A Guide to Learning Dutch Compliments

| Leiden International Centre

When starting a business in the Netherlands, working with Dutch colleagues, or mingling at social events, you’ll encounter common phrases used to give compliments in Dutch society. As someone who is keen on learning Dutch, it's crucial to grasp these phrases and know to use them. This knowledge can boost your confidence and foster better relationships with Dutch people.

Compliments are universally appreciated and are essential in adapting to Dutch culture. Dutch compliments are typically sincere, reflecting genuine appreciation and respect. It’s worth noting that there are various ways to compliment someone in Dutch, each with its own significance. This article will explore different ways to compliment other in Dutch.

Prepare to immerse yourself with Dutch compliments, starting with some general ones.

Gaat goed ( It's going well )

Fantastisch ( Fantastic )

Bravo ( Well done )

Schitterend ( Brilliant )

Briljant ( Brilliant )


There are several ways to tell someone that you appreciate them. The vast majority of these phrases are basic, but they are commonly used by natives to express their admiration to others about their personalities. As seen below, many sentences begin with “jij bent” or “jij hebt”, which means “you are” and “you have” in English.

Jij bent vriendelijk ( You are so nice )

Jij hebt een hart van Goud ( You have a heart of Gold )

Ik vind jou leuk ( I like you )

Jij kan goed luisteren ( You are a great listener )

Jij hebt heel veel humor ( You are so funny )

Jij bent super cool ( You are so cool )

Compliments at the office

As in any ordinary work environment, you can also expect to receive compliments from your colleagues. Especially if they are Dutch, they will also cherish your attempts to recognize their work performances. It’s however good to know that in Dutch workplaces, compliments are often given sparingly and their meaning may differ from how you can typically communicate with colleagues in your home country. For example, “niet slecht”, “voldoende”, and “redelijk”, which translates to “not bad” “sufficient”, and “reasonable” can already be perceived as good compliments! However, there are also phrases you can use to emphasize an individual’s exceptional performance at work:

Uitstekend gedaan [formal] ( Well done )

Lekker bezig! [Informal] ( Well done )

Jij bent echt een geweldige baas ( You are a great boss )

Jij bent een waardevol teamlid ( You are a vaulable team member )

Hij hebt heel erg veel talent ( You have a lot of talent )

Complimenting friends and partners

Giving compliments to your friends and partners is a solid foundation for establishing long-term relationships. Even in the Netherlands, the essence of learning basic sentences for complimenting your friends or partner, especially if you have a Dutch partner and/or are willing to make Dutch friends, is vital and can help with smoothening the process of integrating into Dutch society.

Je ziet er goed uit ( You look goed )

Ik vertrouw je ( I trust you )

Jij bent mijn beste vriend ( You are my best friend ) 

Je betekent alles voor me ( You mean everthing to me )

General compliments about hobbies or talents:

In general, Dutch people also use these phrases to compliment other individuals for something they are really good at. This could be a compliment for a meal they prepared ,an extraordinary ability to comprehend and communicate in several foreign languages, or being crafty at something.


Wat is dit verrukkelijk ( It tastes really delicious )

Het smaakt lekker ( It tastes really nice )


Jij bent een talenknobbel ( You are good at languages )

Jij spreekt heel erg goed Engels ( You speak English very well )


Wat kan jij leuk spelen ( You can play really nice )

Wat heb jij een mooie stem (  You have a beautiful voice )


Jij bent heel erg atletisch ( You are really athletic )

Jij bent goed in vorm ( You are in very good shape )

Jij kan goed voetballen ( You are good at football )

Achievements and accomplishments

It always feels exciting to achieve your goals. It can give you even more satisfaction if other people notice and praise your milestone’s.  Here are some examples of phrases Dutch people use to express their happiness to someone for achieving goals:

Gefeliciteerd met je geweldige prestatie ( Congratulations on your great achievements )

Ik wist dat jij het kon ( I knew you could do it )

Jij verdient het ( You deserve it )


Lastly, when you are considering complimenting a Dutch person for their appearances, make sure to never go over the top. Keep it basic, as excessive flattery may come across as disingenuous and can be uncomfortable for Dutch people. Instead, be sincere about the compliment you are on the verge of giving, since Dutch people will appreciate you a lot more for that. Below, you can find some examples that can make your life much easier:

Wat een mooie schoenen/outfit/hoed/blouse/broek ( Those are beautiful shoes/ nice outfit/ nice hat/ nice blouse/ nice pair of trousers)

Jij ziet er leuk uit ( You look good )