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English Words Used in Dutch: Do You Speak Dunglish?

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Did you know that the Dutch language has close ties with English? 

English words are used in Dutch in many different ways, including through Dunglish (a crazy mixture of both languages) and loanwords. It’s important to know the difference between these two types of English words in Dutch, as loanwords are more widely accepted than Dunglish. 

The good news is that Dutch is full of English loanwords. Having these ‘freebies’ in your memory bank will make learning the language a bit easier. But the language exchange actually goes both ways, and you’ll also find basic Dutch words in English.

Are you ready to discover the ties between the Dutch and English languages with DutchPod101.com? We’ll teach you everything you should know about Dunglish, English loanwords, and common Dutch words in English—and all this in a fun and easy manner!

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Are you speaking Dunglish or Dutch?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Dunglish
  2. Dunglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Dunglish
  4. Common Dutch Words in English
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Introduction to Dunglish

Dunglish is a mixture of the Dutch and English languages. In this section, we’ll give you some insight on its history and usage, so that you really understand what it is and what role it plays in Dutch society.

1 – Its History

In Dutch, Dunglish is also called Nengels or steenkolenengels (“coal-English”). 

Steenkolenengels is a well-known term in the Dutch language, but few people know its origin. It goes all the way back to the early twentieth century, when Dutch port workers tried to speak a creative form of English in order to communicate with workers from the English coal ships.

2 – Its Usage in Dutch Culture

Dunglish is mostly perceived as being the mistakes native Dutch speakers make when speaking English (but it can, of course, also be the other way around).

Dutch people manage the English language relatively well. They learn the language from a young age, as it’s a basic school subject throughout their educational career and it often continues to be practiced in universities where there are a  large number of courses and programs in English. But the English language is also part of the cultural scene in the Netherlands. The Dutch listen to a lot of music in English and watch a lot of English-language movies with Dutch subtitles (as the Dutch don’t dub movies). 

However, they still make mistakes when speaking English. Errors range from mistakes in pronunciation and word order to incorrect conjugation. Even political leaders can be found guilty of speaking some Dunglish. To give a funny example: 

Dries van Agt, the former Dutch prime minister, supposedly once said: “I can stand my little man,” a direct translation from the Dutch saying: Ik kan mijn mannetje wel staan. (“I can stand up for myself.”)

2. Dunglish Examples

To start, let’s have a look at some examples of Dunglish. If the Dutch make these mistakes when speaking English, you’re bound to make them as well when speaking Dutch! 

1 – Incorrect Meaning of Words

Applying incorrect meanings to English words is the most typical Dunglish mistake of all. Words are incorrectly translated, which often leads to some understandable but funny mistakes. 

There is a funny story about a meeting between the former Dutch prime minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy and Winston Churchill in London. When Gerbrandy shook Churchill’s hand, he supposedly said “Good day,” to which Churchill responded, “This is the shortest meeting I have ever had.” Goedendag (“Good day”) is a common Dutch greeting, but in English it’s most often used when saying goodbye. A logical Dunglish mistake to make if you don’t know this little difference between the two languages.

Because Dutch and English are so similar to each other, incorrect translations are bound to happen. Let’s take the Dutch word eventueel for example: it means “potentially” in English, and not “eventually.” Another example is the Dutch word actueel, which means “current.” It is sometimes mistakenly translated as the English word “actual,” which means “genuine.” 

You can imagine how some humorous mistakes can be made due to incorrect translations like these! 


2 – Word Order

A Woman Standing in Front of a Blackboard that Has Speech Bubbles Drawn on It

Let’s try to avoid these Dunglish word order mistakes.

Another typical Dunglish mistake is to use incorrect word order, as the Dutch and English languages do not follow exactly the same word order. A typical word order mistake the Dutch make when speaking English is saying: “What mean you?” This is a literal translation of the Dutch question: Wat bedoel je? As you can see, the word order is different, which explains this Dunglish mistake. 

These word order mistakes are especially common in questions, as there is a particular difference between Dutch and English question word order. It’s common for English speakers to use the Dutch word doe (“to do”) when asking yes/no questions. Contrary to English, the Dutch don’t use the auxiliary “do” in questions. So don’t use it, otherwise your Dutch question word order will be incorrect. 

For example: “Do you like dancing?”

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

Another common word order mistake has to do with not knowing when to split the verbs in sentences. 

This mistake is so prevalent because while the Dutch like to split their verbs, this is not done in English. When there are multiple verbs in a Dutch sentence, one part of the verb will be at the beginning of the sentence and other parts will be at the end. So the complicated Dutch present perfect sentence De jongen heeft in het huis de gele deur met zware verf geverfd, may be literally translated to: “The boy has in the house the yellow door with black paint painted.” However, this should be: “The boy has painted the yellow door in the house with black paint.”

When should you be aware of this verb-splitting in Dutch? Be cautious when using present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect verbs. In such cases, you may need to add a verb to the end of the sentence. Here is the sentence structure for these tenses:

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

    → Would you like to learn more about Dutch word order? Have a look at our useful article on the subject and avoid this typical Dunglish mistake.

3 – Verb Conjugation

Aside from verb-splitting, English and Dutch verbs actually share many things in common. This sometimes causes Dutch speakers to conjugate English verbs according to Dutch grammar rules, and vice-versa.

Example of this Dunglish mistake made by Dutch speakers: We drinken het bier

  • Correct: “We drink the beer.”
  • Dunglish: “We drinken the beer.”

Example of this Dunglish mistake made by English speakers: “They kiss each other.”

  • Correct: Zij kussen elkaar.
  • Dunglish: Zij kus elkaar.

Although both languages use the infinitive (kussen or “to kiss”) in the plural form, the infinitive is different, causing confusion for Dutch and English speakers. 


4 – Errors in Pronunciation

As is to be expected, pronunciation mistakes abound between speakers of the two languages. One of the most common Dunglish pronunciation errors for Dutch speakers has to do with the difference between the English sounds ‘th’ and ‘t.’ For example, the Dutch may pronounce “third” as “turd,” “the” as “duh,” and “three” and “tree” as “dreeh.”

Another set of English pronunciation mistakes the Dutch make comes down to the tricky difference between the words “bat” / “bad” / “bet” / “bed” and “back” / “bag” / “beck” / “beg.” The difference between these sounds does not exist in the Dutch language, so they tend to pronounce these words the same way.

However, Dutch pronunciation may be even more difficult for English speakers. Do you remember those tricky diphthongs? A diphthong is the combination of two vowels that, together, make a particular sound—a sound that no vowel in Dutch makes on its own. 

A common Dunglish mistake that Dutch learners make is to pronounce the letters separately, rather than as one fluid sound. Let’s have a look at the nine Dutch diphthongs:

Letter(English) PronunciationExample
aiPronounced as [I], as in “I am” in Englishmais (“corn”)
auPronounced like [ow] in the English word “now”auto (“car”)
eiPronounced as the [i] in the English word “find”ei (“egg”)
euThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but you may know it from the French word “beurre.”leuk (“fun”)
iePronounced like [ee] in the English word “bee”mier (“ant”)
ijPronounced exactly the same as the Dutch ei diphthongwijn (“wine”)
oePronounced like [oo] in the English word “pool”moe (“tired”)
ouPronounced exactly the same as the Dutch au diphthongkoud (“cold”)
uiThis sound doesn’t exist in English, but it’s a combination of the [a] sound in “man” and a long Dutch u.muis (“mouse”)

Another pronunciation mistake English speakers make has to do with the pronunciation of sch as sk (with too much of a k sound).

Let’s have a look at how you should pronounce this: 

Letter(English) PronunciationExample 
schPronounced like an [s] followed by a harsh [ch], as in the Scottish word “loch”schaap (“sheep”)


Netherlands Flag Inside a Speech Bubble

Use these tips to improve your Dutch pronunciation.

