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If you’ve recently moved to the Netherlands and are planning to stay for any considerable length of time then, then you’ll need to consider learning the notoriously difficult Dutch language. And, if you happen to be single and looking for love, then you’ll also need to master another very important language – the intricate language of flirting!
Below are three top tips that will have you flirting like a Dutch pro in next to no time and will simultaneously help improve your Dutch.
1) Keep it simple
Unlike their French and Italian cousins, the Dutch are rather conservative when it comes to the language of love and are not particularly fond of flattery. The most popular Dutch saying: “doe maar gewoon, dan doe je gek genoeg” (just act normal, that’s crazy enough) is a clear indicator of their reserved nature. Fortunately, this means that it usually doesn’t take a lot to impress the object of your affection and that a few simple words are generally sufficient – great news for those with a limited Dutch vocabulary! Try and avoid over using exaggerated Dutch adjectives such as ‘geweldig’ (great) and ‘fantastisch’ (fantastic) and stick instead to more neutral ones such as ‘mooi’ (beautiful, pretty) and ‘leuk’ (nice) and you really can’t go wrong. And be aware that open displays of affection, machismo or sexism is a real no-no in the Netherlands and that it’s best to avoid waxing lyrical on your future love interest’s physical appearance too.
2) Win their affection with a diminutive
The Dutch routinely add “-je”, ‘’je” “etje”, “kje” and “pje” to nouns in order to make them sound small and cute and it’s a great way of quickly building intimacy between strangers. There are no hard and fast rules and the diminutive can be applied to almost any word. For those struggling with Dutch grammar, it’s also a relief to know that anything ending in a diminutive automatically takes the definite article ‘het’, so there’s no more agonising over ‘de’ or ‘het’.
Try sweetening common icebreakers with a Dutch diminutive – here are some examples:
‘Lekker weertje, hé?’ (nice weather, huh?)
‘Biertje?’ (Fancy a beer?)
‘Vuurtje?’ (Got a light?)
Once you get the hang of it, there’ll be no stopping you.
3) Exploit your ‘foreignness’
Most Dutch are pleasantly surprised when a foreigner makes the effort to speak their language. Make a point of explaining that you’d like to practice your Dutch and then plump for the most complex sentence you know, such as “Holland at Home is een online supermarkt met hoofdzakelijk Nederlandse levensmiddelen.”
Your potential catch is bound to be amused and impressed in equal measure, so much so that they’ll hopefully offer to continue your Dutch lessons together!
There really isn’t a more enjoyable way to improve your Dutch than with some harmless flirting at the local eetcafé – just don’t forget to make plenty of eye contact, SMILE and most importantly ….keep it light.