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70+ Flemish Dutch Phrases for Travel with Pronunciation

by Michele
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Flemish phrases - Difference between Dutch and Flemish
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Visiting Belgium? Need some useful Flemish travel phrases? This guide explains the difference between Dutch and Flemish and teaches you easy Flemish phrases and their correct pronunciation to help you with your travels.

Did you know that Belgium has three official languages? Flemish-Dutch, French and German! Depending on where you’re headed, you’re going to find my French, German and now this Flemish travel phrase guide, super useful.

To help me create this new addition to my growing collection of free travel phrase guides, I asked my friend and native Flemish speaker Els from Under the Trees to provide accurate Flemish translations and pronunciation tips.

Want to have fun whilst learning Flemish? Struggling to find decent Flemish language resources? I recommend getting uTalk. Available as a desktop site and app, uTalk is awesome for learning key words and phrases in Flemish, 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 Flemish Dutch language. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Table of Contents

Where is Flemish spoken?

Flemish, Flemish Dutch, or Belgian Dutch are terms used to refer to a dialect of the Dutch language that is spoken in the northern provinces of Belgium known as Flanders. These regions include West Flanders, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant, Antwerp, and Limburg, and historically of Brussels. Flemish is also spoken in French Flanders located in France and in the Dutch Zeelandic Flanders located in the Netherlands.

Just to make things more confusing, locals often colloquially refer to their language as Vlaams (“Flemish”). But just remember that the official language in Flanders is standard Dutch. But, we’ll do as the Belgium Dutch do and refer to it here as Flemish.

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.

Map of Languages Spoken in Belgium

How many people speak Flemish?

The Flemish language is spoken by approximately 6.5 million people in Belgium which is about 56% of Belgium’s population. There are also several thousand Flemish speakers in France.

What is the difference between Dutch and Flemish?

Dutch and Flemish differ in terms of intonation and pronunciation and in some parts, vocabulary. Flemish has many loanwords from French and English that are not found in Standard Dutch.

The Dutch and Flemish also have typical words and expressions inherent to their region’s habits, traditions, that aren’t found elsewhere. Most of these differences involve constitutions, typical habits, and traditional meals.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the difference in their vocabulary.

Different words mean the same thing

For breakfast, Belgians eat ‘confituur’ on their sandwich, Dutch people eat ‘jam’ referring to, well just jam. While in Belgium, if you are eating a ‘croque monsieur’ as a snack, in the Netherlands it’s called a ‘toastie’.

Belgians put their fresh food in the ‘frigo’ (fridge) while the Dutch will scratch their heads if they hear the word. Instead, their food is kept cool in the ‘koelkast’.

In Belgium, when dusk almost falls, it’s ‘valavond’ (falling of the evening) while in the Netherlands it’s ‘vooravond’ (early evening).

Most differences, however, don’t usally cause a breakdown in communication they just raise a few eyebrows with confusion.

Some words DO mean something different

In Belgium, you are ‘lopen’ (running) as a way of walking but also doing the more physical ‘running’. In the Netherlands, you are just walking.

If you eat ‘s middags (at noon) in Belgium you eat more or less around 12 o’clock but in the Netherlands, this refers to the period from noon to the evening! So, be careful when making a date in Dutch, or you could make someone wait for hours ?

The Dutch and Flemish have a sense of humour

Belgians often use Dutch words that don’t necessarily mean anything whilst visiting the Netherlands, this usually causes a ‘what the hell are they talking about?’ look. Yes, it is Dutch, but it’s Belgian Dutch or Flemish.

The same goes for Dutchmen in using typical Dutch words in Belgium which are foreign to the Flemish language. In the Netherlands ‘pinnen’ describes the action of paying by credit card or withdrawing money, while in Belgium it is just paying by credit card or withdrawing money.

Why is the Dutch Spoken in Belgium different from in the Netherlands?

The differences found in Dutch and Flemish have their roots right back in history. A hundred years ago, Belgians spoke Dutch that was influenced by both dialects and French; its neighbour.

By the 21st century, the language was more levelled with the Dutch language in the Netherlands as a statement towards the French influence. By the 1950-60’s the purification of the language was intensified by eliminating many Flemish words aiming for a pure Dutch language.

During the last decade, a more typical Belgian Dutch is being promoted by a group of linguists, who embrace the geographical uniqueness of its own language. Flemish is not so much ‘a’ language but a collection of different dialects, some dialects require a dictionary of their own.

Flemish Dutch Pronunciation

While the vocabulary and grammar of the Dutch language spoken in The Netherlands and in the Flemish part of Belgium are almost identical, the pronunciation, however, is another ball game.