3. Loanwords vs. Dunglish

In addition to Dunglish, there are also plenty of English words in the Dutch language that are used on a regular basis. In this section, we’ll discuss the difference between Dunglish and loanwords, and introduce you to some of the most common English words in Dutch.

1 – Loanwords vs. Dunglish: What’s the Difference?

Do you already understand the difference between loanwords and Dunglish? While both are a mixture of the Dutch and English languages, one is correct and the other isn’t. As may be clear from the previous section, Dunglish may be cute but it’s not correct.

So if you want to make use of the English language while speaking Dutch (or vice-versa), then it’s better to use loanwords. These are words that are borrowed from another language with little to no changes—in this case, these are English words used in Dutch with the same meaning and similar (if not identical) spelling. 

And lucky you! The Dutch language is full of English loanwords. It’s easy vocabulary that you don’t even have to study.

2 – List of English Words in Dutch

Some English loanwords in Dutch have become so common over time that they’ve become “Dutch” verbs. Let’s have a look at them:

Checken
 “To check”
Ik wil nog even met jou de route checken.
 “I just want to check the route with you.”

WhatsappenIk whatsapp je nu.
 Literally: “I Whatsapp you now.”
 Meaning: “I’m sending you a Whatsapp message now.”

It literally means “to Whatsapp,” but its meaning more closely relates to “to send a message with Whatsapp.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman Studying on Her Laptop with Headphones

Doesn’t this make learning Dutch more fun?

4. Common Dutch Words in English

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Let’s boost your Dutch learning.

How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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

A Useful Guide to Dutch Culture and Customs

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The first step in becoming comfortable in another country is to understand its culture. This will help you avoid the so-called ‘culture shock’ during your stay and make your interactions with natives more enjoyable. Learning about Dutch culture will not only make your experience in the Netherlands that much smoother, but it can also accelerate your language learning!

Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know about Dutch culture and customs. The Netherlands may be a small country, but it has a lot of culture to discover. It’s known for its progressive and explorative spirit, art, architecture, food, and even some special holiday traditions—all of which we’ll cover in this handy Dutch culture guide!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Dutch Cultural Values and Beliefs
  2. Dutch Religions
  3. Relationships
  4. Different Dutch Art Forms
  5. Dutch Food
  6. Dutch Holidays
  7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Dutch Cultural Values and Beliefs

Every culture has a set of widely shared ideologies that influence the daily lives of its people. Here are just a few key values and beliefs in modern Dutch culture that you should know about.

A- Tolerance (Verdraagzaamheid)

In the Netherlands, tolerance (verdraagzaamheid) is a prominent Dutch cultural value and it’s taught to children from a young age. The Dutch tradition of tolerance revolves around having respect for people’s freedom of choice regarding their attitudes and beliefs. However, there are parts of the Netherlands that are “more tolerant” than other parts. For example, Randstad and other larger cities tend to show a greater degree of tolerance toward others than smaller cities do. Take Amsterdam, for example. Here, the Dutch tradition of tolerance is clearly noticeable in the streets where you can find gay bars, coffee shops, and the red light district.

Many Dutch people are very proud of their country’s progressiveness on social and moral issues, such as LGBTIQ rights, soft drugs, euthanasia, and freedom of speech. However, a more conservative and intolerant attitude has become noticeable in the Netherlands in recent years, with politicians and other people campaigning against migration and other cultures. A study also shows that the younger generations (20-30 years old) are less progressive than the older generations. Nevertheless, many Dutch people still highly value tolerance and open-mindedness. 

B- Pragmatism

The Dutch may be some of the most pragmatic people in the world. 

They’re practical, down-to-earth, and realistic in their way of reasoning and approaching things. They tend to rationalize and analyze everything before proceeding with their actions. In addition, they’re very functional and try to find the “best way” to do something. This makes them very innovative and explorative in their way of doing things, leading to new inventions and progressive business ideas. This may also make them less spontaneous, more frugal, or even “boring,” but the Dutch just love calculating things. This has led them to some great results in business and other sectors.

Don’t worry! The Dutch do know how to have fun and relax; their pragmatic side mostly comes up in work situations.

C- Directness

Because they’re so pragmatic, the Dutch are also quite direct. 

This Dutch directness is well-known among foreigners, who often have to adjust to this behavior. At first, it may come across as rude, but it does have its positive side. Their honesty and direct communication help them achieve the best results in work and relationships.

Dutch people, in general, will let you know what they think. They don’t play games and people are frank if they don’t like something. While there are no lies to save your feelings, at least you won’t be let down by someone’s dishonesty. 

D- Privacy

The Netherlands is a small country with a large population for its size (in fact, it’s the country with the highest population density in Europe). This may be why Dutch culture values privacy so much. 

While the Dutch prefer privacy in their homes and workspaces, this longing for privacy also extends to their interactions with other people. This guarded behavior is only relaxed when around friends, family members, or close colleagues. The Dutch need some time to get to know other people before they open up. Try to respect this need for privacy—with time, you’ll notice a change in this behavior.

The privateness of the Dutch is related to another Dutch cultural value: modesty. The Dutch don’t like to brag about their accomplishments or wealth. They prefer to keep this private so as to promote fairness and equality in Dutch society.

2. Dutch Religions

Compared to many other cultures, religion plays a small role in modern-day Dutch culture and traditions. Still, it’s an important element to consider if you want to gain a complete view of the society. Here’s what you need to know about religion in the Netherlands! 

A- Religion in Dutch Society

The Netherlands previously had a practice called verzuiling (“pillarization“). This is the segregation of religious, social, and cultural groups through the creation of social and political institutions for each group. These groups would have their own schools, hospitals, newspapers, and TV channels. The (political) leaders of each group collaborated with each other to make sure they all had the same rights and functions, creating a smooth and articulated public life. 

This ideological and religious segregation lasted until the 1970s, after which the Netherlands experienced rapid secularization. Nowadays, religion plays a relatively small role in politics and society. However, you can still see remains of this practice in Dutch society, as there remain to be certain schools and media connected to a certain religion.

B- Dominant Religions in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, almost half of the population (42%) identifies with no religion. Aside from that, the religiosity of the Netherlands is characterized by its diversity: 23% of the Dutch population is Catholic, 14% are Reformed Protestant, 7% are Dutch Reformed, and 4% are Muslim.

The rapid secularization of the Netherlands in the 1970s led to a decreasing role of religion in Dutch culture. The only real exception would be communities in the Dutch Bible Belt, which runs through and around the cities of Zierikzee, Dordrecht, Utrecht, Zwolle, and Assen. 

On the other hand, one religion that has been growing in the Netherlands is Islam. The majority of Muslims in the Netherlands come from migrant families from North Africa and the Middle East. The Dutch Muslim population mainly lives in the cities of the Randstad.

    → Would you like to learn more about religion in the Dutch language? Have a look at the useful Religion vocabulary list from DutchPod101.

3. Relationships

One major window into other cultures is how different relationships are expected to be viewed, formed, and maintained. In this section, we’ll tell you all about the Dutch culture and customs regarding family, couples, friends, and colleagues.

A- Family

What Do You Think of the Dutch Family?

The family serves as the foundation of the Dutch social structure. 

However, families tend to be relatively small with only one or two children. Dutch family culture mainly focuses on the nuclear family, and less on the extended kin. This small group of family members remains important and central to the individual throughout their life. Because different members of a family tend to live close to each other, the Dutch do form relationships with extended family members, but to a lesser degree.

However, in the tolerant Dutch society a lot of other living arrangements and family forms are accepted as well. These include single-parent households, same-sex couples with children, and divorced couples that share responsibility for their children.

In Dutch society, independence is very much stimulated and young people are encouraged to leave their home at the age of 18 to study or work. However, this is not always possible due to increasing university costs and housing shortages in the bigger cities of the Netherlands.


B- Couples

In Dutch culture, dating practices are quite similar to those of other North-European countries or the United States. Throughout high school, teenagers socialize with and date peers from school, the neighborhood, or other social activities. 

