Did you know there are around 23 million people in the world that speak Dutch? Most people know that Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands, but it’s also spoken in Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Curaçao, and St Maarten. This article will give you the tools to be able to introduce yourself in Dutch and carry on small talk if you find yourself in any of those countries or meet a Dutch friend. Let’s go take a look so you can make a good first impression.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Introducing Yourself In Dutch
When you meet someone for the first time, it’s important to greet them properly. Greeting people in Dutch may be different from how you meet and greet in your own culture and it’s important to be respectful.
The Dutch people are lovely people to meet! They’re known to be independent, self-sufficient, and have an entrepreneurial spirit. They value education (which could be something to mention during an introduction), hard work, and drive. What the Dutch don’t have time for is a nonessential conversation, so it’s best to keep your introductions to the point.
Here are some dos and don’ts to be mindful of in formal and informal settings where you be introducing yourself in Dutch:
- When you meet people, shake hands with everyone there including children.
- As you shake hands, introduce yourself with your surname, not your first name.
- Be sure to shake hands again with everyone when leaving.
- If no one is around to introduce you, introduce yourself.
- Always make eye contact while speaking with someone.
- Speak directly and pointedly
- Always stand when a woman enters the room.
- While talking to someone, be sure to keep your hands out of your pockets.
- Wave to greet someone if they’re far away, never shout a greeting!
- Only when greeting close friends and family, kiss on alternating cheeks three times.
- Don’t say hello when you meet someone
- Don’t use people’s first names, or your own first name when making introductions in Dutch. First names are reserved for friends and family.
- Never shout a greeting.
- Don’t touch in public (except for shaking hands).
- Don’t greet strangers.
- Never kiss new acquaintances on the cheek
- Don’t ask someone how they’re doing unless you really want the full story
How To Properly Introduce Yourself In Dutch
Making Introductions In A Formal Setting
As you meet people in a formal setting and are shaking their hands, you should introduce yourself in Dutch and say, “Ik heet.” This is the formal introductory phrase that means, “I am called…. or My name is…” Remember to state your last name and not your first name!
Ik heet (insert your surname)
In formal situations, you actually don’t say, “Hello,” but skip right to introducing your name.
You should use this formal introduction at the office, in business meetings, at conferences, and during formal family events such as Christmas.
Making Introductions In An Informal Setting
Informal settings are ones where everyone is already familiar with one another such as a party at a friend’s house, informal after-work hangouts, and regular family gatherings. In these situations, you use more casual introductions and greetings.
You can choose to introduce yourself in Dutch by saying hello, or hi, if you so wish, but you don’t need to. It’s more common to just say, “Ik ben,” which literal translation is, “I am….” As with a formal event, you would state your surname, although in an informal introduction you can state your full name or just your first name. It’s really up to you!
Let’s see some examples:
Ik ben Jordan Doe (I am Jordan Doe)
Hallo, Ik ben Jordan (Hello, I am Jordan)
Hi, Ik ben Jordan Doe (Hi, I am Jordan Doe)
Hoi, Ik ben Jordan Doe (Hi, am Jordan Doe)
Other Ways To Begin An Introduction In Dutch
You can also add a polite greeting prior to introducing yourself in Dutch. These Dutch phrases can be used in formal and informal settings.
Goedemorgen. Ik heet/Ik ben Jordan Doe. (Good morning. My name is Jordan Doe.)
Goedeavond. Ik heet/Ik ben Jordan Doe. (Good evening. My name is Jordan Doe.)
Goedemiddag. Ik heet/Ik ben Jordan Doe. (Good afternoon. My name is Jordan Doe.)
Goedendag. Ik heet/Ik ben Jordan Doe. (Good day. My name is Jordan Doe.)
