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Cheese in the throat

Dutch words and phrases

If you're traveling to Amsterdam, you should be fine with a reasonable knowledge of English as most of the city's residents speak and understand English well. The Dutch study German and French in school, so it's worth a try if you have a good command of either language.

It is often thought that German and Dutch are closely related in the same way as Swedish and Norwegian are. However, this is not true; Dutch and German are related in the same way that French and Italian are related.

It is best to try English first, then German or French. Most service professionals speak English because Amsterdam has so many tourists. The ultimate is of course if you already know Dutch.

Words and phrases in Dutch

Although most people in Amsterdam speak English very well, it's a good idea to learn a few key phrases in Dutch. Saying thank you for the food and asking what time it is can be useful wherever you go in the world.

To greet someone, you say hallo or hoi [Hoj], which both mean hello.

Good to know:

  • Goodbye - Day [daach]
  • See you later - Goodbye
  • Thank you - Thank you
  • How are you - Hoe gaat het?
  • Nice to meet you - Leuk je te ontmoeten
  • Please - Alstublieft
  • Excuse me - Pardon
  • Closed - Closed
  • Where are the toilets? - Where is the toilet?


  • Now - Now
  • Senare - Later (laater)
  • Before - Voor (for)
  • Evening - Evening
  • Night - Night


  • Pork - Pig meat
  • Beef - Beef
  • Breakfast - Breakfast
  • Cheese - Cheese
  • Juice - Sap

Just for fun:

  • Customer - Client

If things go wrong:

  • Have I been arrested? - Am I under arrest?

Swedish-Dutch dictionaries can be bought at the Swedish embassy if you have not brought any from home. On wikitravel. org there is an online "parlör".



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