The Dutch consider it normal to start dating different people at a young age or to have several relationships before moving in together or marrying. Not all couples marry, although the practice has become a bit more popular among younger generations. It’s common for a couple to marry after living together for many years.

The marriage ceremony generally entails two events: a civil registration and a celebration (which is usually a religious ceremony or a wedding party). LGBTIQ couples also have the right to marry. In 2001, the Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.

    → Would you like to find a little Dutch romance? Try our list of the cheesiest Dutch Quotes About Love to express your feelings in Dutch.

C- Friends

Friends play a central role in Dutch culture. As the Dutch are encouraged to be independent from a young age, they’re also encouraged to make lasting and reliant friendships. The Dutch often have friends from primary school, high school, university, work, and so on. They have different groups of friends and often see them separately—it’s not common to mix these different groups.

Do you want to make a Dutch friend? The Dutch may seem a bit cold or distant at first. It might be difficult to move from acquaintance status to friend status. However, when they open up, the Dutch are very loyal friends. So it’s a friendship that is worth the wait (and effort)!

D- Colleagues

In the Netherlands, relationships between colleagues differ from job to job depending on the formality of the workplace or industry. However, Dutch work relationships tend to be formal and quite reserved. They’re not very touchy-feely at work and appreciate it if other colleagues remain at a certain (emotional) distance. 

However, once people have been colleagues for a long(er) time, the Dutch open up and some friendships may develop. It’s quite common to have lunch together or to have drinks after work every now and then. These are the perfect moments to get to know your Dutch colleagues better.

    → Are you going to work in the Netherlands? Then discover our vocabulary list for Talking About the Workplace, with useful audio recordings to improve your pronunciation.

4. Different Dutch Art Forms

The Netherlands has a diverse cultural sector with a wide range of art forms: painting, architecture, music, television, and more. The Dutch art scene has many home-grown influences, and has also been influenced by many other world cultures.

A- Dutch Painting

The Netherlands has quite the painting legacy, with artists like Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh lining the halls of its history. While the seventeenth century painter Rembrandt van Rijn is known for the Night Watch (De Nachtwacht) and his use of light and shadows, the nineteenth century painter Vincent van Gogh is known for the Sunflowers (Zonnebloemen) and his impact on the development of modern art. 

Other great painters from the Netherlands include still-life artist Johannes Vermeer and geometrical pioneer Piet Mondrian. 

If you want to see the masterpieces of these and other painters, you can visit one of the many museums in Amsterdam: 

  • Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt and Vermeer)
  • The Van Gogh Museum
  • The Stedelijk Museum (contemporary art)

There are great museums in other cities as well, such as the Haags Gemeentemuseum (Mondrian) and the Mauritshuis (Rembrandt and Vermeer) in the Hague. Another great option is the Kröller-Muller Museum (impressionism, expressionism) in Otterloo.   

B- Dutch Architecture

The Dutch love architecture, both old and new. In the Netherlands, you can enjoy a lot of architectural pearls, as the Dutch have mastered this art form. This is shown in the country’s architectural landscape, from Pieter Post and his Dutch Baroque works to the twenty-first century practitioners such as Rem Koolhaas. But let’s not forget the De Stijl architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld either, who designed The Schroeder House in Utrecht, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rotterdam Is a City with Amazing Modern Dutch Architecture.

C- Dutch Music

The first thing you should know about Dutch music culture is that the Dutch have a strange relationship with music from their home country. Some may not listen to it at all, some may prefer music from abroad, and still others may prefer Dutch music sung in English. Of course, there are also fans of Dutch music sung in Dutch, but the Dutch tend to listen more to foreign music. 

Let’s dissect the music scene a bit:

On the pop and rock music scene, you can find artists who sing in English (Anouk and Kane) and artists who sing in Dutch (Jan Smit and André Hazes). The latter type of music is labeled volksmuziek (“folk music”), and it’s highly sentimental. Other popular Dutch pop, rock, and indie artists that sing in Dutch include Eefje de Visser, Doe Maar, Bløf, and Spinvis.

There’s a booming Dutch hip hop (Nederhop) scene, where rappers like Fakkelbrigade rap in Dutch. 

Last but not least, we have to mention the Dutch influence on electronic music as well, with the most famous names being Tiesto and DJ Hardwell.

D- Dutch Television & Films

The Dutch film industry is relatively small and there is very little international interest in Dutch films. For these reasons, the industry depends greatly on state funding. Popular Dutch movies are: Turks Fruit, All Stars, Soldaat van Oranje, Ciske de Rat, and Alles is Liefde

On Dutch television, you can watch a lot of foreign programs (with Dutch subtitles) and a lot of Dutch sitcoms, game shows, and soaps. The most famous Dutch soap is Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (“Good Times, Bad Times”), and a typical Dutch TV show is Boer Zoekt Vrouw (“Farmer Looks for Wife”). And yes, as the name implies, it’s a Dutch dating show for farmers.

5. Dutch Food 

Dutch cuisine has several influences from abroad, but there are also some authentic Dutch dishes and unique Dutch food products that you should definitely try when visiting the Netherlands.

A- Top 5 Dutch Dishes

Here is a selection of five delicious Dutch dishes you should definitely try:

  1. Bitterballen
    These deep-fried crispy meatballs are a popular Dutch pre-dinner snack that you’ll find on the menu of a lot of bars and even restaurants. They’re traditionally served with mustard.

  2. AVG
    AVG is short for Aardappelen, Vlees, en Groente (“Potatoes, Meat, and Vegetables”). This true Dutch classic is the base of every traditional Dutch meal.

  3. Stamppot
    Stamppot literally means “mash pot” and it’s a mix of mashed potato and vegetables such as kale, endive, cabbage, carrot, or sauerkraut. It’s often served with meat on the side (or sometimes mixed through) and gravy.

  4. Pannenkoeken
    Pannenkoeken, or Dutch “pancakes,” are thinner than the thick American pancakes but thicker than the French ones. They can be eaten with a wide range of toppings: syrup, powdered sugar (called poedersuiker in Dutch), apple, bacon, cheese, and many other savory or sweet toppings.

  5. Appeltaart
    The Dutch “apple pie” has a delicious cinnamon taste and its apple filling is mixed with raisins and sometimes even walnuts. The true Dutch “grandmother’s” apple pie, oma’s appeltaart, is a classic dessert or a perfect sweet snack during the day.

Would you like to learn how to order food in Dutch restaurants? Then have a look at this practical list of the Most Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Ordering Food or this Restaurant vocabulary list.

B- Some Unique Dutch Products

Dutch cheese is a national pride. The Dutch simply love their cheese. They mainly eat it on bread—boterham met kaas (“slice of bread with cheese”)—but they also enjoy it as a snack, or blokjes kaas (“little cubes of cheese”). Next time you’re in the Netherlands, try the world-famous Dutch Goudse kaas (“Gouda cheese”). There are a lot of tasty Dutch cheeses to try, but Gouda is the true classic.

Do You Like Dutch Cheese?

You’ll also find that the Dutch have a sweet tooth, so there are a lot of unique Dutch sweets you should try: 

  • stroopwafel (“syrup waffle”) – the most famous Dutch cookie
  • hagelslag – sprinkles which the Dutch mainly use to sprinkle on their bread
  • drop (“liquorice”) – can be sweet or salty

Would you like to learn more about Dutch food? Then you can’t miss our tasty guide to traditional Dutch food.

6. Dutch Holidays 

Even a basic knowledge of the national holidays and traditions will give you a better understanding of the culture of the Netherlands. There are many different Dutch holidays, so we’ll just cover the most important ones here.

A- King’s Day

Koningsdag (“King’s Day”) is celebrated on April 27, three days before the birthday of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander. Prior to this, the holiday was called Koninginnedag (“Queen’s Day”) and celebrated on April 30. It’s a national holiday involving a lot of flea markets, parties, and traditional activities. Every year, the royal family visits a different city. 

