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Vocabulary Overview: Words and Phrases

Your portal to more than 25.000 Dutch words and more than 7000 Dutch phrases and sample sentences
(het) woord click to hear ('word') / (de) woorden click to hear ('words') - (het) woordenboek click to hear 2 ('dictionary') - (de) woordenschat click to hear 2 ('vocabulary')

Everyday Words and Phrases - smartphone version
Not Much English - Learn some Dutch with little English

For reference, looking up words, go to the Master Lists of Dutch Words: Dutch to English - English to Dutch that have pronunciation, English translation and links to explanation, sample sentences and/or related words

 Elementary Vocabulary Tests and Exercises 
 Phrases, 'Conversation Templates' 
  Advanced Vocabulary 
  Sideways Learning 

Elementary Vocabulary

My website has four approaches to learning elementary vocabulary, four types of pages:

Pictures Dictionary
Smartphone Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks

Basic Dutch
Easy Dutch
By Subject


Use the search function when you're looking for a specific word.
Search my site:
The Search window is near top left on most of my pages.

Words in (Some) Depth

The Master Lists of Dutch Words: Dutch to English - English to Dutch have pronunciation, English translation and links to explanation, sample sentences and/or related words

De  and Het  - the Problematic Dutch Article

Dutch has two definite articles: 'the' can be: de click to hear 2 or het click to hear 2 3 (often shortened to 't  click to hear)
The indefinite article 'a' is een  - often written as 'n  click to hear and 'one' is één   click to hear 2 3
Plurals always take de  but about a third of Dutch nouns are het-words. Unfortunately there are very few good rules for what are het-words, too complicated or too many exceptions ‑>>. You'll just have to memorize which words take het.  On most of my vocabulary pages you'll find the de  or het  with the nouns.

Pictures Dictionary

Studying my Pictures Dictionary is the most attractive way to learn words and build vocabulary, and for many people words with images are easier to remember:
basic food pages: [cauliflower]
[plate of food]
[loaf of bread]
other food
[Dutch flag]
[plate of food]
- 2 3
- 2
[a mirror]
[watch etc.]
- 2
[a path]
the outdoors
- 2
- 2
[a house]
the house
- 2 3
[a living room]
a livingroom
- 2
laundry, cleaning
- 2 3 4 5
- 2 3 4 5 6
[Me riding a bicycle]
[a 50s radio]
days of old
a few body parts
[a bus]
- 2
[a building]
[shopping cart]
[A collection of tools]
- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
[chess pieces]
[cards, dice]
cards and dice
The next picture segments are part of other pages and in part recycle material used before, but with another focus.
[park bench]

The Smartphone picture pages have a 1-column list of useful words:

first words 1
first words 2
first words 3
[front, back and sides]

[purple flower]
[red beets]
[pears, one cut open]
[red cabbage, with bacon, potatoes and sausage]
[a small bowl of porridge]
other foods

Plaatjes- en luisterwoordenboek voor kleine kinderen:
['Learning Words']
woordjes leren click to hear
[little geese]
Pictures and Audio Dictionary for Small Children - page 1
page 2

Basic Dutch

In the 1920s, English philosophers C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards were working on a new kind of dictionary when they noticed that in the definitions the same words kept turning up, which led them to develop 'Basic English,' a list of about 850 very carefully chosen words that would be sufficient for everyday and scientific communication. Not necessarily the most frequently used words, but words whose meaning cannot easily be expressed by other words.
I have translated and slightly updated and adapted the list as a 'Basic Dutch' vocabulary. Originally I had organized the material mostly by subject in 15 shortish pages - but later I have re-organized the material in four long pages by word type (nouns, adjectives/adverbs, verbs, prepositions etc.)

Mobile version: a series of pages with 1-column lists: Nouns - Adjectives and Adverbs - Prepositions Pictorial - Prepositions etc. List (with examples)

Long Pages Short Pages
Adjectives, Adverbs and Verbs
Prepositions (etc.): Pictures - List

An alphabetic list of about
2000 words
(with sound files)
Adjectives and Adverbs
Man, Animals, Mind and Body
Tools, Materials, House & Home
Travel, Agriculture, Food
Miscellaneous (Time, Weather, Qualities)
Communication, Media, Science
Business, Government, Society, Military
Everyday Verbs
Movement, Operations (More Verbs)
The Little Words You'll Need Most:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4
'Little Words' Alphabetical lists:
English to Dutch - Dutch to English
Learning words is not the most exciting thing, but memorizing these about 1000 Basic Dutch words is probably the best start of learning Dutch.

