amsterdam canals with boats

Our international colleagues' favorite Dutch expressions

It is common knowledge that Dutch is not the easiest language to learn. And then on top of that there are many idiomatic sayings and expressions. Our international colleagues share their favorites!

Dutch people are pro at mistranslating existing idiomatic sayings and expressions into incorrect grammatical Dutch. The legendary English pronouncements of Louis van Gaal are the perfect example. As a non-Dutch, the bad translation makes them harder to understand, but no less funny. We've translated some of them for you, so that you can learn and speak like a native speaker from the start!

Unfortunately peanut butter

Dutch translation: 'Helaas pindakaas'.
What it means: This is too bad, it didn't work out.

He stood there for Jan with the short aftername

Dutch translation: 'Hij stond erbij voor Jan met de korte achternaam'.
What it means: He had no meaningful activity.

Even if a monkey wears a gold ring, it is and always will be an ugly thing

Dutch translation: 'Al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding'.
What it means: Who dresses beautifully does not become beautiful himself.

As if an angel is peeing over your tongue

Dutch translation: 'Alsof er een engeltje over je tong piest'.
What is means: Find it very tasty

Have chicken skin

Dutch translation: 'Kippenvel hebben'.
What it means: Having goosebumps, being cold. In the Netherlands, the 'goose' is replaced with 'chicken'.

A child can do the laundry

Dutch translation: 'Een kind kan de was doen'.
What it means: It goes very easily.

Which one is your favorite and are you going to use to impress your friends?

Picture Inge

written by Inge

My love for exploring new cities has grown since I live near Eindhoven’s city center. Hopefully, I can share some valuable content with you to help you feel at home in your city as well!