    → Check out our King’s Day word list for useful vocabulary about this Dutch holiday!

B- Liberation Day

Bevrijdingsdag (“Liberation Day”) is when the Dutch celebrate their liberation during World War II. It has been celebrated on May 5 every year since 1945 and it was declared a national holiday in 1990. Many cultural activities are planned on this Dutch holiday, such as bevrijdingsfestivals (“Liberation Day festivals”) with music and other activities. 

    → Would you like to expand your Dutch vocabulary? Have a look at our Liberation Day word list and celebrate this holiday like a true Dutchie.

C- Sinterklaas

The Dutch have their own Santa Claus: Sinterklaas. Three weeks before December 5, he arrives by steamboat with his helpers de Pieten. Their arrival is shown live on television, but a lot of children and their parents also go to the docks to see it in person. For the next three weeks, Sinterklaas and his helpers visit children at school or leave behind some sweet treat during the night. Then on December 5 (his birthday), he comes by their houses with even more presents.

D- Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Kerst (“Christmas”) in the Netherlands is celebrated on December 25 (eerste kerstdag, “first Christmas day”) and December 26 (tweede kerstdag, “second Christmas day”). Both are national holidays, spent with family over a nice Christmas dinner (or lunch).

Oudejaarsavond (“Old Year’s Evening”) is mostly celebrated with family and/or friends. People eat oliebollen (“Dutch doughnuts”), drink some bubbles, and set off fireworks. The Dutch also have a crazy tradition on New Year’s Day, where people go to the beach to take a New Year’s Dive (nieuwjaarsduik) in the ice-cold seawater.

What Do You Like the Most about Dutch Culture?

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this Dutch culture guide, you’ve learned the basics concerning Dutch culture and customs, from values and beliefs to relationships and food. Do you feel like you understand the Dutch culture a bit better? Do you think it will inspire you to improve your Dutch learning even more? We encourage you to make some use of the insight and knowledge we’ve provided here!

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com and our multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources. Our aim is to help you understand the Dutch language and culture even more. 

Remember that you can also use the DutchPod101 Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching so that you can really master the Dutch language. You’ll have your own private teacher who will help you with your pronunciation, review your work, and discuss any Dutch cultural topic you want to know more about. 

Happy learning!

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

A Tasty Guide to Traditional Dutch Food

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What better way to explore a culture than through its foods? You can’t say you know a country—or a language—if you don’t know something about the foods associated with it. So if you really want to get to know the Dutch, you must become familiar with Dutch food as well.

Dutch food and cuisine may not be the most famous and it may not be the most delicious either, but it does have its charm. It’s flavorful, it’s great for those chilly winter days, and it reflects how the Dutch love to enjoy life with a nice hot plate of soothing food, a savory snack, or something sweet. There’s something out there for every taste preference. 

Ready to dive into the unfamiliar world of traditional Dutch food with us?

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Dutch delicacies: from Dutch foods you must try in a restaurant to one of the best Dutch food recipes to make at home. 

Eet smakelijk! (“Enjoy your meal!”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Dutch Restaurants
  2. Unique Dutch Products
  3. Food Vocabulary
  4. Bonus: A Simple Dutch Recipe For Those Delicious Stroopwafels
  5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Must-Try Dishes in Dutch Restaurants

While you’re in the Netherlands, it may be hard to find traditional Dutch food in most restaurants. As typical Dutch food isn’t very classy, the Dutch often prefer going to restaurants with cuisines from other countries. However, the old Dutch food is making a comeback, and you can find it more often (sometimes with a little twist) in the more hip-and-happening restaurants and bars. 

Below are some Dutch food specialties you should absolutely try if you stumble upon them on the menu! 

A- Appetizer

Bitterballen

Try This Ultimate Dutch Pub Snack!

Do you know what bitterballen are? They’re deep-fried crispy meatballs! 

It’s a delicious Dutch pre-dinner snack that’s very popular and found on the menu in many bars and restaurants. The Dutch love to eat it when they’re having some drinks or waiting for their meal. These delicious, deep-fried crispy meatballs are traditionally served with mustard. It’s truly the ultimate Dutch pub snack!

B- Main Course

Snert

Snert: The Perfect Dish After a Long, Cold Day.

Snert (“pea soup”) is a true traditional Dutch food. It’s a thick, hearty green stew of split peas, vegetables, and meat. 

The soup is mostly served a day after its preparation because that gives it time to thicken. While snert may not be the most attractive name for a dish, it’s actually a delicious soup that’s a meal in itself. This is a typical Dutch food item during the cold winter, especially popular after ice skating. It may be hard to find in Dutch restaurants, but you can still find it in some of the older places. Another name for snert is erwtensoep.

AVG

Are You a Fan of the Dutch AVG Classic?

AVG is short for Aardappel, Vlees, en Groente (“Potato, Meat, and Vegetables”). This might be the most classic thing to eat in the Netherlands as it’s the base of every traditional Dutch meal. It’s served in a lot of Dutch households, with the kind of meat or vegetables used differing from day to day. 

A lot of the traditional Dutch foods have been influenced by farmers, so the meals are quite simple yet tasty and filling—everything you need after a day of hard work in the outside air. Take the next dish, for example.

Stamppot

This Is a Dutch Hutspot, a Stamppot Variation with Carrot.

Stamppot literally means “mash pot” and it’s a mix of potato mash and vegetables that may or may not be leftovers. There are special combinations to accommodate different preferences. The vegetables typically used in this mix are kale, endive, cabbage, carrot, or sauerkraut. It’s often served with meat on the side (or sometimes mixed through) and gravy. This is the ultimate comfort food, and one of the most popular Dutch winter recipes. 

Hachee

When Would You Like to Eat Some Warm Hachee?

Hachee is a tasty Dutch stew with meat, fish, or poultry and vegetables in a thick gravy sauce with laurel leaves and cloves. It takes quite some time to make hachee, as it simmers for a long time—but this long process also results in a very tender meat. It’s an old Dutch food that was originally a peasant dish, invented to use up leftovers. 

As you might have noticed, its name sounds French. It comes from the French verb hacher which means “to chop,” referring to the preparation of the vegetables and meat.

Pannenkoeken

The Dutch Pancake Is Nothing Without Its Delicious Toppings!

Pannenkoeken, or Dutch “pancakes,” are different from any other type of pancake. They’re thinner and more crepe-like than the thick American pancakes but thicker than the French ones. 

What’s even better is that you can eat them with a wide range of toppings: syrup, powdered sugar (called poedersuiker in Dutch), apple, bacon, cheese, and a lot of other savory or sweet toppings. You can even find special all-you-can-eat pancake restaurants in the Netherlands. The Dutch typically eat pancakes for dinner, so it’s not a breakfast food like it is in some other countries.

But that’s not all! There’s another special variation of this traditional Dutch recipe: small pancakes called poffertjes. These are little fluffy round pancakes, often served with butter and powdered sugar. You may find them in pancake restaurants or street markets.

C- Dessert

Appeltaart

Discover Why the Dutch Apple Pie Really Is Different from All Other Versions Worldwide.

Appeltaart means “apple pie,” and the true Dutch “grandmother’s apple pie” (oma’s appeltaart) is a classic dessert and makes for the perfect sweet snack during the day. This apple pie has a delicious cinnamon taste and its apple filling is mixed with raisins and sometimes even walnuts. And if that’s not enough, it’s often served with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. If you want to try a truly Dutch dessert, this is the way to go.

Vlaai

Don’t These Little Vlaaitjes Look Beautiful?

Vlaai is a sweet pie that originated from the province of Limburg, making it a real classic from the southern Netherlands. Its classic version has a yeast pie base, a filling of creamy custard, and a crumbly topping. However, nowadays, there are several different vlaai fillings: chocolate, rice pudding, apples, bananas, strawberries, and the list goes on. If you want to try a traditional Dutch vlaai, you have to try it in Limburg, the proud province of this special pie.

