There are some languages in the world that are pretty damn beautiful to listen to (French, Italian or Spanish, for starters). Nederlands (which you may have heard referred to as "Dutch" in more casual settings) does not fall into this category. Very throaty, pretty blunt, and kinda abrasive, its main redeeming feature is how linguistically close it is to English. That being said, Amsterdam is one of those cities you simply HAVE to visit, and there's nothing like really immersing yourself in the culture by using the local lingo. So, if you're too lazy to download an app and learn it properly, just brush up on these phrases that are essential for any trip to the Netherlands.
BTW, take the phonetic pronunciation with a grain of salt...
Is there a coffee shop nearby with really amazing space cake?
Dutch: Is er hier een koffieshop met goede space cake?
Phonetic pronunciation: is er heere een coffee shop met goode space cake?
Let's get straight to the point: you didn't come to the Netherlands, well, Amsterdam, for healthy food and an early night. You came for space cake (a.k.a hash or "special" brownies -> read: weed-filled ones) and so you're gonna need to know how to request them.
Do you have wifi here?
Dutch: Hebben jullie wifi?
Phonetic pronunciation: hebben jully wifi?
Super developed and super organized, the Netherlands has decent amounts of free wifi. But if this list of wifi hotspots in Amsterdam isn't enough for you, the above phrase should be.
Where can I rent a bike?
Dutch: waar kan ik een fiets huren
Phonetic pronunciation: wahr kan ik ain feets huren ('u' sound as in rude)
If you Google "stereotypes about the Dutch" one of the first things to come up is, "Every Dutch shed keeps at least a dozen bicycles." While this may or may not be true, 31.2% of locals list the bike as their main mode of transport. Get in on the act, and go rent one.
I suck at Dutch, can you speak English?
Dutch: Ik spreek weinig hollands, spreekt U engels?
Phonetic pronunciation: ik sprake wine'ig hollands, spraked U engels?
Admittedly, the Dutch tend to speak very good English, so you might not need this. But better safe than sorry, and it's definitely useful if you're exploring off the beaten track e.g. the waterway-filled village of Giethoorn, the Venice of the Netherlands.
Hi, I'm trying to find my Airbnb. Here's the address:
Dutch: Hi ik zoek mijn airb&b, dit is het adres:
Phonetic pronunciation: Hi, ick sook mine airb&b, dit is het address:
If you're looking to save money in the Netherlands, Airbnb really is your best bet – there aren't a ton of hostels (plus, they're gross) and the hotels are nothing to get too excited about. So, for something a little more unique, check out this houseboat in Amsterdam or this VERY authentic windmill.
Can I have some hot chocolate with whipped cream please?
Dutch: een warme chocolademelk met slagroom alstublieft
Phonetic pronunciation: een warme choco-lade-melk met slackroam alstu-bleeft
This is the bees knees in the Netherlands, especially when served as "build your own," with a glass of steamed milk, chocolate chips in a shot glass and a side of whipped cream. The idea is that you add in chocolate chips progressively which then melt in the glass of steamed milk, so you get to control how chocolate-y it is (for any weirdos who don't love allll the chocolate).
Can you recommend a cool bar nearby?
Dutch: waar is een goed cafe?
Phonetic pronunciation: Waar is een good caf-fe?
This phrase is a go-to because most big cities in the Netherlands are packed with cozy bars and beer cafes. To differentiate the very good from the less good, use it.
One beer, please.
Dutch: een bier astublieft
Phonetic pronunciation: ain beer alstubleeft
Technically speaking, the most popular alcoholic drink in the Netherlands is beer, which accounts for nearly half of all alcohol consumed. So, chances are you'll be ordering it, and the good news is that it's really not hard to do.
Want to go home with me?
Dutch: Kom je mee naar huis met mij?
Phonetic pronunciation: Come je mae nar house met my?
So, there's a somewhat true stereotype that the Dutch are all tall, with blond hair and blue eyes. If that's your type, you might wanna brush up on this handy phrase. Because what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam...right?
I'm too drunk, I need a taxi.
Dutch: ik ben te dronken, ik wil een taxi
Phonetic pronunciation: ik ben te dronken, ik will ain taxi
Like most other things in the Netherlands, alcohol just isn't that cheap. But that doesn't mean self-control is all that easy. So, this phrase is the remedy for when you're just a little too wasted (well, as is not drinking so much...).
Sorry, I'm not interested. I have a boy/ girlfriend.
Dutch: Sorry, ik heb geen interesse. ik heb al een vriend/vriendin
Phonetic pronunciation: sorry, ik hab gain interesseh, ik hab all ain freend/ freendinne
Dutch men and women tend to be pretty forward – they don't go overboard with flowery language or subtle flirtations, so if they're keen on you, they won't hide it. But if you're not feeling it, then let 'em know.
Can you recommend a museum near here?
Dutch: wat is een goed museum hier in de buurt
Phonetic pronunciation: what is ain good museaum hier in de buurt
Let's end this list on a cultural high (see what we did there?). In all honesty, the Netherlands has a bunch of the best museums in the world, so you'd be a fool not to check out the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House. And that's just for starters...