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How to Say “Hello” in Dutch and Other Popular Dutch Greetings

person holding Hello! sticker

Learning a basic greeting will likely be one of the first things you pick up as you embark on your Dutch language studies. Regardless of your motivation for studying Dutch, be it travel, work, or interacting with friends or family, a basic greeting is always a useful piece of vocabulary to have on hand. In this article, we will be discussing how to say “hello” in Dutch in a variety of scenarios. We will also discuss a few popular greetings, as well as common ways to respond.

“Hello” in Dutch: Basic Greetings

If you are just starting with your language studies, learning how to say “hello” in Dutch doesn’t have to be difficult. You can realistically get away with only learning two basic greetings. As you progress, memorizing other phrases will help you express yourself with greater accuracy and nuance. However, in the beginning, the following two greetings will be sufficient to get you through most situations:


For anyone starting to learn Dutch, I recommend choosing this as your first greeting. It directly translates to “hello” and as it’s quite close in pronunciation, I found it very easy to memorize at the beginning of my own language-learning journey. It’s a practical, casual greeting, suitable for most situations when you’re just starting. However, it is most suitable for friends, family, people you know, and younger people.

It’s worth noting that this phrase can also be used to express frustration, typically in some variation of “ja, hallo!” When used in this way, the tone is usually impatient and abrupt, so it’s not something you’re likely to stumble into expressing by accident. However, if you spend any extended period in the Netherlands, there’s a good chance you’ll hear it at some point.


Where a little more formality is in order, “goedendag” is another excellent way to say “hello” in Dutch. This phrase translates to “good day” and is a suitable option when speaking to strangers, such as cashiers or wait staff. It’s also a good option when speaking to anyone older than you or people in a position of authority, such as teachers or police.

“Hello” in Dutch: Formal Greetings

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s always useful to bolster your vocabulary with a few more phrases. In the beginning, I’d recommend starting with the formal variations as they are the expressions you are most likely to need, especially if you are learning Dutch for travel or if you intend to move to the Netherlands for work or study.

All of the following expressions are time-sensitive, and it’s worth noting that, especially as you interact with older generations, they can be quite particular with the timing of when certain sayings are used. When I was working in customer service and I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the time, it happened more than once that I’d be teased for saying good morning when it was a few minutes past twelve.

Having said that, the Dutch do tend to be quite forgiving when it’s obvious you are still learning and embedding the language.

The phrases listed below are all formal and are suitable to use when greeting cashiers, baristas, work colleagues, strangers, and people with authority, such as teachers or police. However, it’s worth noting that they can also be used around friends and family without sounding too stiff. It just sounds a little more “proper” than the informal variants.

When learning how to say “hello” in Dutch, the following phrases will prove to be invaluable additions to your vocabulary.


This expression can be used at any point in the morning, from the point of waking right up until noon.


This expression can be used throughout the middle of the day, from noon to six in the evening.


This expression can be used after six in the evening. It’s worth noting that although the evening technically ends at midnight, you may continue to hear this greeting into the early hours of the morning. The reason for this is that the Dutch expression for “good night” (“goedenacht”) can’t be used as a greeting.

“Hello” in Dutch: Casual Greetings

Although all of the expressions listed above will make excellent additions to your vocabulary, they may feel a little stiff if used around particularly close friends or certain loved ones. In scenarios where you want to engage in a more playful or casual way, here are a few more greetings to try:


Dag” is a shortened version of the time-exclusive sayings listed above, and literally translates to “day”. This can be used in all the same ways as “hallo” and although it is a less formal variation of its time-sensitive counterparts, it’s also not so informal that it can’t be used in most situations.

In addition to being a greeting, it’s also worth noting that “dag” can be used to say “goodbye”.


The translation for “hoi” is “hi” and it is a slightly less formal greeting than “dag” or “hallo”. You can say this to most people, though I wouldn’t recommend it for those in a position of authority, such as a teacher or the police.

