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Speak up & Speak Dutch: in a cafe!

Direct Dutch Institute recommends speaking Dutch as often as possible - even if all your Dutch colleagues speak English, and even if you only know a few words of Dutch.

To help you get started straight away, they offer some phrases to deal with the Dutch in day-to-day life. In this article: how to order in a café or at a restaurant.

How to order in Dutch

It’s a sunny day in July, perhaps July 5 - the Speak Dutch Day, and you’re having a drink on a pavement café (or terras) with your friends. A good chance to practise some Dutch in public!

You and your friends sit down and you try to get the attention of the waiter (ober). The waiter notices you, you raise your hand and the waiter comes to your table.

 Jij: Goedemiddag
(You: Good afternoon)

 Ober: Goedemiddag. Kan ik u helpen?
(Waiter: Good afternoon. Can I help you?)

 Jij: Uh. Yes, I mean, ja! Ik wil graag, uh, drinks, I mean drankjes bestellen.
(You: Uh. Yes, I mean, ja! I want to, uh, order drinks.)

 Ober: I can speak English, sir. You would like to order drinks?

 Jij: Ik wil graag Nederlands praten, meneer. Is dat goed?
(You: I would like to speak Dutch, sir. Is that all right?)

 Ober: Oh, pardon. Natuurlijk, gaat uw gang!
(Waiter: Oh, pardon me. Of course, go ahead!)

 Jij: Ik wil graag drankjes bestellen. Hij wil een cappuccino, zij wil een cola en ik wil een biertje, alstublieft.
(You: I would like to order drinks. He wants a cappuccino, she wants a coke and I want a beer, please.)

 Ober: Natuurlijk! Wilt u ook de lunchkaart zien?
(Waiter: Of course! Would you like to see the menu as well?)

 Jij: Nee, dank u. Wij willen alleen iets drinken.
(You: No, thank you. We would just like some drinks.)

 Ober: Helemaal goed. De drankjes komen eraan.
(Waiter: Very good. The drinks are coming up.)

 Jij: Dank u wel!
(You: Thank you!)


A few minutes later, the waiter returns with the drinks. He gives your friend a cappuccino and your other friend a coke. He then hands you a glass of coke as well.

 Ober: Alstublieft meneer, hier is uw cola.
(Waiter: There you go, sir. Here’s your coke.)

 Jij: Uh, pardon, meneer. Ik bestelde geen cola, maar een biertje.
(You: Uh, pardon me, sir. I didn’t order a coke, I ordered a beer.)

 Ober: Oh, neem me niet kwalijk. Ik ga gelijk een biertje halen. Wilt u een flesje bier of een pilsje van de tap?
(Waiter: Oh, I beg your pardon. I’ll get you a beer right away. Would you like a bottled beer or a beer on draught?)

 Jij: Het geeft niks hoor, we zijn allemaal mensen. Ik wil een lekker koud tapje.
(You: That’s all right sir, we’re only human. I would like a nice cold draught.)

 Ober: Komt eraan!
(Waiter: Coming up!)

Paying the bill in Dutch

The waiter brings your "tapje." You and your friends enjoy some more drinks, and then it’s time to ask for the bill. You have really enjoyed speaking Dutch up to now, so you’re in a good mood. Instead of "going Dutch," you also pay for your friends.

 Jij: Pardon, mag ik de rekening alstublieft?
(You: Excuse me, can I have the bill please?)

 Ober: Natuurlijk! Hier is uw rekening.
(Waiter: Of course! Here’s your bill.)

You look at the bill, the amount you have to pay is 26,50 euros. Of course, you know the golden rule for tipping in the Netherlands: it’s not obligatory, but almost everybody does it. You also remember in the Netherlands we give about 10 per cent. So you decide to pay the waiter 30 euros.

 Jij: Alstublieft. Zo is het goed.
(You: There you go. It’s good i.e keep the change.)

 Ober: Dank u wel meneer. Een fijne dag verder en tot ziens!
(Waiter: Thank you sir. Have a nice day. Goodbye!)

 Jij: Hetzelfde, tot ziens!
(You: The same to you. Goodbye!)

July 5 | Speak Dutch Day

At 11.30am on Saturday, July 5 the Alderman for Education and Public Services Ingrid van Engelshoven will officially open "Speak Dutch day" (Spreek Nederlands dag) in Café Rootz in the centre of The Hague.

Still find it a little scary to speak Dutch? Join numerous expats and the Direct Dutch team (D-team) that will guide you, encourage you and answer all your questions.

With less than three weeks to go, now is a good time to start preparing. Practise using the conversation above and see you on July 5!

Learn more about the Direct Dutch Spreek Nederlands Dag and the Spreek Nederlands! Met mij! (Speak Dutch! To me!) campaign the institute started almost a year ago.

Zsuzsa Jónás works for the Direct Dutch Institute, one of the oldest language institutes in The Hague! For more information, visit their website.

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Zsuzsa Jonas

Zsuzsa Jonas works for Direct Dutch Institute. At Direct Dutch, we want our students to home in on Holland. We believe that language it is an essential tool to feel...

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