2. Unique Dutch Products


Now that you’ve learned about the must-try Dutch dishes, it’s time to dive into some lesser-known (but equally delicious!) foods in the Netherlands. The Dutch love to snack on sweet and savory foods alike, so let’s see what their favorites are! 

A- Sweet Foods

Stroopwafels

Do You Already Know This Classic Dutch Food?

The stroopwafel (“syrup waffle”) is definitely the most famous Dutch cookie, and it’s famous for a reason! If you were in the Netherlands and could only eat one Dutch sweet treat, then it should definitely be a stroopwafel

This cookie consists of two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup. If you can find a newly baked, hot stroopwafel at a street market or bakery, then go for it. If not, the supermarkets also sell them in packages and those are quite delicious as well.


Hagelslag

Dutch Sprinkles Are Great on a Slice of Bread.

Hagelslag are sprinkles, which the Dutch mainly use to sprinkle on their bread (although you can also use it on many other types of food). Chocolade hagelslag (“chocolate sprinkles”) are the most popular, but there are also other flavors. 

Imagine this: a nice fresh slice of bread with some butter (to keep the sprinkles on) and delicious hagelslag. Yes, the Dutchies know what they’re doing and how to enjoy their bread. They mostly eat this for breakfast or lunch. 

Drop

Will You Love Drop as Much as the Dutch Do?

Drop (“liquorice”) is an old Dutch food—and it may not be the liquorice you know and love. It can either be very sweet or very salty, making it versatile as a sweet or savory food. You might have to get used to the Dutch version of liquorice due to its strong flavors. The Dutch love their drop and will probably offer some to you in informal settings. Definitely try it, but be aware and approach it with caution.

Oliebollen

In the Netherlands, It’s Not NYE without an Oliebol.

Oliebollen literally translates to “oil balls.” Although it may not sound very delicious, this New Year’s Eve classic is a classic for a reason. 

They are deep-fried balls of dough dusted in powdered sugar; they taste quite like a donut. There are different varieties of the oliebol, and they can come with or without raisins inside. People make it in their homes on New Year’s Eve, but you can also buy them at food stands on the streets in December.

B- Savory Foods

Patat

What Sauce Would You Like on your Dutch Fries?

Patat are thick Dutch fries, but they’re like no fries you’ve eaten before. You can’t leave the Netherlands until you’ve tried some! They come in a cone and can be eaten with great combinations of sauces. 

The Dutch make the craziest combinations. For example:

  • patat speciaal (“special fries”) – fries with a mix of (curry)ketchup, mayonnaise, and onions
  • patatje oorlog (literally “little war fries”) – a mix of peanut sauce, mayonnaise, and onions

Haring

Not Everybody's Favorite, but It Might become Your Favorite Dutch Food!

The rauwe haring (“raw herring”) is not everybody’s favorite, but this raw fish is a true Dutch classic! You should definitely give it a go. 

You can spot the haringkarren (“herring carts”) on a lot of busy streets. They serve haring met ui (“herring with onion”) or on bread with pickles and onions (broodje haring). The best time to eat haring in the Netherlands is between May and July, because the haring is sweetest during this time.

Gouda kaas

The Dutch Love Their Gouda Cheese.

Our unique Dutch food list wouldn’t be complete without the famous Dutch Goudse kaas (“Gouda cheese”). The Dutch are quite serious about their cheese and you’ll quickly notice this when visiting a Dutch cheese market, shop, or even a supermarket. 

There are a lot of tasty Dutch cheeses to try, but Gouda is the true classic. The Dutch mostly eat it on their bread, boterham met kaas (“slice of bread with cheese”), but they also enjoy it as a snack, blokjes kaas (literally “little cubes of cheese”). Needless to say, this goes perfectly with a nice cold beer.


3. Food Vocabulary

Now that you’re good and hungry, let’s go over some practical words and phrases you’ll need to talk about, order, and prepare food!

A- Talking About Food

  • Ik heb honger. (“I’m hungry.”)
  • Ik ben vol. (“I’m full.”)
  • Ik sterf van de honger! (“I’m starving!”)

  • Ik houd van kaas. (“I love cheese.”)
  • Ik vind kaas lekker. (“I like cheese.” / Literally: “I find cheese tasty.”)
  • Ik houd niet van kaas. (“I don’t like cheese.”) – The word used here means “love,” but in a casual way.
  • Ik vind kaas niet lekker. (“I don’t like cheese.”)

  • Ik eet geen vlees. (“I don’t eat meat.”)
  • Ik ben vegetariër/veganist. (“I am a vegetarian/vegan.”)
  • Ik ben allergisch voor noten. (“I’m allergic to nuts.”)

  • Mijn favoriete gerecht is stamppot. (“My favorite dish is stamppot.”)

B- Cooking

Ingredients

  • Zout (“Salt”)
  • Peper (“Pepper”)
  • Suiker (“Sugar”)
  • Water (“Water”)
  • Melk (“Milk”)
  • Olijfolie (“Olive oil”)
  • Eieren (“Eggs”)
  • Bloem (“Flour”)
  • Fruit (“Fruit”)
  • Groenten (“Vegetables”)
  • Vlees (“Meat”)

Utensils

  • Een pan (“A saucepan”)
  • Een koekenpan (“A frying pan”)
  • Een oven (“An oven”)
  • Een mes (“A knife”)
  • Een snijplank (“A cutting board”)

Cooking Verbs

  • Koken (“To cook”)
  • Stoven (“To stew”)
  • Bakken (“To bake”)
  • Braden (“To roast”)
  • Frituren (“To fry”)
  • Snijden (“To cut” / “To slice”)
  • Schillen (“To peel”)
  • Raspen (“To grate”)

C- Ordering Food

  • Het menu. (“The menu.”)
  • Een tafel voor twee. (“A table for two.”)
  • Een glas water, alsjeblieft. (“A glass of water, please.”)
  • Een voorgerecht (“A starter”)
  • Een hoofdgerecht (“A main course”)
  • Een dessert (“A dessert”)

A dessert can also be called nagerecht, literally meaning “after dish.” This makes sense, seeing as voorgerecht literally means “before dish.”

  • De rekening. (“The bill.”)
  • De fooi. (“The tip.”)

4. Bonus: A Simple Dutch Recipe For Those Delicious Stroopwafels

Have you tried stroopwafels already and gotten hooked? Or would you love to try them someday but won’t be traveling to the Netherlands anytime soon? Either way, treat yourself at home with one of the best Dutch food recipes you could imagine!

Hold your horses, you do need a waffle cone machine or waffle iron for this recipe. Do you have one at home? Lucky you. Now you can try this delicious Dutch recipe at home.

Preparation time: 40-65 minutes
Baking time: 10-20 minutes

Ingredients

For the waffles:

  • 500 grams of flour
  • 250 grams of melted butter
  • 150 grams of white caster sugar
  • 50 grams of yeast
  • a little bit of lukewarm milk
  • an egg

For the filling:

  • 500 grams of syrup
  • 300 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 75 grams of butter
  • a teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Preparation

There are two secrets to preparing the best stroopwafel:

    ★ You can only process the waffles warm, otherwise they break. 
    ★ The butter and sugar have to be worked through the syrup, making it even stiffer and stickier.

The preparation also consists of two parts: baking the waffles and making the filling. 

Make a batter with the waffle ingredients; it will be a fairly firm mass that you’ll have to knead together. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes, preferably in a moist-warm place. Knead it again and then divide the dough into small balls.

Then prepare the filling. Heat the syrup and mix in the other ingredients. 

Then put a ball of dough into a waffle iron and bake it on both sides. Use a knife to lift the waffle out of the iron and cut the waffle open while it’s still warm. Yes, this is the tricky part. If you wait too long, the waffle will break. Spread the filling on one waffle half and press the other half onto it.

Eet smakelijk! (“Enjoy your meal!”)

