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“Thank You” in Dutch: Best Expressions for Any Occasion

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Before gaining a comprehensive vocabulary or perfecting the nuances of grammar, learning how to say “thank you” in Dutch is vital, especially for those early conversations. During my time in the Netherlands, while I was still fumbling through learning the language and the cultural etiquette, I found that humility, a willingness to try, and a sincere “thank you” where appropriate could get me quite far in my travels.

In most scenarios, a simple “dank je wel” will do just fine. However, as you progress in your studies, it’s helpful to learn about all the different ways you can say “thank you”.

Expressing Yourself with Sincerity

Before diving into the various expressions and their nuances, it’s important to note one key cultural factor that will have an impact on how you will be perceived. Generally, the Dutch tend to be quite straightforward and level-headed people. Exaggeration and insincere expressions are typically frowned upon.

An excellent example of this is apologizing too frequently. It’s considered slimy to use “sorry” too lightly or as a result of causing a minor inconvenience. Alternatively, apologizing to a friend in response to hearing bad news might earn you a baffled, “But it wasn’t your fault”.

In light of this, it’s important to use measured responses when speaking Dutch. Avoid using big expressions of gratitude for small favors as it can give people the impression that you’re being insincere or dramatic.

How to say “Thank You” in Dutch: Informal Settings

Although there are formal and informal ways of addressing people in Dutch, formal expressions are used in far fewer contexts. If you are just visiting the country or you intend to stay with friends, formal Dutch is something you will likely never need, so it’s best to start with informal sayings.

It’s also important to note that although the list below can seem overwhelming, it’s not necessary to memorize everything straight away. Realistically, you can get away with only learning two or three different forms of “thank you” and it should carry you through most conversations. However, knowing a variety of different expressions can be beneficial to help you express yourself more accurately, whether it’s a casual “dank je wel” to a barista passing you a drink or a heartfelt “ontzettend bedankt” to someone who has done you a big favor.

Listed below are a few informal ways of saying “thank you” in Dutch:


This is the equivalent of saying a simple “thanks” in English. It is the most casual variation of all the expressions listed below. This expression would be most applicable when speaking to friends and family.

“Dank je”

In English, this translates to “thank you”. This is one of the most common and versatile ways of saying “thank you” in Dutch. If in doubt, this is a fairly safe bet to fall back on and, as with “bedankt”, is typically used around friends and family.

“Dank je wel”

This is a slightly less casual variation of the above expression. In everyday conversation, it could be used when speaking to a shop assistant or a colleague.

“Zeer bedankt”

Where a simple “thank you” isn’t enough and you want to emphasize the sentiment, you can say “zeer bedankt”. This translates to “thank you very much” and would be appropriate to use where someone has gone out of their way to help you. However, be mindful of using this or anything stronger for acknowledging small gestures, as it could come across as insincere or an overexaggeration.

“Heel erg bedankt”

In a similar vein to the expression above, this saying translates to “thank you very much”. However, it carries a slightly stronger sentiment than “zeer bedankt”.

“Ontzettend bedankt”

Although this saying can also be translated to “thank you very much”, it’s a slightly stronger sentiment than the above two examples. “Ontzettend” on its own can be translated as “enormous” or “tremendous”.

“Hartstikke bedankt”

This popular saying can be translated as “many thanks”, although it’s a slightly warmer sentiment than the English equivalent.

“Hartelijk bedankt”

The English equivalent for this expression is “my heartfelt thanks” and it’s a more formal variation of “hartstikke bedankt”. This is used most commonly in writing.

“Super bedankt”

In English, the equivalent of this expression is “super, thanks!”. It’s a casual expression used most often by young people. However, adults might also use it with very close friends. As a rule of thumb, it’s an expression best avoided in work or more formal environments.

“Alvast bedankt”

To thank someone in advance in an informal or casual way, you can say, “alvast bedankt”. In English, this translates most closely to “thank you in advance”. This saying can be used in conversation or to end an informal letter or email.

“Ik ben je eeuwig dankbaar”

The English equivalent of this saying is, “I am eternally thankful/grateful to you”. This would only be appropriate to use if the person you are thanking has done something truly spectacular and changed your life for the better in an incredible way.

How to Say “Thank You” in Dutch: Formal Settings

When learning Dutch, you will rarely encounter scenarios where using formal pronouns is needed. Even in a situation where it would be more appropriate to use a formal expression, and you end up using an informal variation (either because you don’t know the vocabulary or you forget to use different pronouns), most Dutch people will be quite happy to see that you are trying to learn the language and give you some leeway with how you talk.

However, if you want to speak in a formal tone, the basic rule is that you replace the “je” pronoun in a sentence with “u”. This way of speaking is most commonly employed in the following scenarios:

  • Speaking to an elder, particularly if you do not know them very well.
  • Speaking to grandparents, unless they specifically ask you to use informal pronouns.
  • Speaking to a boss or someone in a position of authority.
  • In establishments where there is a strict dress code, such as high-end restaurants.

Here are some of the ways you can say “thank you” in Dutch in a formal setting:

“Dank u”

This is the formal variation of “dank je” and translates to “thank you”.

“Dank u wel”

This is the formal variation of “dank je wel” and just as with the saying above, translates to “thank you”.

“Dank u zeer”

This is the formal variation of “zeer bedankt” and can be translated to “thank you very much”.

“Hartelijk dank”

This is the formal variation of “hartelijk bedankt” and can be translated to “my heartfelt thanks”.

“Bij voorbaat dank”

This is the formal variation of “alvast bedankt”, and translates to “thank you in advance”. Unlike the informal version of this expression, “bij voorbaat dank” is typically only reserved for written communication. It is generally used to end formal letters and emails.

Saying “You’re Welcome” in Dutch

Now that we’ve covered some of the ways you can say “thank you” in Dutch, we’ll take a look at how to respond. Although there are plenty of ways to say “thank you”, with variations for the formality of the environment, as well as the strength of the sentiment and who you are addressing, there are comparatively fewer ways of saying “you’re welcome”.

Here are some of the most common expressions you’ll encounter in everyday conversation:

“Geen dank”

This saying can be translated as “no thanks needed” or “don’t mention it” and is the most common response to “thank you” within an informal setting.

“Geen probleem”

Literally translated as “no problem”, this is another popular response to “thank you” within an informal setting. This is more commonly used by younger people.

“Graag gedaan”

This saying is a less casual variation of the sayings listed above and can be translated to, “my pleasure” or “don’t mention it”. In comparison, it carries more weight behind it and feels more deliberate.

Saying “Thank You” in Dutch: Conclusion

Although it’s easy enough to get by with just one or two of the expressions listed above, especially in the early stages of your language studies, learning more varied and nuanced expressions can be highly rewarding.

However, if in any doubt, it’s always best to stick to the basics. A sincere “dank je wel” will serve in most situations. I’d recommend watching and listening to as many conversations as you can to gain familiarity with how the language is used. If you don’t live in the Netherlands, I’d highly recommend consuming as many Dutch books, TV shows, and movies as you can. With time and active listening, you will begin to recognize where more expressive variations are appropriate.

In most instances, the Dutch tend to be very supportive when they can see you are trying your best to speak the language. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to drop in a new expression where it feels like it might be a good fit. It can be a little awkward at first but it will begin to feel more natural and comfortable with time.

Keep practicing and good luck!

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