layla M


The story: Born and raised in Amsterdam, 18-year-old Layla is smart, stubborn, and idealistic. Struggling to fit her religious beliefs in with a society that seems increasingly intolerant of them, she’s starting to radicalize more and more, posting movies online and distributing political flyers while flirting with the charismatic Abdel. When she’s arrested together with her peaceful brother, she decides to leave her parental home. She marries Abdel and flees to Jordan.

Why it’s worth watching: This suspenseful movie shows the story of the young Layla, who struggles to fit her religious beliefs in with her place in Dutch society. It’s a good depiction of some of the current social struggles of the Netherlands related to integration, migration, and discrimination.

Cast: Nora El Koussour, Ilias Addab, and Hassan Akkouch

Important words or quotes: 

  • Radicaliseren (“To radicalize”)
  • Waarom ben je altijd zo boos? (“Why are you always so angry?”)
  • Zie de Koran als een geheel. (“See the Quran as a whole.”)
  • Je bent mijn dochter niet meer. (“You’re not my daughter anymore.”)

Want to watch a Dutch movie in the cinema? Have a look at these useful words and phrases for going to the movies.
Do you think you’ll need a little help with your listening comprehension? Learn here how to improve your listening skills.

Top Verbs

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

A Woman Shushing Someone in a Movie Theater

Sit back, be quiet, and observe that Dutch movie.

In this guide, we’ve given you an overview of the best Dutch movies so that you can boost your Dutch knowledge while having fun. You’ve also learned that you can find these (and many other) Dutch movies on Netflix, NPO, RTL X, or YouTube. Get hooked, sit back, observe, and learn many new Dutch words, how to use them, and cultural insights with these popular Dutch-language movies.

Which of these movies are you most excited to watch, and why? Are there any good ones we missed? 

Would you like to improve your Dutch to better understand these Dutch movies? Have a look at DutchPod101’s many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings to practice your listening comprehension skills. 

Maybe you would like a private teacher? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching through our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members. Boost your Dutch with your private teacher’s interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips.

Happy learning!

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The Best Dutch TV Shows and Series to Boost Your Dutch


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could improve your Dutch sitting on the couch watching TV? Yes, learning Dutch can really be this fun. If you combine watching Dutch language TV shows with a Dutch language course, you can greatly improve your understanding of the language.

Luckily for you, there are many Dutch TV shows to watch, in every genre—Dutch comedy TV shows, cartoons on the Nickelodeon Dutch TV channel, crime series, Dutch reality shows, and more. There’s really something for everyone, and for every learner regardless of their current skill level.

In this article, we’ll first explain how watching Dutch TV can boost your Dutch. After that, we’ll give you tips on where to watch Dutch TV series. And last but definitely not least, we’ll give you a selection of the best Dutch TV shows and series.


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Table of Contents

  1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch TV Shows Will Help You Learn Dutch
  2. How Can You Watch the Most Popular Dutch TV Shows and Series?
  3. For Beginners
  4. For Intermediate Learners
  5. For Advanced Learners
  6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. 4 Reasons Why Watching Dutch TV Shows Will Help You Learn Dutch

It almost sounds too good to be true: learning a language while watching TV. Luckily, it’s really true. Here’s why watching TV shows in Dutch will really help you improve your language skills.

1. It lets you sit back and observe

In real Dutch conversations, you don’t have the time to sit back, observe, and think about what the other speaker is saying. Luckily, Dutch TV shows can provide you with this learning opportunity. You can just sit back, watch the shows, see how the speakers are using certain words, and expand your vocabulary. Is there something you don’t understand? Take some notes and look it up later.

2. It allows you to see the Dutch culture in action

Flags with Dutch Republic Lion

To be able to speak Dutch, you need to know the vocabulary. However, that’s not enough.

You also need to know something about the Dutch people and how they use their language. You need to become familiar with the Dutch culture.

A great way to immerse yourself into the Dutch culture is by watching Dutch TV (especially if you’re not in the Netherlands while learning the language). It’s a fun way to learn the nuances of the Dutch language, and how turns of phrase can communicate different meanings.

