How to Say "Please" and "Thank You" in Dutch

Know how to use these polite terms in proper context

How to say please and thank you in Dutch


If you're planning a visit to the Netherlands, it's not a bad idea to learn a few keywords and phrases in Dutch, even though most people you will encounter there will be fluent in English. "Please" and "thank you" are two of the most useful expressions for tourists and will show the Dutch people you encounter that you've taken some time to familiarize yourself with their culture.

To say "please," visitors should say alstublieft (AHL-stu-BLEEFT), and to say "thank you," visitors should say dank je (DANK ya). But besides the basics, there are some variant forms and important rules to use these Dutch expressions correctly in context. Use this handy guide to nail down the details of these expressions on your next trip.

How to Say Thank You in Dutch

An all-purpose expression of thanks is dank je, which translated directly as "thank you," at a neutral level of politeness. It's not impolite, but not formal either, and is the most widely used Dutch phrase by far. Dank is pronounced as written, but je sounds like "ya."

The formal expression dank u is best reserved for seniors; Dutch society isn't especially formal, so there's little need to be overly polite in shops, restaurants, and similar environments. Dank is pronounced as above; the u, just like the "oo" in "boot."

To add some emphasis to your thankfulness, dank je wel and dank u wel are the equivalent of "thanks a lot." The wel is pronounced like the "vel" in "vellum." If a Dutch speaker has been extraordinarily kind or helpful, hartelijk bedankt ("heartfelt thanks") is a thoughtful response. This phrase is pronounced approximately as "HEART-a-luck buh-DANKT."

If all this is too much trouble to remember, bedankt is appropriate just about any time and anywhere among Dutch speakers. But don't fret over it; most Dutch people you encounter will be pleasantly surprised that you've taken the time to learn any Dutch at all.

The equivalent to "you're welcome" is optional in the Netherlands. If you really feel the need for it, you can use geen dank ("Don't mention it"). You may not be inclined to use this phrase much, and you won't be considered impolite. Many non-Dutch speakers find it difficult to pronounce the initial sound, which is the same as the "ch" in the Hebrew word Chanukkah. The "ee" is pronounced like the " a" in "able."

Expressions of Thanks Quick Reference
Dank je Thank you (informal)
Dank u Thank you (formal)
Bedankt Thank you (no distinction)
Dank je wel or Dank u wel Thanks a lot (informal or informal)
Hartelijk bedankt Heartfelt thanks
Geen dank No thanks necesary/You're welcome

How to Say Please in Dutch

To be brief, alstublieft (AHL-stu-BLEEFT) is the all-purpose equivalent of "please" in English. It can be used with any request, such as Een biertje, alstublieft ("One beer, please"). Substitute biertje (BEER-tya) with any item of your choice in this versatile Dutch expression.

Alstublieft is actually the polite form. It's a contraction of als het u belieft, or "if it pleases you," an exact Dutch translation of s'il vous plait ("please" in French). The informal version is alsjeblieft ("als het je belieft"), but it's not as commonly used, despite the fact that the Dutch typically speak in informal terms.

The phrases alstublieft and alsjeblieft are also used when you offer someone an item; at a store, for example, the cashier will utter Alstublieft! as s/he hands you your receipt.

Please Quick Reference
Alsjeblieft Please (informal)
Alstublieft Please (formal)
"Een ____, alstublieft." "One ____, please."