Dutch is a West Germanic language derived from the Frankish language, which also influenced Old French and there are 28 million Dutch-speakers worldwide, including 22 million native speakers.
Dutch is mostly spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as in the Dutch Antilles and Suriname.
Given their Germanic roots, Dutch, German, and English bear some similarities; Dutch is probably somewhere in the middle between English and German. While Dutch does enjoy leaving the verb at the end of the sentence occasionally, like in German, it doesn’t have the cases German does, which makes it more akin to English.
- Your pronunciation of Dutch words, e.g. Scheveningen, tells native speakers whether or not Dutch is really your mother tongue; this was the downfall of more than one German spy during WWII.
- Flemish is a variant of Dutch, but it’s not an actual language.
- Dutch words that are similar to their English cousins are:
- appel = apple
- banaan = banana
- blauw = blue
- groen = green
- peer = pear
- rood = red
- tomaat = tomato
- The Dutch eat more liquorice than any other country in the world – over 32 million kilos.
- The colour orange is related to the Dutch Royal Family and represents the national identity of the Netherlands.
- There are more bikes (over 18 million) in the Netherlands than there are people.
Research suggests that the Netherlands is the eighth most competitive economy in the world and is home to over 400 British companies. As a country, two strengths of the Dutch market are that it is an early adopter of new technology and it is one of the world’s most open economies. However, it is highly competitive and so UK companies should be well prepared in order to meet the competition from both domestic and international companies.
Export opportunities are to be found in minerals & fuels, pharmaceuticals, vehicles & machinery, organic chemicals, electronic equipment and optical/medical apparatus to name but a few. It is also thought that any UK companies that are active in the defence and security sectors will find adequate opportunities arising.
It is advised that a local representative is sought when exporting, to then distribute within the country. This is because the Netherlands are a small and well-developed country and therefore personal acquaintances are important.
The Dutch are creative, open minded and pragmatic. They are also rather direct, honest and open in their dealings with others. The Dutch are known for their tolerant attitudes. They see the family as the foundation to social structure and families tend to be small, with few women working outside of the family home compared to other cultures.
However personal life is kept very much separate from business and you shouldn’t attempt to discuss it with them as they will refuse. Friendships that develop from work are not then brought into the office to ensure a sensible environment in which to work as camaraderie is frowned upon.
Business tip: Direct eye contact, hand shaking and being formal in nature is well accepted in business environments and all aspects are taken very seriously, so deviating from an agenda is deeply frowned upon, as is being late.
Here are some basic Dutch words and phrases to familiarise yourself with:
|Thank you||Bedankt or Dank u (formal)|
|Goodbye||Dak (formal) Doei (informal)|
We have done extensive Dutch translations in the health and wellbeing sector, the automotive industry as well as personal documentation for pre-employment screening. In recent years, we have translated large e-commerce websites into Dutch as well as product catalogues, product information sheets and technical specifications.
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