3. It stimulates multiple senses

When you watch Dutch television series, multiple senses will be stimulated simultaneously (your eyes and your ears). This stimulation of multiple senses is a great way to make connections between sounds and images.

If someone is talking about a cake on Dutch TV while showing it to the camera, your brain connects the image with the sounds. And voila, you’ve actually learned and retained the new word.

4. It’s entertaining

Have Fun While Learning Dutch

Learning a language may sometimes get a bit dull, so try to spice things up with fun learning activities. We all prefer to do things that are fun. When something is fun, you stick to it.

So when you get hooked on a new favorite Dutch TV show, you’ll really make an effort to keep on watching it and trying to understand it.

2. How Can You Watch the Most Popular Dutch TV Shows and Series?

There are several different ways to watch Dutch TV shows internationally, wherever you are:

  • Satellite TV: You can watch Dutch TV abroad on your television by getting a subscription to Dutch satellite television channels (such as the Nickelodeon Dutch TV channel). You can also watch one of the Dutch free-to-air satellite television channels.
  • NPO: You can watch many of the shows from the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep ( “Dutch Public Network” ) online, for free. However, the page doesn’t always allow you to see everything when you’re abroad. But still, even from abroad, you can see a nice selection of the best Dutch TV shows.
  • RTL: This is a Dutch Commercial Network with five different channels: RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8, and RTL Z. You can watch several of their Dutch TV shows online on RTL XL.
  • BVN: This abbreviation means het Beste van Vlaanderen en Nederland (“the Best of Flanders and the Netherlands”). BVN Dutch TV promotes itself as the only Dutch-language public TV channel abroad. You can watch it for free, from anywhere in the world, twenty-four hours a day. You can watch it online, via satellite, or via the BVN Dutch TV app.
  • Netflix: The collection here may not be extensive, but Netflix does have some Dutch series and movies. However, keep in mind that Netflix localizes the content according to your location, so you may see a limited selection if you’re not in the Netherlands.
  • YouTube: You can find some Dutch TV shows and series on YouTube, from classic Dutch shows to more recent ones. The offering is quite extensive, but it’s hard to find a whole series of a Dutch TV show on YouTube.

3. For Beginners

Let’s have a look at some great Dutch TV shows for beginners. These are an excellent source of entertainment and will help you continue to build a strong language foundation.

1. Buurman en Buurman

Buurman en Buurman ( “Neighbor and Neighbor” ) is a Czechoslovakian animated show about two clumsy but resourceful neighbors. In each episode, the neighbors do chores, but this often goes completely wrong in a humorous way. Because of the easy language and dry humor, it’s fun for children and adults. The voices in this Dutch version are provided by Kees Prins and Siem van Leeuwen.

    → This show is in Dutch, but the catchphrase “a je to!” is in Czech. It means “And that’s it!” and the characters say this after their chores are “done.” So don’t confuse this phrase with Dutch.

2. NOS Jeugdjournaal

NOS jeugdjournaal ( “NOS Youth Journal” ) is a Dutch television news program for children. It has a daily evening program, running every night for twenty minutes on NPO 3, as well as a short program in the morning during the week.

The Jeugdjournaal presents real news in language that young viewers can understand. Furthermore, the presenters and reporters speak very clearly. This makes it one of the best Dutch TV programs for beginners.

3. Time to Dance

Did you know that the Dutch have created some of the most famous talent shows worldwide? One of these great talent shows is Time to Dance. This talent show searches for the best dance talent in the Netherlands. Not much is said but a lot is felt, and watching this Netherlands TV show is a great way to understand Dutch emotions.

The expert jury, which consists of Dan Karaty, Robin Martens, and Gianinni Semedo Moreira, judge individual dancers, duos, and groups, on their dance talent. The show has had one season on RTL 4.

