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Common Ways to Say “How Are You” in Dutch

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Regardless of what Dutch language level you aspire toward, learning how to greet people and how to respond in kind will prove to be a fundamental part of your vocabulary. In a previous article, we went into detail about all the different ways to say hello in Dutch.

However, a typical follow-up to that is asking how the person is. So, if you’re interested in expanding your greetings, here are some of the ways that you can ask how are you in Dutch.

Saying How Are You in Dutch: The Basics

Before we dive into the vocabulary, let’s take a look at when you are most likely to employ some variation of this phrase.

When greeting a stranger, such as a cashier or a waiter, it’s best to stick to basic greetings. A simple dag or goedendag will do just fine in these instances.

However, if you know the person, you can extend your greeting by also asking how they are. Depending on how well you know the person and how close you are will provide some indication of how to proceed with this.

If the interaction is relatively formal, such as when talking to an acquaintance or a work colleague, the interaction might look something like this:



Speaker 1: Dag, hoe gaat het?

Speaker 1: Hi, how are you?

Speaker 2: Geweldig hoor! En met jou?

Speaker 2: Brilliant, and you?

Speaker 1: Ja, prima.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I’m great.

It’s important to keep in mind that, unless you know the person well or the question is asked with genuine interest, to keep your answer to this question short. A simple, honest response is most suitable in this type of scenario. You might respond with geweldig (great) or niet zo goed (not so good). If the person asks for more details, then feel free to expand if you’d like.

However, if the interaction is casual and you know the person well, you can really start to expand your greeting. Rather than responding briefly to being asked how you are, you might give a little more detail on how you’re doing or talk about a recent bit of news in your life. You might then follow this up by asking the person you are speaking to how they are doing.

Regardless of how formal or informal the interaction is or how well you know the person you are speaking to, it’s important to remain measured in your responses. Exaggeration and insincerity are generally frowned upon in Dutch culture. At best, you may come across as a little dramatic. At worst you may be interpreted as insincere or rude.

With that said, we will now look at some of the different ways to say how are you in Dutch.

Basic Ways to Say How Are You in Dutch

All of the phrases listed below are informal. However, I have also included one formal variation where this might be needed.

Hoe gaat het?

If you are just getting started on your Dutch language studies, I would highly recommend memorizing this phrase before any of the rest that follow. It’s a common phrase and a solid all-rounder, suitable for use with both friends and people you don’t know.

Translated roughly as “how are you doing?” or “how is it going?”, this is the least casual of the list that follows. It’s a safe choice if you don’t know the person you are speaking to and an expression you can use in most environments without sounding too stiff.

Where the situation demands a little more formality, such as when speaking to people in a position of authority, you can say: hoe gaat het met u?

What makes this formal is the inclusion of “u”. There are two ways to say you in Dutch: je/jij and u, with je/jij being the casual versions and u being a formal variant.

Hoe is het?

Literally translated as “how is it?”, this informal expression is best used around people you know.

It’s worth noting that the meaning of this expression depends on context. Aside from being used as a greeting, it can also be used to ask someone’s opinion on something. Someone hosting a dinner party might direct this question to a guest to see what they think of the food that has been served. As another example, if your coworker approaches you over your lunch break and asks you this question, indicating a book you’re currently reading, they’re asking your opinion on the book.

Alles goed?

The direct translation of this is “everything good?” or “all good?” and it can be used in all the same scenarios where it would be appropriate to use in English.

This is a very popular informal greeting in the Netherlands and is suitable to use around friends, family, and coworkers. If you 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?

Alles oké? is a slightly more casual variation of alles goed?

The direct translation for this expression 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 overly familiar and 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 are not close to.

Alles kits?

Out of all the options on this list, alles kits? is arguably the most casual way of saying how are you 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 equivalent 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 be perceived as immature or as though you’re trying too hard.

Responding to How Are You in Dutch

As mentioned earlier, when someone asks how are you in Dutch, it’s best to keep your response short unless you know the person quite well. A key indicator of this is body language. If the person asking is looking at you with genuine interest, and they seem to be in the mood for a chat, then feel free to include more detail if you want.

If in any doubt, it’s best to keep your answer short but sincere. Below are a few common responses to being asked how are you in Dutch.



Gaat wel

It’s okay



Geweldig/Geweldig hoor






Het gaat prima

It’s going well

Het gaat lekker

It’s going well

Het gaat goed! Hoe gaat het met jou?

It’s going well! How are you?

Gaat wel goed. En met jou?

It’s going well. And you?

Best wel goed. En jij?

Pretty good. And you?

Niet zo goed

Not so well



Saying How Are You in Dutch: In Conclusion

Although there are many ways to say how are you in Dutch, you can easily get away with just knowing one or two basic phrases to start with. Unless you are learning Dutch to better connect with family or friends, your primary interactions will be with strangers, such as cashiers and waiters, and these interactions will demand very little by comparison to more casual, intimate conversations.

Take your time and practice whenever you can. With time, you will begin to get a feeling for the flow of common conversation. As you become more comfortable with the expressions being used, you can start to play around with the language a little more and incorporate new bits of vocabulary or ways of working with your greetings so that they become more tailored to whatever situations you find yourself in.

At the end of the day, it’s important to take your time. If someone asks you how you are in Dutch and you don’t feel confident putting together larger sentences, don’t be afraid to respond with a shorter stock response, such as gaat wel, prima, or best wel goed. Although sincerity is always the preferred option, sometimes it’s worth taking into account that certain answers are more likely to provoke further questions. Keeping your response purposefully vague can be a helpful deterrent to that effect.

However, that said, practice is key. Where you can, try to put yourself in situations where you can test these phrases as often as possible and find the ones that work best for you.

I wish you the best luck with your studies, and, as always, blijf oefenen!

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