Writing a professional email in Dutch: A comprehensive guide

Writing a professional email in Dutch: A comprehensive guide

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Writing emails is usually quick and easy, but it becomes challenging if you’re not fluent in the language. This article from Regina Coeli guides you on how to write a typical Dutch email and provides helpful standard phrases.

Like in many other countries, the Dutch often feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive, so clear and concise emails are appreciated. This can lead to faster replies and even make the recipient look forward to your emails!

General tips for writing emails in Dutch

A few things to keep in mind when writing an email in Dutch are:

  1. Consistency is key: Choose either a formal or informal tone and stick to it.
  2. Friendly introductions: Avoid starting your email with "I" (ik). Begin with a friendly introduction.
  3. Be concise: Keep your email short and to the point. A well-structured layout helps.
  4. Avoid slang: Use short, proper sentences to ensure readability.
  5. Use proper email etiquette: Avoid using all caps in the subject line or body, only include relevant recipients and send separate emails for different subjects.

Also, it's good to think about whether email is the best form of communication for your situation. Do you need a quick response? Then consider making a phone call instead.

The subject line

Ensure the subject line clearly states the purpose of your message. This makes it immediately clear what the reader can expect and helps with future searches.

The salutation

Choose between a formal or informal salutation. For someone you don't know, use:

  • Geachte heer (achternaam)Dear Mr (Surname),
  • Geachte mevrouw (achternaam)Dear Ms (Surname),

For someone you do know, you can use:

  • Beste (voornaam)Dear (first name)
  • Hallo: Hello

Always follow the salutation with a comma and a space before the next line. If you start with Geachte, continue to use u for formal address throughout the email. Otherwise, use je and jij.

The introduction

After the salutation, include a brief introduction stating the purpose of your email or something friendly to personalise it.

Examples of introductions with a purpose:

Some purposeful introductions are:

  • Bijgaand ontvangt u het verslag van onze meeting van gisterenEnclosed you will find the report of our meeting yesterday.
  • Graag wil ik reageren op de vacature voor medewerker Client Services: I would like to respond to the vacancy for Client Services Employee.
  • Vorige week belde je me met een voorstel. Zoals beloofd, kom ik daar per e-mail op terug: Last week you called me with a proposal. As promised, I am getting back to you by email.
  • Een collega wees me op de mogelijkheid om Nederlands te leren bij het taalinstituut. Ik ben daarin zeer geïnteresseerd en heb daar een aantal vragen overA colleague pointed out to me the possibility of learning Dutch at the language institute. I am very interested and have a number of questions about it.

Introductions like these state your intention in a polite yet direct manner - which is the bread and butter of Dutch interactions!

Examples of friendly introductions

If you want to write a more friendly and informal introduction, you can write one of the following:

  • Hartelijk dank voor (uw e-mail / uw snelle antwoord / het leuke gesprek: Thank you for your email / your quick reply / the pleasant conversation.
  • Uw presentatie over ... was zeer interessantYour presentation on ... was very interesting.
  • Heb je een fijn weekend gehad?: How was your weekend?
  • Ik hoop dat het goed met je gaat: I hope you’re doing well.
  • Is het nog gelukt met het boeken van een taaltraining bij het taalinstituut?: Did you manage to book a course at the language institute?

Remember, Dutch emails never start with "I". While this is acceptable in English, it's not considered proper in Dutch.

The body of the email

Use simple, short sentences to ensure your message is understood. A well-structured message usually requires fewer words.

Other tips:

  • Start a new paragraph for each new topic. This adds structure.
  • Use headings or highlight important words in bold or italics.
  • Number your points for clarity and visual appeal.

The closing

Conclude by stating what you expect from the recipient or finish with a friendly note.

Ways to indicate expectations:

Here are a few, formal ways to let your recipient know about your expectations via e-mail

  • Graag ontvang ik uw reactie voor het einde van deze week: I hope to receive your reply before the end of this week.
  • Zou u me een antwoord kunnen sturen op bovenstaande vragen?: Could you please send me an answer to the above questions?
  • Als u vragen heeft, dan kunt u me telefonisch of per e-mail bereiken: Should you have any questions, you can reach me by phone or email.
  • Lukt het je om morgen te reageren?: Will you be able to reply tomorrow?
  • Graag hoor ik snel van je: I hope to hear from you soon.

Friendly endings:

For a friendly sign-off, you can write:

  • Ik kijk ernaar uit u te ontmoeten tijdens de beurs in AmsterdamI look forward to meeting you at the trade fair in Amsterdam.
  • Ik wens je een heel fijn weekend / een fijne avond!: I wish you a very nice weekend / a good evening!
  • Veel succes met je taaltraining!: Good luck on your course!

The complimentary close

End every email with met vriendelijke groeten. Formal messages traditionally ended with hoogachtend, but this is now considered too formal and is rarely used, except in legal contexts.

Variations of met vriendelijke groeten are:

  • Met hartelijke groeten: With warm regards
  • Met vriendelijke groet: Kind regards
  • GroetenKind regards
  • Groetjes: Very informal form of kind regards
  • Met vriendelijke groeten uit een zonnig Vught: With kind regards from sunny Vught

Finally, sign your name in full - and don't forget to add any attachments and double-check your email before sending!

By following these guidelines, you can write clear and professional emails in Dutch that will be well-received and effectively communicate your message.

The benefits of learning Dutch

It's nice to be able to communicate well with the people around you, not just by email, but also when you run into someone on the street when you’re at work or when you're out with friends. This will help you to become more integrated into Dutch society and feel more connected to your surroundings.

Do you feel like something's holding you back in your Dutch communication? You can do something about that! Whether it’s overcoming a speaking barrier, improving your writing skills or wanting to perfect your pronunciation, the language trainers at Regina Coeli are happy to help you. Simply get in touch with their team to discuss your wishes.



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