Here are a couple of phrases you’ll hear often on this show:

    30 seconden om te laten zien wat je kan. ( “30 seconds to show what you can do.” )
    Je krijgt maar één kans! ( “You only get one chance!” )

4. Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden

Goede Tijde, Slechte Tijden ( “Good Times, Bad Times” ), also called GTST, is the most famous Dutch soap opera. As it should be, this series is full of drama and therefore very addictive. We think this is one of the best TV shows for learning Dutch because you’ll soon be hooked on the story, which revolves around family, friendship, love, and deceit.

The language is clear and the topics aren’t that complicated, making it great for Dutch beginners. The GTST cast has many famous actors, such as Caroline de Bruijn, Erik de Vogel, Marly van der Velden, and Ferry Doedens. The show runs from Monday to Friday at eight p.m. on RTL 4.

4. For Intermediate Learners

Now we’ll continue with some of the top Dutch TV shows for intermediate learners.

1. Ik vertrek

This television program follows Dutch families as they journey abroad. They move to another country where they, for example, start a hotel or restaurant. And as you can imagine, a move like this is not without struggles—but that’s also what makes the program fun.

The participants may sometimes have quite a dialect, making their speech difficult to understand. However, once abroad, they’ll also speak English, French, German, or whatever the language of their new country is. Who knows, you might even find an episode where a Dutch family is moving to your country.

Here are some phrases you’ll hear often throughout the show:

    Nou, houdoe hè. ( “Well, goodbye.” )
              ● Houdoe is only used in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    Hier komt de badkamer…. ( “The bathroom will be here…” )
    Welkom in Frankrijk! ( “Welcome to France!” )

2. Toon

A little while ago, Netflix got a new Dutch TV show: Toon. This is one of the best funny Dutch TV shows of recent times.

Toon is about a hesitant composer of advertising jingles. The show begins with Toon (played by Joep Vermolen) coming home to find that his sister has organized a surprise party. Toon just wants a quiet evening, but people ask him to play something on his guitar. Toon sings a song suggesting that his guests shouldn’t stay too long at his party. The song is recorded with a cell phone and ends up on YouTube. The next day, the song has been watched by more than one million people and Toon is famous.

Toon is an easy and funny show that reflects Dutch humor. Therefore, it’s a perfect way for the intermediate learner to get to know the Dutch culture.

Here are some common phrases that come up in the show:

    Wanneer ga jij een liedje spielen? (“When will you play a song?” )
    Het onverwachte succes van uber loser Toon. ( “Big loser Toon’s unexpected success.” )
    Iedereen wil je hebben Toon. (“Everyone wants to have you, Toon.” )

3. Moordvrouw

In the police show Moordvrouw (Literally “Murder Woman,” but it refers to a woman who’s really amazing or beautiful), a detective team in the province of Friesland solves murder cases.

The main character Fenna Kremer, played by famous actress Wendy van Dijk, is a scattered and impulsive police inspector who tries to solve special cases with her colleagues. Other famous actors in the cast are Renée Soutendijk, Thijs Römer, and Porgy Franssen.

This is considered one of the best Dutch crime TV shows, sure to have you hooked. The clear language also makes it perfect for intermediate Dutch learners.

Here’s some vocabulary to get you started:

    We zijn een team. ( “We are a team.” )
    U lapt het recht aan uw laars, mevrouw Kremer. ( “You ignore the law, Mrs. Kramer.” )
              ● Literally: “You patch up the law onto your boot, Mrs. Kramer.”

4. Penoza

The exciting drama series Penoza gives you insight into the Dutch organized crime scene.

Penoza tells the story of Carmen van Walraven (played by the great actress Monic Hendrickx), who finds out that her husband plays a very important role in the organized crime world. She forces him to stop; however, he is suddenly liquidated. Carmen then suffers from all kinds of threats, after which she chooses her one way out: she works toward the top of organized crime.

This TV show ran for several seasons on NPO3 and even has a movie. It’s definitely the kind of show that will get you hooked, and you’ll work hard to try and understand everything. Luckily, the language is clear and sometimes mixed with some English and Spanish.

