You Should Know These Words!

Dutch is an interesting language. It sounds a bit like a mix of English and German, with a lot of signature guttural sounds. On exchange this semester I’ve been keeping a list of my favourite Dutch words I’ve learned so far, and I thought I’d share a few:

1. Lekker

This commonly translates to English directly as “yummy,” but can actually be widely used as an adjective to describe a variety of things. Other translates for the word include “nice,” “pleasant,” “enjoyable,” “love/lovely,” and so on.

The Dutch will use lekker to describe food, experiences, people, pretty much anything! They often also combine it with other words to have a specific meaning. For example: “slaaplekker,” which means literally “sleep well,” and is usually used instead of goodnight.

2. Smakelijk

A synonym for lekker, smakelijk is directly translated as “tasty”. I see this, along with lekker, on food packaging all over the grocery store.

Having a coffee and Spekpannenkoek along one of the canals in Utrecht, Netherlands. Pannenkoek are Dutch pancakes, similar in thickness to crepes, served with stroop (Dutch syrup). Pannenkoek can be sweet or savoury- pictured is a savoury bacon (spek) Pannenkoek. You could describe this as lekker or smakelijk!

3. Biertje

This can translate to “beer,” or also “little beer.” When you order a biertje in a Dutch bar or restaurant, you are usually ordering a cute little 200mL “fluitje” (little whistle) glass of the house beer.

4. Borrel

Translated to English this means “drink,” but it really means much more than that. A Dutch Borrel is a relatively informal social gathering, often after a workday, with drinks and usually some snacks as well: most often Dutch classics like bitterballen (fried balls of potato and meat), frikandel (a type of sausage), and kaasstengels (fried cheese sticks). The Dutch really seem to love their fried food, and Borrel is no exception!

5. Pindakaas

Literally “peanut cheese,” but really means peanut butter. I learned this word right away in the grocery store and it’s stuck with me since.

6. Handschoenen

Like the Germans, the Dutch are quite literal with their words. Handschoenen means gloves, but directly translated is “hand shoes,” which I think is pretty hilarious.

7. Doei doei!

This is the equivalent of “bye bye!” but I think it’s so much more fun to say.

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