There are some Dutch words which just sneak in to the conversation, either because we use them so much or because there is no equivalent in our own tongues. Here’s a list of 10 Dutch words every buitenlander uses from day one.
Lekker: the proverbial first word everyone seems to learn and which describes just about everything which is positive. Even people who say they don’t speak a word of Dutch will use the odd ‘lekker’.
Borrel: for some reason, we don’t go for drinks, we always have a borrel. And if you are young expats working in an international environment you may even have a vrijmibo
Btw: always pronounced bee tee wee and meaning tax, not ‘by the way’.
Atv: unlike btw, atv is often pronounced in the English way (by English speakers), as in ‘I’ve got an ei tee vee tomorrow. Lucky you.
Gemeente: perhaps it is because foreigner have so much to do with the good folks in the town hall, but everyone talks about the gemeente, never the council.
Makelaar: those other good folk who find houses for extortionate fees.
Bel: when you have been in in the Netherlands a few weeks, everyone seems to stop phoning. We bel, as in ‘I’ll bel you tonight’.
Horeca: as in working in the horeca… it’s a terrifically handy term – hotel, restaurant, cafe – and one which the rest of the world could easily adopt.
Apotheek: another word that just sneaks in, even though there are plenty of respectable foreign language equivalents.
Storing: a word which all Dutch railway users will get to know very well.
This list was first published on Netherlands by Numbers. Feel free to suggest more.
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