    Weet je wel wie je beschermt? ( “Do you know who you are protecting?” )
    Ik ga mijn familie niet verraden. ( “I’m not going to betray my family.” )

5. For Advanced Learners

Let’s now see the more advanced stuff. These are the best TV shows to learn Dutch if you already have some knowledge and experience under your belt.

1. Zondag met Lubach

Zondag met Lubach (“Sunday with Lubach” ) is a late-night show with Arjen Lubach as the bold and thorough host. From behind his desk, Arjen reads the news from the past week in a satirical and playful way. He does this on the basis of excerpts from the media from the previous week.

Watch this show to learn more about the culture and dry humor of the Dutch. It may be a bit hard to understand sometimes, as it often refers to the Dutch culture and current affairs. But if you understand it as an advanced Dutch learner, you’ll really get to know the Netherlands better.

These are phrases you’ll hear over and over again on this show:

    Dit was zondag met Lubach. ( “This was Sunday with Lubach.” )
    Bedankt voor het kijken. ( “Thanks for watching.” )
    Tot volgende week! ( “Until next week!” )

2. De wereld draait door

In De Wereld Draait Door (“The World Goes On”), or DWDD, host Matthijs van Nieuwkerk has live conversations with well-known and less well-known guests in the fields of politics, science, sports, culture, and media. Talks can be about anything related to the news, information, or entertainment. Matthijs is always assisted by a famous co-host.

The program also devotes attention to music from the Netherlands and abroad. It’s a great way to get to know the Dutch culture. However, be aware that they can speak very quickly (especially Matthijs) and there may be references to a lot of Dutch people you don’t know.

You can watch this show every weeknight at seven p.m. on NPO1.

3. Undercover

This Dutch-Belgium production, currently on Netflix, is all about Ferry Bouman (played by Frank Lammers), one of the largest ecstasy producers in the world.

Ferry lives a dream life in a country house on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. But everything changes with the arrival of two undercover agents (played by Anna Drijver and Tom Waes) who try to disrupt Bouman’s network.

This show is full of dialects, both Dutch and Belgium, so it may be a challenge to follow along. But the show is definitely worth it.

4. De luizenmoeder

De luizenmoeder ( “The Lice Mother” ) is one of the best Dutch comedy TV shows, set at the primary school De Klimop ( “The Ivy” ).

In the show, you follow the lives of the parents and teachers of this school. The director Anton (Diederik Ebbinge), the teachers, and the parents are all quite peculiar. This Dutch TV show is a great hit in the Netherlands because of its dry humor and bizarrity.

It may be difficult sometimes to understand its weird references, but it will give you a (crazy and exaggerated) insight into how things (sometimes) work in the Netherlands.

    Dat vinden wij niet raar, dat vinden we bijzonder. ( “We don’t find that strange, we find that special.” )
    Niet meer zwaaien. ( “Don’t wave anymore.” )
    Wat is dit jammer jongens. ( “What a shame, guys.” )
    Hallo allemaal, wat fijn dat je er bent. ( “Hello everyone, how nice that you are here.” )

    → Would you prefer to see a Dutch movie? Have a look at these Useful Words and Phrases for Going to the Movies.

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Sit Back and Learn

In this guide, we’ve given you an overview of the best Dutch TV shows and series. These shows will allow you to really boost your Dutch knowledge while having fun. You’ve also learned where to find these, and many other, Dutch TV shows. Get hooked, sit back, observe, and learn many new Dutch words, word usage, and cultural insights.

Would you like to improve your Dutch to better understand these Dutch shows? Have a look at DutchPod101’s many free resources, such as vocabulary lists with audio recordings. This way, you can practice your listening skills and understand the Dutch programs even more.

Maybe you would like a private teacher? DutchPod101 also offers personal one-on-one coaching with the premium MyTeacher service. Boost your Dutch with your private teacher’s interactive exercises, personalized feedback, and useful tips.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments if there are any good Dutch TV shows we didn’t include in this list! Which one do you want to watch first? We look forward to hearing from you.

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