A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
When I first moved to the Netherlands I assumed that I would quickly pick up some od the local language as a result of being surrounded by a people whose native language was not English. However, I failed to account for the fact that the Dutch people have an incredible hold on the English language and would easily communicate with me. After being here for a few months and only picking up the typical ‘Dank je wel’ and ‘Astublief’ a friend from class suggested that I take a course at the Direct Dutch Institute in Den Haag. Well, last week I completed the A2 beginners course there, and while I am by no means fluent I definitely much more able to hold very slow and stilted conversations and understand conversations overheard on the train.
Having this newly acquired skill for stilted conversations and being nosy on the train, I thought now might be a good time to share some of my favourite Dutch terms and phrases with you. So here you are,
This is one of my favourite Dutch words. It’s quite well known amongst internationals as a result of its Dutch ‘g’ sounds and inability to be perfectly translated into English. The common understanding is that it describes a ‘cozy’ room.
Push and pull: Useful words to know if you don’t want to be walking into doors
I speak a little Dutch. (True in my case)
Similar to the English ‘Cheers’, and used when out for a drink.
Left and right. You can also use linkshandig and rechtshandig for left handed and right handed.
While this literally means ‘Fish must swim’, it is apparently said when a person agrees to have another glass of white wine
This is always amusing to English speakers because it sounds like you’re being rude, when in reality all that is being said is: ‘Yes, of course.’
Literally: You’re hair is sitting nicely. In reality; you have nice hair
He’s at his wits end
Anyway, these are just a few of my favourites. Hopefully my ‘interpetations’ to these words and phrases are somewhat correct, and perhaps somewhat useful to you!