Dutch News style guide

Dutch News general style guide 

English spelling

We will refer to the site as Dutch News in articles and in photo caption credits

Avoid using the word ‘Dutch’ all the time – it is usually unnecessary but it is nice to mention in the first or second paragraph for SEO reasons

Always include first names

No capital letters for titles: queen, prime minister, chairman, professor, parliament etc

Capital letters to a minimum

Abbreviations to a minimum

Acronyms are in upper case if they are just letters, but upper and lower case if they spell out a word which is used, ie Fifa, Uefa, AOW, KNVB. So, the Dutch state pension AOW, world football body Fifa, Dutch family spending institute Nibud.

No full stops between letters: PM not P.M.

Double quotes round quotations:  “quote”

Comma inside quotes marks: “We are having a lovely time,” she said.

Titles of films, books, plays (but not newspapers) in italics.


Some common things

Britain not UK

US not America, but American is okay

10 kilometres, 1.5 metre society

10 kilos

10 kph

Time: 10 am, 10 pm. But prefer ‘early morning’, ‘late afternoon’. If relevant use ‘local Dutch time’ not CET.

Value added tax (btw) and thereafter btw

Religion: with capital letter: Muslim, Protestant, Christian, Islam, Jewish

Money: If no euro amount available, use original currency: €23, €67 billion. No gap between currency, amount but a space between million and billion

Millions and billions: always write out in full unless short of space in a headline. Then it is €43m or €43b. We use the US billion (thousand million)

Metres and kilometres: always write out in full, so 1.5 metre society, 10 kilometres from Amsterdam

Education: We use primary and secondary school, university, hbo college, and vocational college (mbo) as generic terms. For vmbo we use trade school if the distinction is necessary. Students go to college and university, pupils go to school

Universities are known as Amsterdam University, Delft University etc. Technische universities are universities of technology not technical universities, but we try to avoid it altogether.

Heathcare: family doctors not GP (too English). UUMC is Utrecht University’s teaching hospital UUMC

Newspapers: we call them the Volkskrant, the Financieele Dagblad if they are het or de, otherwise without (Trouw). For some reason we also use the NRC  

S not Z

° rather than a big C or Celsius for temperature  (option, shift 8 on a mac)



MP or member of parliament, parliamentarian if the acronyms get too much.

Tweede Kamer: parliament. Use ‘lower house of parliament’  only if relevant

Eerste Kamer: upper house of parliament or senate

Junior ministers not state secretaries 

A political party has

  • a chairman or chairwoman not chairperson
  • a party leader (who heads the election campaign)
  • and a parliamentary party leader (never faction leader or party leader)

We always give a short description of the political party if necessary.

Local government

Local authority or council but not municipality

A local authority has:

a mayor – who is crown-appointed

councillors – who are elected

executives or department heads/chiefs (wethouders) – who are non-elected, the local council version of a minister, ie finance chief Fred Smith said. We have stopped using alderman

b&w (burgomeeter en wethouders) is the local authority version of the cabinet. Avoid if possible, if unavoidable use executive committee. Ie The council’s executive committee is meeting tonight

Deelraad: borough council

Provincie: provincial council or provincial government

Rijkswaterstaat: use transport ministry where ever possible. Transport ministry roads department or transport ministry waterworks department if necessary


Brussels is an acceptable substitute for European Commission or Commission. Many people still associate EC with the European Community so we avoid it.

The European parliament has MEPs or ‘members of the European parliament’.