Enjoy Your Meal!

5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this guide, you’ve learned all about Dutch cuisine, from the must-try Dutch dishes to a delicious stroopwafel recipe.

Did we forget any typical Dutch food you know of? If so, feel free to drop us a comment below! 

Would you like to learn more Dutch food recipes or receive a bit of help in discovering more about the wonderful world of Dutch food?

DutchPod101 has multiple vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other useful free resources that will help you discover traditional Dutch food and cuisine. Practice those useful words and let your taste buds take you on a wild ride of delicious Dutch food.

If you’d like to boost your language studies, you can also use DutchPod101’s Premium PLUS MyTeacher service. Your own personal teacher can help you discover even more about Dutch food and cuisine with one-on-one coaching. Through personalized feedback and pronunciation advice, your teacher will also help you increase your understanding of the Dutch language and culture. 

Happy learning (and happy dining)!

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A Guide to Dutch Grammar Rules

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Are you thinking about learning Dutch and wondering what to study first? Or are you already studying Dutch but getting a bit lost in the Dutch grammar

Then you’re in the right place! This comprehensive Dutch grammar overview from DutchPod101 is the perfect place to start your studies or refresh yourself on the basics. 

This one page contains a breakdown of the concepts of Dutch grammar you really need to know, including the more difficult aspects. You’ll walk away from this lesson with a greater understanding of Dutch, from word types and tenses to tips on avoiding the most common Dutch grammar mistakes.

It may be a challenge, but we know you can face it with the best tool in town!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Verbs & Tenses
  3. Dutch Nouns
  4. Gender & Articles
  5. Avoid the Most Common Dutch Grammar Mistakes
  6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. General Rules

Let’s start on a positive note: From a grammatical perspective, the Dutch language has a lot in common with both English and German. It has similar types of words, a lot of loanwords from these languages (but also from others, such as French and Hebrew; nearly one-third of the Dutch language is borrowed), and many similar grammatical structures.

As you can see, knowing either English or German will help you a lot when studying Dutch grammar. 

Dutch Word Types

Like most Germanic languages, Dutch has the following word types:

  • Articles (indefinite or definite):
    De kat (“The cat”)
  • Nouns:
    De kat (“The cat“)
  • Verbs:
    Wij lopen. (“We walk.”)
  • Adjectives (used to describe a noun):
    De kleine kat (“The little cat”)
  • Adverbs (used to describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb):
    Ik ga morgen naar school. (“I will go to school tomorrow.”)

  • Pronouns (singular or plural):
    Wij lopen. (“We walk.”)

  • Conjunctions (used to connect words or phrases)
    Een hond en een kat (“A dog and a cat”)

  • Prepositions (followed by nouns, verbs, or pronouns)
    De hond is in het huis. (“The dog is in the house.”)

So when you compare Dutch grammar with English grammar, you can see that all of these word types have a direct equivalent in English.

Dutch Word Order

In Dutch grammar, the word order for the most basic sentences consists of a subject and a verb:

Subject + Verb

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

In Dutch, the subject is almost never dropped; the sentence structure is simply not complete without the subject.

    → How do you make a negative sentence? Place the word niet (“not”) AFTER the verb.

So that’s step one. Let’s make it a bit more complicated by adding an object. The (direct) object in Dutch is usually placed right after the verb.

Subject + Verb + (Direct) Object

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

These are direct objects because they’re a person or thing that is directly affected by the actions of the subject. But in Dutch, there are also indirect objects, which are a person or thing that is somehow involved in the action.

The indirect object can be placed after the direct object.

Subject + Verb + Direct object + Indirect object 

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

DutchPod101 also has a comprehensive Dutch Word Order Guide. Make sure to check it out for more detailed information on how this works!

2. Verbs & Tenses

Learning Verbs

In Dutch grammar, verbs conjugate for number (singular and plural) and person (first, second, and third person), just like they do in English. For reference, here’s a table of the grammatical persons in singular and plural:

SingularPlural
First PersonIk (“I”)Wij (“We”)
Second PersonJij (“You,” casual) 
U (“You,” formal)
Jullie (“You”)
Third PersonHij (“He”)
Zij (“She”)
Het (“It”)
Zij (“They”)

It may be a bit overwhelming at first, but let’s just go through the basics, step-by-step.

The Infinitive

What’s the infinitive in Dutch? Well, a Dutch infinitive verb is the plural and present tense of a verb (also known as the entire verb). They usually end with -en, as in lopen (“to walk”). 

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.”

Conjugation Basics

Let’s give you a quick overview of the eight basic tenses that exist in Dutch.

There are two main tenses: the present and the past. 

Then, there are six “semi-tenses” that appear when these two main tenses (present or past) interact with a mood (factual or hypothetical) or an aspect (temporary or continuing).

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”

Please note that praten is a regular verb, meaning it follows the normal conjugation rules. Things get a bit more complicated when you throw irregular verbs into the mix!

The 2 Most Important Verbs


Now that you know the basics of Dutch conjugation, let’s have a look at two crucial verbs. The first one, unfortunately, is irregular and doesn’t follow normal conjugation rules:

  • Zijn (“To be”)

    Ik ben (“I am”) / Jij bent (“You are,” singular) / Hij is (“He is”) / Wij zijn (“We are”) / Jullie zijn (“You are,” plural) / Zij zijn (“They are”)

    For example: Ik ben gelukkig. (“I’m happy.”)

The second one, luckily, is a regular verb:
  • Hebben (“To have”)

    Ik heb (“I have”) / Jij hebt (“You have,” singular) / Hij heeft (“He has”) / Wij hebben (“We have”) / Jullie hebben (“You have,” plural) / Zij hebben (“They have”)

    For example: Wij hebben een kat. (“We have a cat.”)

Want to learn more? Have a look at our vocabulary list of the 50 Most Common Verbs and our Beginner’s Guide to Dutch Conjugation

3. Dutch Nouns

In the Dutch language, a given noun can be singular or plural, and each noun has a grammatical gender. The gender isn’t overtly marked, so it has to be learned for every case. However, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to recognize the gender (and thus, the correct article) in the next section.

The Dutch Plural

Do You Already Know How to Make Dutch Nouns Plural

The Dutch plural is made by changing the end of the word, similarly to how English plurals are formed. The most common way to make a noun plural is by adding -en or -s.

Most of the time, we add -en:

SingularPlural
Kat (“Cat”)Katten (“Cats”)
Kus (“Kiss”)Kussen (“Kisses”)

However, sometimes we add -s. For example, when the word ends with an -en, -el, -em, or -er:

SingularPlural
Tante (“Aunt”)Tantes (“Aunts”)
Appel (“Apple”)Appels (“Apples”)

When a relatively modern noun ends in a long vowel, an -‘s (with an apostrophe) is often used in the plural. What if they end in -ee or ? Then no apostrophe is used. Older words generally use -en or -ën (with diaeresis).

SingularPlural
Baby (“Baby”)Baby´s (“Babies”)
Café (“Bar”)Cafés (“Bars”)
Ree (“Deer”)Reeën (“Deer”)

But there are also other, less common endings for plural nouns: -eren and -a.

  • Het kind (“The child”) is singular. / De kinderen (“The children”) is plural.
    Het museum (“The museum”) is singular. / De musea (“The museums”) is plural.

There are more rules and exceptions, but let’s just stick with the basics for now.

The Dutch Diminutive

The Dutch love to use the diminutive, and not only for small things. Really, it can be used for anything that’s cute, funny, sweet, young, old, or even annoying. 

The basic formula for the diminutive is noun + je:

  • Het kindje (“The little child”)

Only a -je is added when the word ends with: -b, -c, -d, -f, -g, -ch, -k, -p, -q, -s, -sj, -t, -v, -x, or -z.

However, sometimes the diminutive is formed with -tje, -etje, -pje, or -kje.