Pages by Subject

Numbers, Money, Time, Days etc.
Another version of time words: Not Much English - Learn some Dutch with little English target="_blank">Lesson 6 - or the ultimate Time Thesaurus page
numbers, simple math and dimensions - paragraphs from the 'Lessons'

Family Tree - Birthday - The Dutch Family - see also: Easy Dutch 2

Medical Conversations - health, body parts, doctors, ailments
- see also Easy Dutch 2


Chemistry - including the periodic table

Emoties Emotions - with my take on Plutchik diagrams

Size and Measurements

Music Vocabulary and Musical Instruments

Words of Religion - also a few prayers and readings from the Bible

Food - one of many food pages (find more in the pictures dictionary above)

Military - Medieval - Fairy Tales - Mail - Shopping

Education (lesson 11)

Emotions with my take on the Plutchik diagrams

Size and Measurements

Not Yet a list of more than 200 words (with sound files) not yet used in a page

The examples on the Plurals page are also useful vocabulary.

The Strong Verbs List comes with a collection of interesting related words.

Short Lists

The 'Conversation Subjects' page has some vocabulary of these popular subjects: Grammar - Sports - News and Politics

From the 'Dutch Food' page: Bread - Milk and Cheese - Nutritional Values - Spices

From other pages: Emergency Preparedness - Make-Up (etc.)

Money - Calculations, Simple Math / smartphone - Special Days asnd Holidays / smartphone

Easy Dutch - Recognizable Words

You already know these words
Dutch words that look or sound like English words - easier to memorize and the differences will help you with a better understanding of Dutch spelling and pronunciation.
  1. Vocabulary and Pronunciation
  2. Words by Subject
  3. Verbs with many simple sentences as examples
  4. The 'Smartphone Pronunciation Exercise' has three one-column lists, one of identical words with similar meaning, one of identical words with rather different meaning ('False Friends') and one list of similar, from English recognizable words with about the same meaning

Little Things

Verkleinwoorden click to hear 2 - verkleinwoordjes click to hear 2 3 4 diminutives
Introduction - List - Examples of Usage

Tegenovergestelden - Opposites, Antonyms:  Flash Cards

About Dictionaries

I strongly recommend a Dutch-Dutch dictionary, where the words are explained/described in Dutch - this will force you to learn more Dutch and it will put you more in a Dutch mindset, focus you on Dutch, and take you away from the intermediary language. A small, basic one is probably better for you than a large one, so you don't get confused by uncommon words.

Flash Cards Tests, Exercises

Test your elementary vocabulary with flash cards
Flashcards Introduction - Flashcards Home

Vocabulary Tests starting with English Words:
English word - what is the Dutch word for it and how is that written? - de  or het? - hear Dutch word
Start: 'Basic' Nouns (20 pages)
- Common Verbs
Introduction to Adjectives and Adverbs
- start Basic Adjectives and Adverbs (4 pages)

Pictorials Vocabulary Tests:
view picture - what's the Dutch word for it and how is it written? - de  or het? - hear word
The 'Pictorial' series is especially nice if you're not a native speaker of English and would like to avoid the intermediary language.
Everyday Words Flash Cards: 1 - 2 - 3 - Colors
Vegetables - Fruits - Eating - Drinks
Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks - Meals

Flash Cards Listening Exercises:

1. Listening Test Flashcards with Pictures:
Listen to a Dutch word or phrase - how is it written? - de  or het? - view picture and English translation
- Drinks a nice short page to start
180 Food Words
Everyday Words (250 items)
Vegetables - Fruits - Meals, Dinners - Eating
Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks

2. Listening Test Flashcards with English Translation:
Listen to a Dutch word or phrase - how is it written? - de  or het? - see English translation
- 770 Basic Words (recommended)
start Basic Nouns (19 pages, by subject)

Vocabulary: Phrases

The Sayings page has about 250 Dutch standard phrases - probably not for immediate use, but fun to read through and listen to, and maybe you can someday impress your Dutch friends with an appropriate quote ...

The 'Word Order' and Personal Pronouns Examples pages also have many lines, albeit not in a phrase-friendly order.
Next to the complete conjugation of verbs, the Smartphone Verbs Pages have many examples of verbs usage in sentences
The Words by Subject pages you may have seen above often have some examples of usage of the words

Advanced Vocabulary

Not all words have a simple, straightforward equivalent in other languages and many common words have a double or triple meaning that is often not shared across languages. These pages have many examples of usage.

Sideways Learning

Next to the formal learning there are also many interesting, entertaining and/or beautiful pages on my website for relaxed reading. On these pages you'll come across many Dutch words (with pronuciation) - a more pleasant way of building vocabulary than the rote learning of words and verbs.

The essays, mostly in the lessons, tell about a wide variety of Dutch things, and if you are so inclined, several of the recipes also have Dutch words.
'False Friends' are words that look the same in different languages but don't have the same meaning. They may make you think you know them but they're not what they look like. I hope my list of identical Dutch and English words provides an entertaining if unusual way to get to know some words - short version. Like on the 'Easy Dutch' pages (similar words with about the same meaning) you'll also quickly learn the differences between how letters are pronounced in English and Dutch.
Other 'Sideways Learning' pages:

Other Overview Pages: Names - Pronunciation - Picture Pages - Listening - Lessons - Grammar - Essays - Exercises
- Smartphone Pages

email - Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2011-2015. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2
Gij zult niet stelen click to hear 'Thou shalt not steal'