Tag: Language

Basic Dutch to Know

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It can be intimidating, moving (on your own or together with others) to a new country with a new culture and new language. Although most of the world has a proficiency in English, it can still be frustrating to not know the language of the country in which you are now residing. Put simply, Dutch is not an easy language, and it is understandable that it can be scary to take on the task of learning it. Thankfully, there are a few simple phrases that you might need in everyday life to help you grow more comfortable in Rotterdam. Even if your pronunciation is a little off, locals will know what you mean and will appreciate your effort to learn.

Hallo : Hello

Hoe gaat het? : How are you?

Goed : Good

Slecht : Bad

Dank je (wel) : Thank you (very much)

Alsjeblieft / Graag : Please

Sorry/Pardon : Sorry

Dag : Goodbye

Fijne dag nog : Have a good day

Gezellig : Cozy, social (i.e. “How was the party?” “It was gezellig.”)

Je/U : informal/formal you

In the grocery store (supermarkt), for example, the cashier will greet you (Hallo), then proceed to scan your items. At the end of the scanning, they will tell you the total (which you can read on the screen next to them). If you want to pay with a bank card, you say, “Pinnen, graag” (swipe please). If you want to pay with cash, you can simply just hand them the cash. The cashier will proceed to ask you if you would like a receipt: “Wilt u de bon?” to which you can reply “Ja, graag” (yes, please) or “Nee, dankje” (no, thank you). [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

This exchange is applicable to any store, such as a clothing store, general store, or any place where you may make a transaction.

Perhaps the most important words, however, are for when you go out. That is, of course, one of the best aspects of your student time, and Rotterdam has many bars and clubs to offer.

Een biertje : One beer

Een wijntje : One wijn

And if you’re buying for your friends (or just more for yourself) twee (two) or drie (three) biertjes / wijntjes.

In general, some other words/phrases to know are:

Waar is de WC (pronounced “way-say”) : Where is the bathroom?

Mijn naam is… : My name is…

Kan ik u helpen? : Can I help you?

And, of course, because you are international, one of the most important phrases:

Ik kom uit… : I am from…

Rotterdam is a very diverse city, and being able to say where you are from in a local language brings you that much closer to feeling more at home here.

This is a very rough overview of basic interactions you may experience every day, however if you would like to become more proficient in Dutch, it is highly recommended to participate in a Dutch course. These can help you with pronunciation, grammar, and fluidity. Check out:

  • Your local university
  • ROC and Volks Universiteit
  • Consider a private tutor


My name is Danique van Winden, and I am a new blogger for this year. I hope to help you learn more about Rotterdam and grow more comfortable as an international in this wonderful city!

Picture from wikipedia.com


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