A Dutchman won’t go unnoticed in a group of Belgians. Flemish, or Belgian Dutch, has a soft pronunciation while the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands has a prominent pronunciation of ‘u’ and ‘ij’.

The pronunciation of the letter ‘g’ differs a lot between Flemish and Dutch. The Dutch ‘g’ can sometimes sound a bit like someone clearing the throat. The actual border of the soft and hard ‘g’ lies between the Rhine and the Waal.

Flemish Dutch Alphabet

Below is the Flemish alphabet and pronunciation guide.

a (aa) j (jot) s (es)
b (bee) k (kaa) t (tee)
(see) l (el) u (uu)
d (dee) m (em) v (vau)
(ee) n (en) w (wee)
(ef) o (oo) x (ex)
g (gee) either soft or gutteral p (pee) y (y) like English “ay”
h (haa) q (kuu) z (set)
i  (ie) r (er)  

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!

Flemish Phrases & Useful Travel Phrases

Basic Flemish Dutch Phrases for TravellersWant the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page.

English Flemish Dutch Pronunciation


Hello Hallo hah-low
Good morning Goedemorgen hoo-der-mor-hern
Good afternoon Goedenmiddag hoo-der-mi-daahg
Good night Goedenacht hoo-der-nacht
Goodbye Tot ziens toat seens
How are you? Hoe gaat het met jou? hoo hart het met yo
I’m well, and you? Alles goed, en met jou? al-les hoot, en met yo
Good, thanks Goed, dank je / bedankt (more formal) hoot dank yeh / ber-dahnkt


Please Alstublieft als-ter-bleeft
Thank you Dank je dank ye
You’re welcome Graag gedaan khraakh he-daan
Yes Ja ya
No Neen ne-en
Excuse me (getting attention)

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

Sorry / Excuseer me soh-ree /ex-koos-ear me
I’m sorry Het spijt me het speht meh
I don’t understand Ik begrijp het niet ik be-grayp het neat
Do you speak English? Spreek je Engels? spreet ye eng-erls


How much is…? Hoeveel is hoo-feyl is
Where is…? Waar is vaar is
When? Wanneer van-neer
Can I have…? Mag ik alstublieft… maah ik als-ter-bleeft

Eating Out

Beer Bier be-er
Red wine / white wine) Rode wijn / Witte wijn row-de vayn / vit-ah vayn
Water Water va-ter
I don’t eat… Ik eet geen ik eet heen
I’m a vegetarian Ik ben vegetariër ik ben veh-gee-ta-ree-ah
Can we have the bill? Mag ik de rekening hebben? maag ik de ree-ko-ning heb-ben

Getting Around

Left Links linx
Right Rechts rechts
Straight ahead Rechtdoor reck-door
Turn left Sla linksaf sla linx-af
Turn right Sla rechtsaf sla rechts-af
Bus stop Bushalte boos-hal-te
Train station Treinstation trayn-sta-zyon
Airport Luchthaven lookt-ha-veh
Entrance Ingang ing-heng
Exit Uitgang oot-heng


1 een eeyn
2 twee twee
3 drie dree
4 vier feer
5 vijf fayf
6 zes zes
7 zeven zay-ver
8 acht akht
9 negen nay-hern
10 tien teen
20 twintig twin-teh
30 dertig der-teh
40 veertig veer-teh
50 vijftig fayf-teh
60 zestig zes-teh
70 zeventig zay-ver-teh
80 tachtig takh-teh
90 negentig nay-hern-teh
100 honderd hon-dert


Monday maandag maan-daag
Tuesday dinsdag dins-daag
Wednesday woensdag voons-daag
Thursday donderdag don-der-daag
Friday vrijdag fray-daag
Saturday zaterdag za-ter-daag
Sunday zondag zon-daag


Help! Help! help
I need a doctor Ik heb een dokter nodig ik heb ee-n dok-ta noe-thig
I don’t feel well Ik voel me niet goed ik vool me neat hood
Call the police! Bel de politie bell de pol-et-see
Fire! Brand! braand

I hope you enjoyed this Flemish 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.

Flemish Dutch Travel Guide Infographic

Like it? Pin it for later!

Flemish Dutch Travel Phrases Guide

Hilarious Dutch Expressions

Visiting Belgium? Check out my Belgium city guides

Want to know more about learning languages? Start here!

Over to you!

Which of these Flemish phrases did you find the most useful? Are you planning a trip to Belgium or have already been? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
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