Dutch is a difficult language to grasp… we get it. If you are new to Holland and would like a to pick up a few useful words, then take a look at the list of most used words in Dutch below. These are just a few of the most common Dutch words used in everyday conversation!
Lekker = nice, good, delicious, hot
With the word ‘lekker’, you have an answer to everything. This word can reference girls (very informal!), food, drinks, a party, or your mood… Everything can be lekker. Its original use was to explain how delicious a certain food tasted, but nowadays it’s a popular word to say when you’re doing well or that you enjoyed a party, for example.
Hoor = no translation
This word may be a bit awkward to say if you are native English speaker, because you pronounce it quite the same as you pronounce the word “whore”. It is typically added to sentences a lot, but can’t be literally translated. In many situations, it means something along the lines of ‘sure’ or ‘surely’. For example: ‘Wil je nog een biertje?’ ‘Ja hoor’ (‘Would you like another beer?’ ‘Yes, sure’). But in some sentences, it’s mainly used to emphasize something: for example, you can say ‘Dat is wel gaaf hoor!’ (‘That’s really cool!’).
Gezellig = cozy, fun
There’s no real translation for this word either, but Dutch people use it often to describe a nice atmosphere at parties, restaurants, cafes, and meetings (just to name a few examples). It’s basically related to the atmosphere of the group of people you are with, but it can be used to describe a cozy environment of a space.
Leuk = fun, nice
‘Leuk’ can be used in a variety of ways, but is mostly used to describe that something was fun. However, it can also be used to describe someone who has a pleasant personality or all around good vibe.
Goed = good, well
This one is one of the easiest words in Dutch that translates smoothly from English to Dutch. It is often used to say that you are in a good mood or to ask how someone is doing. When you are doing well, you say ‘het gaat goed’. Often, it’s used together with ‘alles’ (everything), so ‘alles goed’. This could be a very common conversation between Dutch people:
“Ja zeker. Met jou ook?”
“Ja met mij gaat ook alles goed.”
It’s basically a polite way to say hello. Only close friends or family would give an honest answer if you are asking ‘Alles goed?’. Furthermore, you can use ‘goed’ as well to explain that someone is good at something specific (horse riding, playing football, singing etc.)
Mooi = beautiful, nice, good
To describe that something looks good. This can be a person, but also all kind of other things like clothes, buildings, cars etc. You can also say it to describe beautiful weather.
Enzo… = Etcetera, and so on…
This word can be added to the end of a sentence, but is not necessary. It doesn’t have a clear meaning, but people mostly use it to explain that there’s more. You can use enzo to give an example, like ‘Zij is echt grappig enzo’ (‘She is really funny and so on’).
Dus… = So…
This word is used a lot when a conversation is stuck and gets inconvenient. To fill the awkward silence, people say ‘dus…’
Echt = really, really?
Echt is used to both emphasize something ‘deze appel is echt lekker’ (‘this apple is really delicious’) and to express surprise or to check if someone is joking. It basically has the same meaning as ‘Really?’. For example: ‘Vandaag ga ik niet naar school.’ ‘Echt?’ (‘Today I’m not going to school.’ ‘Really?’)
Hoi / Doei = Hey / Bye bye
If you want to say hello or goodbye in an informal way, then hoi and doei are the best choice. And they sound cute as well! Doei should be pronounced as ‘doo-ee’.
Give some of these words a try when you’re out and about in the Netherlands!