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How to say thank you in Dutch

How to say thank you in Dutch

It is one of the most important words for every new language that you learn: thank you! Certainly if you say it with a smile, it can be a very powerful word that makes many people feel good, almost like instantly…

Chances are high that you think that you know how to thank in Dutch already. But… if you have a closer look, chances are high that new questions rise up. So before you decide that you know it all already, just see if you can discover some surprises…

First of all, in some situations it is  better not to say it and… you also need to choose the right words if you like to look intelligent! 🙂

So let’s start with a simple question… how would you say thank you in Dutch? Believe it or not, there are many options to choose from….

If you are like most people, you’ll probably go for dank u wel, which is perfectly fine… But… did you notice that the word u is in there? Therefore you only say it to people that you call u, so this is the most official way of saying thank you. If you say it to your friends that you call je or jij then every time that you say dank u wel you sound – sorry to say this – a bit like a prick 🙂

Therefore,  if you want to thank people if a gracious way, then make a choice first… would you like to use the ultra politie and formal version? Then you can say dank u wel. But…. if you say je or jij to this person, because you are friends or you see each other as equals, then say dank je wel. Actually, it is quite simple… For those who know French, there is a similar version… you have s’il te plaît which is informal and s’il vous plaît which is really polite…

Just one practical tip… dank u wel is not more polite by definition. Many people love to hear the words dank je wel, because it means that you are friends or on a equal level. On top of this the word je sounds really young! Never forget that many Dutch people tend to say u to older people and in the Netherlands no one likes to be (or look) old!

Then there is another little question… how should you write it? Dank je wel or dankjewel? There is great news… both ways of writing are correct. If you write it together then somehow you see it as one word and if you write it separately, then somehow you see it as a sentence.

Dank je wel means something like: thank you indeed. Or: I do thank you. You can see wel in many sentences. For example, if you say ik spreek wel Nederlands, it could mean: I do speak Dutch.

Then there is also another version bedankt! It is easy to explain. Bedankt has more or less the same meaning as thanks in English. Somhow the pope always says in Dutch: bedankt voor de bloemen, which is thanks for the flowers.  It is a great sentence and of course, if you like, you could also say: dank je wel voor de bloemen. Then surprise, surprise if you really like, there is even another option. You can also say: dank jullie wel voor de bloemen! Jullie is a word that does not exist in English, it is just a plural version of you and it means all of you, or you, you and you or you guys…. Therefore if you want to express that you want to thank many different people at the same time, you can also say: dank jullie wel! This is not something that  you need to say, by the way. If you just say: dank je wel, then it will be the right thing to say. The only thing is that now if you hear: dank jullie wel, then at least you can recognize it…

Here is one more thing… you can also say: ik dank je, which is literally I thank you. This sounds quite formal and you will not hear it that often, but Dutch people do say it now and then. Also make sure that you recognize this construction: ik wil je bedanken (I want to thank you). Bedanken is to thank someone, so therefore the word bedankt literally means thanked. Once again, this is like thanks in English. Dank je wel voor de koffie, het bier etc…

Last but not least, one important thing! If you say: dank je wel, ik bedank, or bedankt then often it can also mean no thank you! If someone asks you: wil je bier? and if you say dank je wel, then chances are high that Dutch people assume that you do not want to have it! For them it sounds as if you decine the offer. In general, Dutch people don’t want to be pushy so they will not ask again if you like to have something… If you like to accept the beer or that coffee make sure that you say something like: ja lekker! or: gezellig and only then you say dank je wel!

All right then, now you know how to say thank you! It is time for you to walk around and show your gratitude in The Netherlands! And… for those who read this article to the end, all I can say is: dank je wel!

Comment Section

3 thoughts on “How to say thank you in Dutch

By Lana on 24 June 2016

Dear Albert : This was wonderful , leuk , gezellig , I enjoy reading it , it is the first time I read a very useful and beautiful details about how to thank in dutch ,so bedankt van LANA

By Jean on 23 March 2017

Glab > Oui c’était assez partagé dans les choix du jury. 2 membres n’avaient d’ailleurs même pas choisi la photo gagnante alors que les 4 autres l’on placée 1ère ou seconde. Je ne la trouve pas si neutre que cela, elle n’est pas audacieuse effectivement, mais ce n’était pas un critère obligatoire. Là il y a quand même une lecture, un peu d’inattendu et de l&t;muosiqaginarion. Tout simplement, elle me plaît bien.

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