When you want to be even more casual, you can say “”. It’s important to note that this is only acceptable to use around people you know very well, such as close family members or good friends. Saying this to cashiers, wait staff, or people in a position of authority may cause some offense.

It’s worth noting that “” also has a few different spellings, such as “hey” or “heej”.

“Hello” in Dutch: Asking “How Are You?” in Dutch

Another common way to greet people in the Netherlands is to ask “how are you?” Here are some popular variations for this type of greeting:

Hoe gaat het?

This saying translates roughly to “how are you doing?” or “how is it going?” and is the most formal variation in the list that follows. It’s the safest option to choose when you don’t know the person you are addressing, and an expression you can use in most environments without sounding too stiff.

In scenarios where you need to be a little more formal, such as when speaking to people in a position of authority, you can adjust this saying to: “hoe gaat het met u?

Hoe is het?

This informal expression literally translates to “how is it?” and is best used around people you know.

It’s worth noting that the meaning of this expression depends on context. It can also be used to ask someone’s opinion on something. As an example, if your coworker approaches you over lunch, indicating a book you’re reading, and asks “hoe is het?”, they are asking you what you think of the book. Someone hosting a dinner may also ask this to see what you think of the food that has been served.

Alles goed?

The direct translation of this is “everything good?” or “all good?” and is applicable in all the same scenarios it could be used in English.

This is a very popular informal greeting in the Netherlands and is suitable to use around friends, family, and coworkers. If you are going to spend any extended time in the Netherlands, you will likely end up using and hearing this one quite a bit.

When someone addresses you with “alles goed?”, the standard response is “ja hoor” which is a casual way of saying “yes”.

Alles oké?

In a similar vein to “alles goed”, you can also use “alles oké?” which is a slightly more casual variation. The direct translation is “everything okay?” and is suitable in all the same scenarios you might use this expression in English. It’s best avoided in any setting where a degree of formality is expected, as it might come across as insincere or even a little rude.

Alles lekker?

This is an intriguing expression that doesn’t have a direct translation into English. If you translate “lekker” on its own, you will likely get back “tasty” but that’s not an entirely accurate translation. Although “lekker” can mean “tasty”, it can also mean “pleasant”.

Food can be “lekker”, but a nice summer walk with friends can also be “lekker”.

In a similar vein, by asking someone “alles lekker?”, you are simply asking them if everything is okay in a very casual way. I would only recommend using this with good friends as it indicates a certain degree of familiarity that may come across as grating, insincere, or even rude if used with someone you aren’t close with.

Alles kits?

Of all the expressions on this list, “alles kits?” is arguably the most casual way of saying “hello” in Dutch. When I was growing up, I remember hearing this one all the time while watching TV. There is no direct translation for this saying, but the closest English expression would be, “what’s up?”

Most commonly used among young people and teenagers, this is only suitable for use around very close friends. If you use this saying around the wrong people, you may come across as immature or like you’re trying too hard.


If you’re greeted with some variation of “how are you?” in Dutch, it’s best to keep your answer short unless you know the person quite well. Keep an eye on their body language. If the person asking looks like they are interested or in the mood for a chat, then feel free to add more details. Otherwise, here are a few common responses you can use:



Gaat wel

It’s okay



Geweldig hoor


Het gaat goed! Hoe gaat het met jou?

I’m good! How are you doing?

Gaat wel goed. En met jou?

It’s going well. How about you?

Best wel goed. En jij?

Pretty good. How about you?

Het gaat lekker!

It’s going well!

Het gaat prima!

It’s going great!

In Conclusion

Although there are a variety of different ways to “hello” in Dutch, you realistically only need one or two sayings to get by when you’re starting to learn the language.

Above all, try not to get too worried about formality or the possibility of offending someone. In my experience, most people in the Netherlands are very laid-back and quite accommodating as you start learning the language. If they can see you’re doing your best and making an effort, they are usually more than happy to overlook any instances that might have come across as rude if spoken by someone fluent in Dutch.

If you’re looking to build on your vocabulary a little more, I’d recommend the following article, detailing the various ways to say “Thank You” in Dutch.

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