How to Say "Happy Birthday" in Dutch

Courtyard with strings of lights and lit up restaurants in Amsterdam
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Plan to celebrate a birthday—yours or someone else's—in Amsterdam? You may want to read up on Dutch birthday customs ahead of time. The Dutch have a couple of phrases that are functionally equivalent to our "happy birthday." The most widespread phrase is as follows:

  • Congratulations!
    Gefeliciteerd! (khə-fe-li-si-TAIRT)

This phrase is directed not only to the person whose birthday it is, but also to his or her family and close friends.

For this reason, it's not unusual for a Dutch birthday party to start off with an elaborate round of felicitations. Some variations on the phrase include:

  • (Heartfelt) congratulations on your birthday!
    (Van harte) gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!
    (van HARTə) khə-fe-li-si-TAIRT met yə ver-YAHR-dakh
  • Happy birthday!
    Gelukkige verjaardag! (khə-LUK-kəkh ver-YAHR-dakh)

Last but not least, there's also a Dutch birthday song, used in much the same circumstances as the American "Happy Birthday to You." Its lyrics are fairly simple (only seven words in total, cheers not included) and not terribly difficult to pronounce—ideal for elementary-level Dutch learners:

Lang zal hij/ze leven,
Lang zal hij/ze leven,
Lang zal hij/ze leven,
In de gloria,
In de gloria,
In de gloria,
Hiep, hiep, hiep, hoera!
Hiep, hiep, hiep, hoera!
Hiep, hiep, hiep, hoera!

Translation:

May s/he live long
May s/he live long
May s/he live long
In glory
In glory
In glory
Hip, hip, hooray!


Hip, hip, hooray!
Hip, hip, hooray!