Here are a few useful phrases to learn while in the Netherlands. 90% of people in the Netherlands speak a decent amount of English and are happy to speak it to you. However, we like to go the extra mile in any country we visit to impress to locals and show appreciation for their country that we are visiting.
1. Dank u wel – The formal way of saying ‘thank you’ in dutch, very very common!
2. Alsjeblieft – The informal, yet most common, way of saying ‘please’ or ‘you’re welcome’. Note that the J is pronounced like a Y.
3. Hoe laat is het? – ‘What time is it?’ but literally it translates to how late is it.
4. Goedemorgen / goedemiddag / goedenavond / goedenacht – ‘good morning’ / ‘good day’ / ‘good evening’ / ‘good night’ all complete with that hard [g] the dutch and german are known for.
5. Proost – This is important whenever you are at a bar celebrating, it means ‘cheers!’.
6. Ik begrijp het niet – Probably the first dutch phrase I properly learned how to say, ‘I don’t understand it’.
7. Hoeveel kost dit? – ‘How much does it cost?’
8. Spreek jij engels? – ‘Do you speak English?’ You probably won’t even need to use this much because most people will speak English!
9. Waar is de WC? – Always important to be able to ask where the bathroom is! ‘Where is the bathroom?’
10. Ik hou van je – One of my favorite dutch phrases, not because of what it means but because of how it directly translates. It means ‘I love you’ but since there is no actual word for the verb to love it literally translates to I hold you close. Liefde is the word for ‘love’ but it is not a verb.
11. Sorry! – If you accidently run into someone on the street, say ‘sorry!’. Although the dutch sorry is pronounced a bit more like a Z than an S.
12. Lekker – Possibly the most used word in all of dutch language. I am being a bit dramatic when I say that but I hear it all the time. Technically speaking it’s only supposed to be used for tastes & smells but sometimes you’ll hear it used in ways that could translate as ‘awesome’. There is no way to directly translate this word so I like to think of it as ‘delicious’. When the waitress asks you how your food is, you will say smaakt lekker! When you tell someone to sleep tight, you say slaap lekker! When you see someone attractive on the street, lekkerding!
13. Gezellig – This one is just for fun because I like it. Again, there is no direct translation but it is closely related to ‘cozy’ but not just any cozy, cozy with friends or family that are all having a good time.