How to flirt in Dutch: 12 things to know

The Dutch culture is a very direct and efficient culture. This also shows in the way that Dutch people date. Saying the wrong things or not being aware of the dating culture might cause awkward situations.

For people who already have a Dutch partner and are searching for a way to keep the romance alive, it might be a good idea to learn some Dutch phrases to impress their significant other.

This article focuses on what to say and what not to say when in a romantic relationship with a Dutch person.

Dutch dating culture

The Dutch dating culture is as direct as it can be. It can therefore be quite intimidating for people from other cultures to ask a Dutch person out on a date.

Do not be afraid. Even though Dutch people will tell you exactly how they feel, they mean well.

The most important thing to know is that in Dutch culture, men and women are equal. Therefore, they need to be treated the same.

Regarding dating, this means that the following things are important to keep in mind:

Because of Dutch practicality, they spend little time playing hard-to-get. Time is money and dating in Dutch should be efficient and effortless.

Dutch dating etiquette

Unlike other European and American cultures, the Dutch dating etiquette is much less strict. There are no (unwritten) rules about how long a person should wait to call or text, or when to kiss someone.

Dutch people go with the flow and do whatever feels right. They waste little time on small talk and jump straight to the important questions.

On the other hand, Dutch people like to keep it casual and take it slow. It might take weeks or months before officially becoming a couple.

When it comes down to dressing for a date, It is a good idea to dress down a little. Dutch people are very practical and might show up in sneakers and jeans to the restaurant.

Traits of a potential partner

Most Dutch people appreciate a partner who is confident and assertive. They do not like to be misled and are not likely to do so themselves.

A person should not be afraid to ask someone for a date, or kiss their date, for example. Of course, a rejection might follow, but at least no time was wasted.

How to find a date in the Netherlands

As in many other cultures, finding a date in the Netherlands has shifted mainly to mobile apps. Different apps have different goals.

For finding a serious relationship, the most common dating platforms are Lexa and Parship. Both of these have paid subscriptions. For young adults and people looking for a one-night-stand it is more common to use Tinder, Bumble or Happn.

Besides dating apps, it is regularly easy to find a date in the Dutch community. Many couples meet at school, social clubs or bars or other public places, but most Dutch people do like to play it safe and find a potential partner through mutual friendships.

How to ask someone on a date in Dutch

There’s many ways to ask a person out on a date. Just be polite, respectful and leave the cheesy pick-up lines at home. Sweet and respectful pick-up lines are acceptable. Here are some respectful ways to ask someone out:

Where to take your Dutch date

Since Dutch people usually like to keep it casual, it is not common practice to take a date to a fancy restaurant.

Instead, they might opt for a drink and a night of playing pool in a bar. When the weather is good, they love to spend time outside and choose a terrace or park.

Flirting and romance

An important thing to know is that flirting is not always appreciated. As mentioned before, Dutch people do not really have time for small talk.

Sugar coating things and half-baked compliments should be left at home. It will be regarded as fake and insincere. Dutch people will certainly be straight forward and ask things like:

Initiating first contact

Things to say when seeing someone for the first time and trying to get in contact are, for example:

Dutch pick-up lines

Laughter is a good way to start a relationship. In Dutch culture this translates to funny pick up lines.

Just be considerate and remember that not every Dutch person might appreciate it. Some pick-up lines that are funny and respectful are, for example:

Refrain from using phrases such as “Jij bent heet/lekker” (You are hot). Talking to someone about their appearance is very disrespectful in Dutch culture and might result in a slap in the face.

Dutch dating phrases

Dutch phrases to start a date with

It is polite to let a date know that you appreciate their coming. This could be achieved by saying things such as:

After this, it is okay to ask personal questions, like:

Dutch people very much like to talk about the weather, but keep the small talk to a minimum. The Dutch culture is very efficient and this means that little time will be wasted on small talk.

Asking many personal questions to get to know the person you’re dating is common practice. Dutch people just want to get an opinion and see if they match theirs in order to find a suitable partner.

How to end a date in Dutch

There are several ways to say goodbye to a date, depending on if the person that initiates the goodbye is a physical person or not.

Since most Dutch people do not really like touching, they might say thank you, goodbye and walk away. If the person is a physical person, they might give three kisses, while alternating cheeks.

Phrases to use while saying goodbye in Dutch are for example:

Asking a person home in Dutch

After a successful date (or two), it might be time to invite a Dutch date home. In order to avoid any awkward situations, it is often best to be honest and direct so that intentions are clear.

Since Dutch people are direct as well, they will not have a problem with openly asking you to go home with them. Things a Dutch person might say to invite a date to go with them, are:

  • Heb je zin om nog iets te gaan drinken? (would you like to go and have a drink?)
  • Heb je iets te doen na onze date? (do you have something to do after our date?)
  • Kom je nog even binnen? (would you like to come inside?)

Another option is to be direct and just ask:

  • Ga je met me mee naar huis? (are you coming home with me?)
  • Jouw huis of mijn huis? (your place or mine?)

However, success is not guaranteed. Only ask these questions if the intentions of the other are clear. If a Dutch person asks this, and you would like to decline, then one of the following sentences can be used:

  • Bedankt, maar liever niet (thank you, but I rather not)
  • Misschien een andere keer (maybe another time)
  • Sorry, ik ga liever naar huis (sorry, I would rather go home)

The Dutch way to pay the bill after a date

“Going Dutch” - in the sense of splitting a bill - is a common expression in the English language, and it is not called going Dutch for nothing.

It comes from the fact that Dutch people are very frugal. They will go out of their ways to save money and get discounts.

That includes splitting bills at the end of a date. The bill will either be split in equal parts, or people might pay for whatever they had.

Things that Dutch people might say when the bill comes are:

That last example needs a bit more explanation. In the Netherlands, there is a phone application called “Tikkie” that is directly linked to your bank account.

Do not feel offended when you receive a “Tikkie”-message asking to pay back part of the costs. This is common practice in Dutch dating culture, although it is still not appreciated by everyone.

Useful romantic Dutch phrases

How to tell someone you love them in Dutch

After spending significant time together, expressing love is expected. Phrases to say “I love you” for the first time in Dutch are:

Romantic Dutch phrases to express love and appreciation

Dutch phrases for a lover

You can find more useful Dutch phrases in the article on how to compliment someone in Dutch.

More Dutch culture tips about dating

Conclusion

We hope that this guide on flirting in Dutch was helpful. For more on the Dutch language, you might enjoy the following articles:

Best wishes on your language learning journey!

Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.