Is the vowel of the last syllable both short and stressed, and followed by a sonorant? Then use -etje:

  • Het dingetje (“The little thing”)
  • Het vriendinnetje (“The little girlfriend”)

In almost all other cases, the basic form -tje is used:

  • Het vrouwtje (“The little woman”)
  • Het schooltje (“The little school”)
Diminutives in Dutch Are Perfect for When You Like Someone.

4. Gender & Articles

De and het are both definite articles that mean “the.” The masculine and feminine words generally get de, while all neuter words get het. Let’s have a look:

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

However, there’s not always a good explanation for why a Dutch word has a specific gender—not to mention that Dutch words don’t have a clear gender indication. Luckily, there are a few indications that can help you:

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

5. Avoid the Most Common Dutch Grammar Mistakes

Are you feeling confident with the Dutch grammar basics so far? 

If so, great! And if not, don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of it with time.

Before we close, let’s have a look at some of the most common Dutch grammar mistakes that learners make. Knowing what to watch for will greatly help you come to grips with the language!

Dt-ending

Although the Dutch present tense might look easy, one of the most common Dutch grammar mistakes is to misuse the dt-ending. The dt-ending is used on verbs that have a -d root ending, when they’re used with certain subjects. 

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

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

As you can see, in the verb antwoorden, because the root ends with a -d, it becomes -dt in the “You” and “He, she, it” subjects. And in fietsen, because the root ends with an -s (and not a -d), only a -t is added.

It may be good to look over a few different conjugation charts to really get this concept ingrained in your memory! 

Yes/No Questions

Let’s Master Those Yes/No Questions in Dutch.

One thing that tends to be difficult about Dutch grammar for English speakers is how similar the two languages are. This can make it tempting to apply English grammar rules to Dutch, even when it’s incorrect to do so. For example, using the Dutch word doe (“to do”) in yes/no questions is grammatically incorrect; the Dutch don’t use the auxiliary “do” in questions.

Let’s see some examples:

Example 1: “Do you like dancing?”

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

Example 2: “Do you want to marry me?”

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

Let’s have a look at the correct word order:

Working verb + Subject + (Object +) Other verb ?

Some simple examples:

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

For more question examples, don’t forget to have a look at our Top 25 Questions You Need to Know!

Splitting Verbs

The Dutch love to use a lot of verbs in their sentences and split them: one part of the verb will be at the beginning of the sentence and other parts will be at the end. 

So try to be aware of this. Be cautious when using the present perfect, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, conditional, and conditional perfect verbs, as you may need to add a verb at the end of the sentence.

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

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

Here’s an example for each of the six Dutch tenses that can require a verb at the end of the sentence:

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

Are you just beginning your Dutch studies? Then don’t worry too much about this! First, have a look at this useful lesson series on the Top 10 Sentence Patterns for Beginners.

6. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

In this Dutch grammar rules guide, you’ve learned a lot of essential Dutch grammar concepts, from general rules to some useful tips on how to avoid common Dutch grammar mistakes.

Whether you’re just starting Dutch or strengthening your knowledge, you can use this overview as a useful guide whenever you need quick access to the basic Dutch grammar rules. Did we forget any important Dutch grammar topic you would like to learn more about?

Make sure to explore DutchPod101.com! Boost your studies with our useful vocabulary lists and plenty of other free resources to practice your language skills with. We are the best place to learn about Dutch grammar online!

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

Happy learning!

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30 Inspirational Dutch Quotes With English Translations

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

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

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

1. Quotes About Wisdom

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

#1

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

#2

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

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

#3

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

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

#4

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

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


2. Quotes About Success

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

#5

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

#6

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

#7

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

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

#8

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

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

#9

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

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

3. Quotes About Love

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

#10

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

#11

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

#12

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

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

#13

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

Of course, you can replace “man” for women, children, or even animals: De liefde van een kat gaat door de maag. (“The love of a cat goes through the stomach.”) 

#14

DutchOngelukkig in het spel, gelukkig in de liefde. 
Literally“Unlucky in the game, happy in love.” 
EquivalentLucky at cards, unlucky in love.
This is one of those love quotes in Dutch with a nearly identical English equivalent. Those who always lose when gambling often have a happy love life. 

What do you think about that? Is it true for you?

#15

DutchOude liefde roest niet.
Literally“Old love does not rust.” 
This beautiful Dutch quote has an identical English counterpart, as well as its own song from the famous Dutch eighties band VOF De Kunst.

They sing: Oude liefde roest niet, maar verdwijnt net zoals jij. (“Old love does not rust, but disappears just like you.”) 
Did You Feel the Love with These Dutch Love Quotes?

4. Quotes About Life

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

#16

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

#17

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

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

#18

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

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

#19

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

#20

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

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

5. Quotes About Family & Friends

Express Your Love of Your Family with These Dutch Quotes

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

#21

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

#22

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

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

#23

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

#24

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

#25

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

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

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

6. Quotes About Learning

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

#26

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

#27

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

#28

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

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

#29

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

#30

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

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

Happy learning on DutchPod101.com!

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32 Useful Dutch Business Phrases You Should Know

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

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

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

Let’s get down to business in the Netherlands!

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

1. Formal Greetings, Introductions, and Goodbyes

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

1- Greetings

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

1. Dag. (“Hello.”) 

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

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

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

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

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

2- Introductions

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

4. Ik ben ___. (“I am ___.”)

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

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

3- Goodbyes

The Handshake Is the Way to Go

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

5. Dag. (“Goodbye.”) 

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

6. Tot ziens. (“See you.”)

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

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

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

4- Jij or U?

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

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

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

2. Nailing a Job Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Nail Your Dutch Job Interview

3. Interacting with Coworkers

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Goed bezig! (“Doing good!”) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Friendly with Your Dutch Coworkers

4. Sound Smart in a Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manage Those Phone Calls Like a Pro

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Going on a Business Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Let’s Get Down to Business in Dutch

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

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

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

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

Happy learning, and good luck in your business endeavors!

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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.

Maastricht 

  • 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 

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. 

Venlo

  • 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 DutchPod101.com 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 DutchPod101.com team!

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Learn Dutch Online: YouTube Channels to Improve Your Skills

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Would you like to improve your Dutch while having fun? No, it’s not too good to be true. 

Learning a language is more than just cramming endless vocabulary lists into your memory or picking your brain to understand those tricky Dutch grammar rules. To really learn Dutch, it’s crucial that you find ways to make learning more fun. If you enjoy learning, you’ll stay motivated.

So what might be a fun Dutch learning method? As the title already gave away, you can have fun and learn Dutch online with YouTube. 

Yes, YouTube is a great medium for improving your Dutch. There are several Dutch YouTube channels dedicated to teaching foreigners the language, and plenty more that you can watch just for fun and still pick up the language. And due to YouTube’s infinite offering of videos, you’ll never get bored! 

In this article, you’ll discover the ten best Dutch YouTube channels in a variety of categories. Starting with the DutchPod101 channel, you’ll find everything you need to immerse yourself in the Dutch language and make quick progress.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Dutch Table of Contents
  1. Learning Dutch Online with YouTube
  2. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

1. Learning Dutch Online with YouTube

Ready to improve your Dutch on YouTube? 

To make it easy for you to find what you need, we’ll provide you with a category, a level, and a short summary of each channel. 

Have fun and learn some Dutch!

Learn to Speak Dutch on YouTube by Watching Videos

1. DutchPod101 YouTube Channel

Category: Language
Level: All levels, depending on the video

Since you’re already familiar with DutchPod101, you might also know about the DutchPod101 YouTube channel. And let’s be honest—there’s just no better YouTube channel out there for learning Dutch. 

Thanks to our wide variety of free content, you’ll surely be able to find what you’re looking for. You name it and the DutchPod101 YouTube channel has it: from grammar and vocabulary to listening, pronunciation, podcasts, and cultural insights. Our channel features some great tools for improving your Dutch, such as listening comprehension videos, new word exercises, and useful videos on how to learn Dutch online with YouTube. 

