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Travelling to the Netherlands soon? Make sure to learn these basic Dutch phrases for tourists that will help you navigate through the Netherlands!
If you speak English, you can easily get by in the Netherlands. Us Duchies are known to speak the best English as a second language all across the globe. Nobody here really expects you to speak our not-so-well-known language. But being a native speaker myself, I know how much it is appreciated to know a few basic sentences or words.
I have been teaching my boyfriend Dutch for a few years and I can see how much everybody loves it when he announces that he “would like to pay with Mastercard” in Dutch. It’s the little things 😉 If you also want to impress some Dutchies, make sure to learn some of these Dutch sentences before your trip!
Basic Dutch Phrases For Tourists
Hello – Hallo [ha-low] / Hoi [hoy]
Yes/No – Ja [ya] / Nee [nay/neigh]
Bye – Doei [doo-ee]
See you later – Tot ziens [tot zeens]
How are you? – Hoe gaat het? [hoo khaat het]
Very good – Heel goed [hayl khoot]
Excuse me – Pardon [par-don]
Thank you – Dankuwel (formal) [dahnk-uw-well] / Dankjewel (informal) [dahnk-ye-well]
In Dutch, you have to pay attention to when to use “je” and “u” (= you) in words and when speaking to people. “Je” is way more informal and “u” more formal. When ordering in restaurants, for example, it’s better to use “u“. In words like “dankuwel”, you also have to make sure you use the right one in the correct situation. If you’re unsure, always go with “u” because it shows more respect.
Here you go – Alstublieft (formal) [als-stew-bleeft] / Alsjeblieft (informal) [als-ye-bleeft]
Similarly to dankjewel/dankuwel, there is a difference with this phrase in the formality. Use alstublieft in more formal situations and alsjeblieft in less formal situations.
Please – Alstublieft (formal) [als-stew-bleeft] / Alsjeblieft (informal) [als-ye-bleeft]
Here you go and please share a word in Dutch. When ordering a drink, you would say “Mag ik een koffie, alstublieft?” (Can I have a coffee, please). And the waiter would also say “alstublieft” (here you go) when handing over the coffee.
You’re welcome – Graag gedaan [khraakh gkedaan]
Sorry – Sorry [sorree]
I don’t understand – Ik snap het niet [ick sn-ap het neet]
Do you speak English? – Spreekt u Engels? [spraykt u eng-els]
I don’t speak Dutch – Ik spreek geen Nederlands [ick sprayk khayn Neder-lands]
My name is … – Ik heet … [ick hayt …]
I’d like – Ik wil graag … [ick will khrakh …]
What a shame! – Wat jammer! [waht yam-mer!]
Dutch Restaurant Phrases
Can I have a coffee, please? – Mag ik een koffie, alstublieft? [makh ick ayn coffee als-stew-bleeft?]
This is delicious – Dit is heerlijk [dit is heer-la-eek]
Can I have the bill, please? – Mag ik de rekening, alstublieft? [makh ick de ray-ke-ning als-stew-bleeft?]
Can I pay by card? – Kan ik met de PIN betalen? [kan ick met de pin beh-taa-len?]
How much does it cost? – Hoeveel kost het? [hoo-veel kost het?]
Where is the toilet? – Waar is het toilet? [waar is het tvaa-let?]
Dutch Emergency Phrases
Stop! – Stop! [Stop]
I am hurt – Ik ben gewond [ick ben khe-wond]
Watch out! – Pas op! [pass op!] / Let op! [let op!]
Police! – Politie! [po-lee-tsee]
I’m lost – Ik ben verdwaald [ick ben verdwaald]
Call 112 – Bel 112 [bell ayn-ayn-tway]
Surprise! The local emergency number isn’t 911 everywhere 😉 In the Netherlands, it’s 112. If you (or someone else) needs emergency care, if there is a fire or if you have witnessed a crime, you can call this number.
Where to learn more Dutch?
I hope that these 30 basic Dutch sentences give you a good start for your next trip to the Netherlands! But if you want to learn some more Dutch, I highly recommend to check out Dutch For Dummies.
If you don’t want to learn this crazy language but want a few more sentences to help you on your trip, you can get a Dutch phrasebook instead 🙂
Where to visit in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands’ most popular destination is by far its capital city: Amsterdam. I may be a little bias, but there are many other cities that are definitely worth a visit too. Check out my guides for them here:
- Eindhoven: Having grown up very close to Eindhoven, I absolutely love this vibrant city. Named the design capital of the Netherlands, you can find some amazing hotspots here.
- Rotterdam: Amsterdam’s little brother, Rotterdam. A lot less crowded and it gives you a look into real Dutch culture.
- Maastricht: The oldest city in the Netherlands is also a gorgeous one. With