How To Respond To Formal Introductions In Dutch
When you introduce yourself in Dutch to others, or they introduce themselves to you, it’s common to follow with a phrase of acknowledgment. The Dutch have shortened, “It’s nice to meet you” into a single word, “Aangenaam .” This single word also translates to the phrase, “I’m pleased to meet you.” Here’s an example of a good introduction in a formal setting:
Goedemiddag. Ik heet Jordan Doe. Aangenaam. (Good afternoon. My name is Jordan Doe. Pleased to meet you.)
How To Respond To Informal Introductions In Dutch
In a casual situation, it’s also common to add a pleasantry after meeting someone. There are couple phrases to acknowledge it’s nice to meet someone.
Aangenaam kennis te maken. (Nice to meet you.)
Leuk je te ontmoeten. (Nice to meet you.)
Let’s see these in a complete sentence:
Hallo, Ik ben Jordan. Aangenaam kennis te maken (Hello, I am Jordan. Nice to meet you.)
Hoi, Ik ben Jordan. Leuk je te ontmoeten. (Hi, I am Jordan. Nice to meet you.)
When To Use Mijn Naam Is…?
I bet you can guess what, “Mijn naam is” means? It sounds quite similar to its Engish translation which is, “My name is….” You might think this is a common way to introduce yourself in Dutch, but it’s actually considered rude. The Dutch find this a stiff way to introduce oneself, so you should never lead with, “Mijn naam is.”
However, you are allowed to say, “Mijn naam is” if someone has asked you what your name is first! For instance:
Wat is jouw naam? (What is your name?).
Mijn naam is Jordan Doe. (My name is Jordan Doe)
Conversation Small Talk When Making Introductions In Dutch
People may be curious when they meet you for the first to learn more about you, and vis versa. You may be asked about where you’re from or where you’re living, your age, whether you speak Dutch, and what you do for a living. Here are some questions and phrases to help you carry on a conversation after the initial introduction is over.
How To Ask Or Reply To “Where Are You From?” Or “Where Do You Live?” In Dutch
Where are you from? / Waar kom jij vandaan?
I am from The Netherlands. (insert country or city name) / Ik kom uit Nederland.
Where do you live? / Waar woon jij?
I live in (insert city or neighborhood name) / Ik woon in Eindhoven.
How To Ask Or Reply To “Which languages Do You Speak?” In Dutch
The Dutch are very learned people and appreciate it when people know more than one language, so you may be asked if you speak other languages.
Do you speak Dutch? / Spreekt u Nederlands?
Yes, I speak Dutch. / Ja, ik spreek Nederlands.
Yes, I speak a little Dutch. / Ja, ik spreek een beetje Nederlands.
Which languages do you speak? / Welke talen spreek jij?
I speak Dutch, English and French. / Ik spreek Nederlands, Engels, en Frans.
How To Ask Or Reply To “How Old Are You?” In Dutch
If you’re hanging out with or meeting young people in the Netherlands then it’s normal for them to inquire about your age! Let’s learn how to ask and respond.
How old are you? / Hoe oud ben jij?
I am (insert age) years old. / Ik ben 20 jaar oud.
How To Ask Or Reply To “What is Your Profession?” In Dutch
What do you do? Or, what is your profession? Are both questions you’ll likely be asked due to the culture in the Netherlands. Here’s how to ask and answer questions about occupations in Dutch.
What do you do for a living? / Wat doe je voor de kost?
What is your profession? / Wat is je beroep?
What do you do for work? Wat doe je voor werk?
I am a (insert profession) / Ik ben een……..
Some professions are:
Learn More Basic Dutch Phrases
All right! You’ve got this! Be sure to bookmark this page so you can quickly reference how to introduce yourself in Dutch using these phrases.
Also, know that beginners don’t have to struggle to learn a new language.
A well-structured Dutch language course will teach you the necessary vocabulary and Dutch phrases, and Ling App has the Dutch language and over 60 other languages! Our language app will make learning Dutch easy and fun.
We’ll also help you get the correct Dutch pronunciation and learn all the key phrases you need to know for business or travel. Practice between 5-10 minutes daily, and you’ll be ready for basic conversations in no time!
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