Start practicing your Dutch conversational skills right away with these 10 popular Dutch questions and their respective answers. Use them on your colleagues. Your neighbours. Your cat. As long as you use them. Don’t be shy. Klaar voor de start? (= are you ready?)
Hoe is ie? / Hoe ist? / Alles goed?
Probably the first question you will learn: how are things? Everything allright? Literally the first one means ‘how is he?’, the second questions translates to ‘how is it?’ and the last one to ‘everything good?’. Alot of students of the Dutch language confuse Dutch with English, but it is really not the same. Sometimes it is, of course, but never forget it is a completely different language having way more in common with the German language.
Answer with ‘Prima! Hoe gaat het met jou?’, meaning ‘Fine! How are you?’.
2. Hoe gaat het met..?
This one translates to ‘how goes it with…’, meaning how are things with XYZ. You can use it for anything or anyone, from your favorite Netflix series to your lost cat or annoying colleague. Don’t expect an honest answer too often, though. You can answer with a ‘Goed! Dankjewel.’.
3. Wat doe je…?
What are you doing? Literally: ‘what do you?’. Use this question when calling your friends or family to know what they’re up to. Answer with whatever you are doing at that moment, for example ‘Ik ben aan het koken, jij?’ meaning ‘I’m cooking, and you?’.
4. Waar ben je?
Where are you? Ben derives from the verb ‘zijn’, which means to be. One of the most important verbs of any language, and very irregular in the Dutch one, too. You can answer with a ‘Ik ben bij/in..’ + the place you are at.
5. Waarom doe je dat? / Ben je gek?
Why are you doing that?/Are you crazy? Use these questions to find out why someone is doing anything. The last one is used especially when your friend is doing some stupid stuff again. You can answer with ‘Ik doe dat, omdat ik…’ + your reason with the verb at the end of the sentence.
6. Waar is de…?
Remember that one time when you really needed a toilet, but couldn’t find one and forgot how to ask it in Dutch (=waar is het toilet?)? Everyone else does. Never feel like that again, and also, never forget this question again. Very useful in any store or supermarket as well. Answering can be done with ‘Het is in/bij/op..’ meaning ‘It is in/at/on..’ or in combination with any other relevant prepositions of course, or the specific name of the thing/person instead of ‘het’.
7. Ga je nog op vakantie?
The one questions that occupies every regular Dutch employee everywhere, especially during the winter and summer months. Are you planning to going on holidays? An answer will typically start with ‘Ja’ or ‘Nee’, following with the actual plans for the vacation or residing at home.
8. Zal ik je helpen? / Hulp nodig?
Shall I help you?/Do you need help? This one is self-explanatory; use it whenever you feel like helping someone. If you are the one in need, just shout ‘Help me!’ or ‘Kun je me helpen, alsjeblieft?’ An answer will obviously begin with ‘Ja’ or ‘Nee’, with an additional ‘Dankjewel’, depending on the gratitude of the person you’re helping out.
9. Wie is dat?
Who is that? If you are curious about who someone might be, this is the question. We Dutchies can be very nosy and annoying, as we always want to know everything and everyone (or appear to know it all). Answer with a ‘Dat is..’ (= that is…).
10. Wanneer ben jij jarig?
When is your birthday? We Dutch really value our birthdays. Cake, family, free food, ‘gezellig’! You can answer with the date, or even better, with a ‘Mijn verjaardag is op..’ plus the date.