Home Language HacksDutch Survival Dutch Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

Survival Dutch Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

by Michele
Common Dutch Words Phrases for travellers
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Preparing for your trip to the Netherlands? Don’t forget to pack this list of basic Dutch words. Here are 70 useful Dutch phrases that every traveller needs!

The best part about learning Dutch, officially called Nederlands (ney-duhr-lands) is that it’s very similar to English. Over 2000 English words are of Dutch origin including ship, dock, buoy and yacht. Thanks to these similarities and borrowings, the Dutch language won’t sound entirely foreign to you. Take the phrases ‘My name is…’, which in Dutch it ‘Mijn naam is…”. With just a slight tweak to the pronunciation, you can learn and use this phrase without much effort. Still not convinced? Take a wild guess what ‘mijn hand is warm’ means.

While the Dutch speak impeccable English and enjoy practising it with visitors, remember that conversing in the local language is always appreciated and is seen as a sign of good will and will give you greater insight into the culture.

To help me create this new addition to my growing collection of free travel phrase guides, I asked my friend and native Dutch speaker Nienke from The Travel Tester to provide accurate Dutch translations and pronunciation tips.

Want to have fun whilst learning Dutch? Struggling to find decent Dutch language resources? I recommend getting uTalk. Available as a desktop site and app, uTalk is awesome for learning key words and phrases in Dutch, especially if you want to use it for travel purposes.  It’s great for beginners getting started in a language and invaluable for intermediates looking to fill in gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation. 

What I love most about uTalk is that you can jump around their extensive library of topics and choose what you want to learn, when you want, and at your own pace.  Because I believe in uTalk so much, I reached out to them and we’ve teamed up to offer you an exclusive 30% OFF reader discount across all of uTalk’s 140 languages! This offer isn’t available anywhere else! Click here to claim your exclusive 30% discount.

Let’s take a closer look at the Dutch language. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Table of Contents

How many people speak Dutch?

There are approximately 23 million people worldwide who speak Dutch as their native language with 16 million of those living in the Netherlands. An additional 5 million people speak Dutch as their second language.

Where is Dutch spoken?

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands. Thanks to the explorers and traders of the Dutch Golden Age during the 17th century, Dutch is also spoken in various locations around the world.

Dutch, or Flemish Dutch, is one of Belgium’s three official languages including French and English. Flemish-Dutch is predominantly spoken in the northern provinces of Belgium known as Flanders. This accounts for about 60% of Belgium’s population who speak Dutch as their native language.

Having some knowledge of Dutch will also come in handy when travelling beyond European borders to places such as Suriname (South America), Aruba and the Dutch Antilles (Caribbean) where Dutch has national language status.

Is Afrikaans and Dutch the same?

Short answer is no, but they’re very similar. Let me explain. When the Dutch East India Company decided to establish a station at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, this saw the start of a new language, Afrikaans.

Afrikaans is one of South Africa’s 11 official languages. Afrikaans derived from a colonial dialect of Dutch (“Cape Dutch”) spoken by 17th-century emigrants from the Holland and Zeeland regions in the Netherlands. Afrikaans is considered a language, not a dialect of Dutch.

Standard Afrikaans is lexically extremely close to Dutch with around 90 to 95 per cent of its vocabulary being of Dutch origin. The main difference between the two languages is that Afrikaans has a must simpler grammar. For example, there is no grammatical gender or number markings on verbs. Afrikaans also uses a double-negation, a typical trait of the French language.

As the settlers moved inland so too did their language which was influenced and altered by other settlers and local languages. Afrikaans is spoken more in Namibia than English is even though English is the country’s official language.

In both Belgium and the Netherlands, the native official name for Dutch is Nederlands.

I wrote a separate post on this topic of what language is spoken in Belgium after my first trip there.

 Dutch Pronunciation

Once you familiarise yourself with the Dutch alphabet (which isn’t too dissimilar to English) you’ll be able to say most words and be understood fairly easily.

The main characteristics of Dutch are its use of a guttural r and kh sounds and its impressive variety of vowel sounds with long and short versions. While it can be awkward to pronounce the guttural sounds, just remember that your effort will be appreciated.

Dutch Alphabet

Below is the Dutch alphabet and pronunciation guide.

The only letter that deserves a special mention is Y since there are different ways of pronouncing it, just like in English.

Firstly, the letter itself is called ‘Griekse-ij’ (‘greek-ay’), ‘i-grec’ (‘ee-khrec’) or ‘ypsilon’ (‘ipsilon’). Secondly, when on its own, the letter Y is usually pronounced ‘ay’ – like when we say the alphabet > ‘xyz’ ‘iks, ay, set’.

Lastly, the letter Y can either be a vowel or a consonant depending on the placement in a word. For example, in words like ‘symbool’ (symbol) or baby (baby), it’s a vowel and you say ‘ee’ (just like in English). However, Y in ‘yoghurt’ is a consonant and you pronounce it ‘j’ (just like you say ‘yoghurt’ in English.

a (aa) j (yey) s (es)
b (bey) k (kaa) t (tey)
(sey) l (el) u (ew)
d (dey) m (em) v (vey)
(ey) n (en) w (wey)
(ef) o (oh) x (iks)
g (khey) gutteral p (pey) y (ay)
h (haa) q (kew) z (set)
i  (ee) r (er) trilled  

P.S. If you’re reading this on your phone and can’t see the pronunciation column, turn it to landscape mode. For some reason, tables aren’t mobile friendly. Sorry!