This channel really has all the resources you need, for all levels and about every topic imaginable.

2. Dutchforn00bs

Category: Language & Culture
Level: All levels, depending on the video

Don’t worry, we won’t spend the entire article tooting our own horn. There are many other Dutch language YouTube channels that will help you improve your Dutch in a diverse and interactive manner. 

Dutchforn00bs is such a place, offering insight into Dutch grammar, pronunciation, and culture.

As you learn Dutch, YouTube videos like those on Dutchforn00bs will prove to be an invaluable resource. This channel provides a diverse offering of videos on numerous language and culture topics, and breaks them down for easy comprehension. To give you some examples, this channel has videos on the pronunciation of letters, grammar tutorials, and speaking tips.

3. Learn Dutch with Niels!

Category: Language
Level: All levels, depending on the video

We continue with another channel that might just be a nice distraction from your Dutch textbooks. Learn Dutch with Niels! offers several useful video lessons on learning Dutch, from basic grammar to word order. Dutch YouTuber Niels is a former teacher with a passion for his old profession; you’ll certainly notice this in his Dutch lessons on YouTube.

On this channel, you can expect to learn more about Dutch sentence structures, grammar, and the meaning and use of verbs. In addition, you’ll learn to produce your own sentences and ultimately become a more flexible and autonomous Dutch speaker.

    → Would you like to learn more Dutch verbs? Discover everything you need to know in our vocabulary list of The 50 Most Common Verbs!

4. Learn Dutch Online With Rozemarijn

Category: Language
Level: All levels, depending on the video

Improve your Dutch by watching these videos in chronological order; we recommend starting at the bottom of the page and working your way up. This way, you’ll start with the easier lessons, and flow with the logical order of the videos. So sit back, enjoy the show, and learn more about basic Dutch words, pronunciation, spelling, and grammar. Each video features spoken and written Dutch, as well as simple English subtitles. Practice your pronunciation and really learn to speak Dutch with YouTube.

The videos on this channel are made by a Dutch YouTuber named Rozemarijn (Rosemary). She studied Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Utrecht, and started making videos for family members who grew up abroad.

5. Learn Dutch with Alain

Category: Language & Culture
Level: All levels, depending on the video

Let’s give you one more Dutch language learning YouTube channel: Learn Dutch with Alain. Dutch YouTuber Alain is a Dutch language teacher who uses his classroom experience to create diverse, fun, and interactive videos. 

You can definitely say that his channel has a wide variety of lessons, from learning new words to useful learning tools and interactive exercises—you can even listen to the news in slow Dutch! With humor and precision, he tackles all of the typical challenges you’ll face when learning Dutch. 

And with a new video out every Monday, you’ll have more than enough to see and learn.

6. The Netherlands & Dutch Culture

Category: Culture
Level: All levels; the content is in English

How can a language really be useful if you can’t understand the country’s context and culture? 

Lucky for you, if you want to brush up on Dutch culture, YouTube has you covered. 

After learning a bit about the Dutch language with the channels above, just sit back and watch something from The Netherlands & Dutch Culture. Each video works with a certain theme, often linked to topics that are hot and happening. In each video, you’ll not only get a fun and clear description of Dutch culture, but also learn some Dutch words related to the topic. 

7. Nickelodeon Nederlands

Category: TV Shows
Level: Beginner

Watching cartoons and other Dutch children’s TV shows: could learning Dutch be any more fun?

You might be familiar with Nickelodeon, the American television channel for children. But did you know that a lot of other countries (such as the Netherlands) also have their own Nickelodeon channel in the native language? 

Luckily, Nickelodeon Nederlands allows you to watch your favorite kids’ shows on YouTube in Dutch. We’re talking about such shows as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Thundermans, School of Rock, and Henry Danger!

What are you waiting for?

8. NOS Jeugdjournaal

Category: News
Level: Beginner

NOS jeugdjournaal (“NOS Youth Journal”) is a Dutch television news program for children. It presents real news in language that young viewers can understand. The presenters and reporters also speak very clearly, making it the perfect news medium for Dutch language learners. Even beginners will find much of the content comprehensible due to the simple language and fun videos! 

This Youth Journal has a daily evening program on the Dutch television, running every night at seven o’clock for twenty minutes on NPO 3, as well as a short program in the morning during the week. A lot of these stories are afterwards posted on the NOS Jeugdjournaal YouTube channel.

9. Proefkonijnen

Category: TV Shows
Level: Intermediate

Improve your Dutch listening skills by watching these entertaining and informative videos. You won’t be able to stop watching these guys and their crazy experiments.

Can you function when the world is literally turned upside-down? Can you get a mosquito drunk with blood from a drunk human? In the Dutch TV show Proefkonijnen (“Guinea pigs”), Jurre Geluk and Kaj van der Ree will give you down-to-earth answers to the craziest questions.

And luckily, you can also enjoy it on YouTube. Because these videos are very entertaining and fun, with a lot of self-explanatory images, they’re perfect for intermediate learners. Watch the show, have a laugh, and try to understand what’s going on. (Believe us, they’ll make you want to understand it all.)

10. NL Artiesten Afspeellijsten

Category: Music
Level: All levels

With these Dutch music playlists, you’ll be able to discover a lot of Dutch music. And as you might know, listening to music helps you get familiar with a language. By listening to your favorite music genres in Dutch, you’ll both familiarize yourself with the pronunciation and start to understand the lyrics. 

You can just play the music in the background or start dancing to it. And don’t forget to look up the lyrics to improve your understanding. Soon, you’ll be singing along!

    → Would you like to talk with your Dutch friends about YouTube? Then have a look at our useful vocabulary list for Talking About YouTube.

2. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

Have Fun Learning Dutch on YouTube

In this guide, we’ve shown you which channels you can’t miss when you want to learn Dutch online with YouTube. Your first stop should definitely be the DutchPod101 YouTube channel, with great podcasts, grammar and vocabulary lessons, and other YouTube videos dedicated to the Dutch language and culture. Be sure to explore our Playlists to easily find the category and topic you need. You’ll quickly see why we confidently say it’s the best channel out there! 

And of course, if you would like to see some additional pronunciation, culture, news, cartoons, comedy, or music videos, you have the other channels to pick from. 

So which YouTube channel will you watch first? Or would you like to improve your Dutch first so that you can really get the most from these YouTube channels?

To get a head start on your language learning, we recommend that you check out the many free resources from DutchPod101, especially our themed vocabulary lists with audio recordings.

Would you prefer a private teacher? DutchPod101 has the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members, through which you can get personal one-on-one coaching. Improve your Dutch quickly with your private teacher’s personalized feedback, tips, and interactive exercises.

Whatever path you choose from here, we wish you very happy Dutch learning!

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Our Useful Guide on How to Say Goodbye in Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dutch Woman Saying Goodbye

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

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

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

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

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

2. Specific Ways to Say Bye in Dutch

Most Common Goodbyes

A- Casual Goodbyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

B- The Formal Goodbye

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

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

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

The Formal Goodbye with a Handshake

C- Have a Good One

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

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

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

D- Tot ___. (“See you ___.”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E- When in a Hurry… 

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

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

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

3. Untranslatable Goodbye Phrases in Dutch

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

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

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

4. Dutch Culture: Goodbye Gestures

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

1- The handshake

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

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

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

2- The kiss or the hug

Saying Goodbye in Dutch with a Kiss on the Cheek

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

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


5. How DutchPod101 Can Help You Learn More Dutch

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

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

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

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

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

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Driekoningen: The Dutch Epiphany Celebration

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

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

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1. What is Epiphany?

Silhouette of the Three Wise Men

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

The story behind the Epiphany holiday is as follows:

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

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


2. When is Epiphany Celebrated?

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

3. How is Epiphany Celebrated?

A Baby Being Christened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. King’s Cake

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

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

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

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

5. Essential Vocabulary for Epiphany

A Dutch Paper Lantern

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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