The new year is an important date in the Netherlands. This is mainly because the people there get very few national holidays, and New Year’s Day is one of the few. Because of that, people tend to go all out celebrating New Year’s Eve (Oudejaarsavond) and New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaarsdag.) You’ll definitely want to know how to wish a Happy New Year in Dutch!
The Dutch follow the Georgian calendar. This means New Year falls between December 31st and January 1st, which is essential to know if you’re specifically planning to be in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands to celebrate! In fact, you may want to brush up on how to read and say times and dates in Dutch.
How Do The Dutch Celebrate New Year’s Eve?
The translation of New Year’s Eve (Oudejaarsnacht) into English means old year’s night. There’s something poetic about this: you say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year.
New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands is celebrated much like it is in the west, with friends and family, fireworks, and drinks. It’s common for people to go to parties or host a party around the cities. But, it’s also quite common for people to stay home and watch the traditional New Year’s Eve shows that showcase comedy and cabaret until the live New Year’s countdown.
At midnight, there is a countdown with everyone shouting out numbers in Dutch. The streets become alight with fireworks, marking the occasion of sending off the old year and bringing in the new year. Fireworks are shot off by people in the streets, including children. Large cities such as Amsterdam will also have massive fireworks productions to bring in the new year.
Apparently, everyone is encouraged to shoot fireworks in the Netherlands due to an ancient pagan belief that the loud noises and lights will drive off evil spirits cleaning the slate for the new year.
You may also be wondering, what do the Dutch say at New Year? Keep reading! We’re getting to that soon.
How Do The Dutch Celebrate New Year’s Day?
New Year’s Day is reserved for lovely (and often expensive) brunches, lunches, and dinners in some nations. Not in the Netherlands! Instead, the first day of the year is more of a recovery day. Most people don’t go to bed on New Year’s Eve because they are partying into the early morning, but they don’t necessarily go to bed!
Oh no… that wouldn’t be the true way to start the new year. You have to do it right! But how?
By jumping into the freezing sea waters! This popular custom takes place mostly in The Hague (Scheveningen) in the North Sea, where thousands show up to “polar bear” dip into the ice-cold waters. Talk about an instant hangover cure! Other less intense ways to spend the day such as relaxing with family.
How Do You Say Happy New Year In Dutch?
There are only three ways to wish a Happy New Year in Dutch, and they are:
- Gelukkig nieuwjaar meaning Happy New Year
- Beste wensen meaning best wishes
- Fijn uiteinde which means have a happy ending/good ending (to the year)
The most common phrase is gelukkig nieuwjaar which can be used in any situation with anyone. No need to worry about formalities! To know how to pronounce each of these Dutch phrases, be sure to click on the blue button to listen to a native speaker say each word.
What Are Common New Year’s Resolutions In The Netherlands?
New Year’s Resolution (Het Goede Voornemen)
The Dutch people enjoy making new year’s resolutions; sometimes families will make them together. Many resolutions are similar to those made around the world.
Here is how to pronounce and translate resolutions into Dutch so you can share yours with others, such as friends or family:
Other Common New Year’s Words and Phrases To Know In Dutch
Thanks For Learning Dutch With Us!
Dutch isn’t too difficult of a language to learn. In fact, once you learn Dutch, you can easily pick up other similar languages, such as German, which follow a similar sentence and grammatical structure – also, much of the vocabulary is the same!
So let’s learn Dutch together. Head over to Ling App, an effective and popular language app with over 10 million downloads. It’s an all-encompassing tool to help you learn the Dutch language (which is just one of over 60 languages offered by Ling.)
Learning Dutch with Ling offers a different learning experience because we hire native speakers to help curate and design each language course.
You’ll receive reading and listening practice through audio recorded by native Dutch speakers. Ling also has writing practice which uses an interactive whiteboard that allows you to write on your phone screen.
Oh, and gelukkig nieuwjaar to you if you’re reading this around new year’s!
Free Dutch Course!
If you are ready to immerse yourself in the Dutch language, we recommend taking these online courses by Ramon Jenssen, a qualified Dutch native speaker who has taught the language for many years. His lessons will guide you through this language in such an easy and effective way that your comprehension of the language and culture will improve fast. Interested? Try out the free course about greetings and how to introduce yourself in Dutch!