7 Essential Dutch words to use while traveling the Netherlands

Traveling to the Netherlands is always a challenge. Even as a Belgian speaking the same language, it can be hard to express ourselves. Different words and different accents often confuse us. So with a couple of words you can get a long way. Doesn’t matter what your native tongue is.

1. Pinnen

This means paying by card. Very handy if you don’t want to carry too much cash with you. Almost everywhere in the Netherlands they accept cards, so this will be handy in 100% of the stores and museums you will visit.

2. Alstublieft

This means ‘please’ when you ask something, and ‘here you go’ when you give something. So it’s not weird to ask for a piece of cake with ‘alstublieft’ at the end, and get the cake with an ‘alstublieft’ back.

3. Bedankt

A simple ‘thanks’ for when you receive something. Wether it’s just information or an object.

4. Gratis

This means ‘free’. You might not need it in conversations often, but if you see it on a sign you might want to go check out what they are offering.

5. Verboden toegang

‘No entrance’. So if you see this, well, don’t go in.

6. Fiets

You are in the Netherlands, so knowing the word for ‘bike’ might come in handy. Just pronounce this word as you would pronounce something that ‘fits’ in. Easy as that.

7. Waar is…

Ever get lost in a Dutch city and want to ask someone how to get somewhere? If you say ‘waar is’ with the place you want to go to at the end, you will get the directions of a friendly local.

Bonus: Kibbeling

This is a sort of typical Dutch fried fish. I suggest you go to the food stands with this on their sign. It is amazing!

Tip: Difference between coffeeshop and coffee bar

So this might be confusing. What? There’s a difference? Oh yes, yes there is.

A coffeeshop is something you would not want to visit, unless you are into expanding you mind. They offer a wide array of marihuana and other legal drugs in Netherlands. So go in if you want to, but don’t expect to actually get a coffee.

Coffee bar is the place where you will actually get a coffee. Don’t try to ask for a joint there tho, they will frown upon you.

What words do you often need when going abroad?

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