Dutch Phrases & Useful Travel Phrases

Basic Dutch Phrases for Travellers

Want the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page.

English Dutch Pronunciation


Hello Hallo / Hoi ha-low / hoy
Good morning Goedemorgen khoo-duh-mor-khen
Good afternoon Goedemiddag / Fijne middag khoo-duh-mid-dakh /fay-nuh-mid-dakh
Good evening Goedeavond / Fijne avond khoo-duh-ah-font / fay-nuh-ah-font
Good night Goedenacht khoo-duh-nakht 
Goodbye Tot ziens / Doei (informal) toat-zeens / doo-ee
How are you? Hoe gaat het met je/U? (informal/formal)
Hoe is het met je/U? (informal/formal)
hoo khaat het met yuh / oo 
hoo is het met yuh / oo
I’m well, and you? Alles goed, en met jou/U? al-les khoot, en met yow / oo
Good, thanks Goed, dank je/U
Goed, bedankt
khoot, dank yuh / oo
khoot be-dankt


Please Alsjeblieft / Alstublieft ahls-yuh-bleaft / ahlst-oo-bleaft
Thank you Dank je / Dank U dank yuh/oo
You’re welcome Graag gedaan khrakh khe-dahn
Yes Ja ya
No Nee nay
Excuse me (getting attention)

Excuse me (when you didn’t hear or understand the person)

Sorry / Pardon soh-ree / par-don
I’m sorry Het spijt me het spayt meh
I don’t understand Ik begrijp het niet ik be-grayp het neat
Do you speak English? Spreek je Engels?
Spreekt U Engels?
sprayk yuh eng-els
spraykt oo eng-els


How much is…? Hoeveel is …? hoo-feyl is
Where is…? Waar is …? vaar is
When? Wanneer…? van-neer
Can I have…? Mag ik alsjeblieft/alstublieft …? maakh ik als-yuh-bleaft / al-stoo-bleaft

Eating Out

Beer Bier beer
Red wine / white wine) Rode Wijn / Witte Wijn row-de vayn / vit-ah vayn
Water Water vah-ter
I don’t eat… Ik eet geen… ik ate khayn
I’m a vegetarian Ik ben vegetariër ik ben fey-kher-ta-ree-yer
Can I/we have the bill? Mag ik de rekening?
Mogen wij de rekening?
maakh ik duh rey-kuh-ning
mo-khen vay duh rey-kuh-nin

Getting Around

Left Links linx
Right Rechts reckhts
Straight ahead Rechtdoor  reckht-door
Turn left Sla linksaf sla links-aff
Turn right Sla rechtsaf sla reckht-af
Bus stop Bushalte boos-hal-te
Train station Treinstation trayn-sta-shyon
Airport Vliegveld / luchthaven fleekh-felt / lookht-ha-fen
Entrance Ingang in-khang
Exit Uitgang out-khang


1 één ayn
2 twee tway
3 drie dree
4 vier feer
5 vijf fayf
6 zes zes
7 zeven zay-fen
8 acht akht
9 negen nay-hken
10 tien teen
20 twintig twin-tikh
30 dertig der-tikh
40 veertig feer-tikh
50 vijftig fayf-tikh
60 zestig zehs-tikh
70 zeventig zay-ver-tikh
80 tachtig  takh-tikh
90 negentig  nay-khen-tikh
100 honderd hon-dert


Monday maandag maan-daakh
Tuesday dinsdag dins-daakh
Wednesday woensdag voons-daakh
Thursday donderdag don-dur-daakh
Friday vrijdag fray-daakh
Saturday zaterdag za-tur-daakh
Sunday zondag zon-daakh


Help! Help! help
I need a doctor Ik heb een dokter nodig ik heb un dok-ter no-dikh
I don’t feel well Ik voel me niet goed ik vool muh neat khoot
Call the police! Bel de politie bel deh pol-eet-see
Fire! Brand! braandt

I hope you enjoyed this Dutch travel phrase guide as much as I enjoyed bringing it together. If you have any requests for other languages, let me know in the comments section! In the meantime, check out the rest of my collection of free travel phrase guides.

 Useful Dutch Phrases for Travellers [Infographic]

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Useful Dutch Phrases for travellers

Hilarious Dutch Expressions

Visiting the Netherlands? Check out my Netherlands city guides

Visiting Belgium? Check out my Belgium city guides

Want to know more about learning languages? Start here!

Over to you!

Which of these Dutch phrases did you find the most useful? Are you planning a trip to the Netherlands or have already been? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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Dana October 15, 2018 - 01:50

I spent a month with a family in the Netherlands a while back. It’s amazing how dutch kind of seeps in for English speakers! I learned the phrase “wil je water drinken?” (do you want to drink water?) almost by accident!

That said, I never managed to pronounce the Dutch trilled R from the back of the throat…

Michele October 16, 2018 - 01:09

I know exactly how you feel. Hearing Dutch as an English speaker feels like you SHOULD be able to understand it without having even studied it. It just sounds so similar to English yet certain sounds stump the ears :P


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