11 Dutch jokes to make you sound like a local

Make the Dutchies in your life smile 😄

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There are many things about life in the Netherlands that you’re going to have to embrace if you truly want to integrate. We’d recommend skipping on the herring, but you should really get into Dutch humour. 

Unlike a slimy fish, the Dutch sense of humour is super dry. This can make it a bit difficult to understand at first — so grab a notebook and a very open understanding of what constitutes as “funny”.  

Let’s walk you through some jokes that will get the Dutchies chortling. 

We collaborated with UvA Talen to bring you this article. Their expert teachers offer free workshops as well as a variety of Dutch lessons, from self-guided or online to in-person. Check out their wide range of courses.  

1. Out for drinks? We’ve got one for you

Ready to show off your amazing Dutch skills and wit? Image: Freepik

Let’s set the scene. You’re in a beautiful brown café, the pilsner is flowing, and you’ve gathered the courage to try out your Dutch skills. 

Specifically, you want to see if you can get that handsome Dutchie to laugh (with you, not at you.) Here’s one grapje (joke) for you to try out. 

🇳🇱 “Waarom drinken muizen geen alcohol?” 

🇬🇧 (Why do mice not drink any alcohol?)

🇳🇱 “Ze zijn bang voor de kater.” 

🇬🇧 (They are scared of the male cat.) 

You may be saying, “huh?” but what makes this joke funny is the double meaning of the Dutch word “kater.” In Dutch, “kater” is the word for both a male cat and a hangover. 

Get it? While this joke will not only prove that you are absolutely hilarious, it will also show your audience that you have a good understanding of Dutch vocabulary — you’re funny and intelligent. What’s sexier than that? 

2. Really want to make the Dutch laugh? Play around with the language!

Another great joke to show off your vast knowledge of Nederlands is this one: 

🇳🇱 “De postbode gooit brieven in de bus, waarop de buschauffeur zegt: ‘Hé, hou daar eens mee op!’” 

🇬🇧 (The postman throws letters in the bus, and the bus driver says: ‘Hey! Stop that!’)

Before you throw your arms up in the air and declare this joke not funny, let us remind you of the Dutch word for letterbox: brievenbus

This translates directly to “letter bus.” Get the joke now? He’s throwing the letter in the bu — ok, forget it. 🙃

3. Looking to impress a Dutch dad? Try this out

Some classic Dutch jokes have a time and a place. Image: Freepik

While you may think the above joke was Dad-level funny, you can actually take it a step further when it comes to Dutch dad humour. Looking to impress your father-in-law? Try this on for size.

🇳🇱 “Hoe moet de steak gebakken zijn?” 

🇬🇧 (How should the steak be cooked?)

🇳🇱 “Weet de kok dat nou nog niet?” 

🇬🇧 (Does the cook not know that yet?) 

Womp, womp, wooooomp. There’s no specific play on words here, just a Dutch twist on the classic dad jokes that you likely grew up with. 

READ MORE | How to order in Dutch: from getting a ‘tafeltje’ to paying the ‘rekening’

While this hilarious retort may have the in-laws chortling, let’s just say a waiter would be less impressed.

Are some of these jokes flying over your head? Perhaps a Dutch lesson is what you need! UvA Talen offers a huge variety of classes, meaning that no matter what your situation, you’re likely to find a course that suits your needs. Check out the courses. 

4. Impress a date by dropping a hot joke — or not

Let’s say you get that handsome Dutchie to take you out on a date, you want to continue to amaze them with your intelligence, toch

Nothing says intelligence like a good ol’ riddle. Try this brainteaser out: 

🇳🇱 “Het is zwart en als het uit de boom valt, is je kachel stuk. Wat is het?” 

🇬🇧 (It’s black, and if it falls out of the tree, your stove is broken. What is it?)

🇳🇱 “Je kachel.”

🇬🇧 (Your stove.)

Is it a riddle? Technically! Is it silly? Very! Is it a good icebreaker? Inderdaad (indeed). 

READ MORE | Dutch courses in the daytime, evening, or weekend? UvA Talen offers them all online AND in-class

This is also a good way to get a feel for your date. If they don’t find you absolutely hilarious, then why are you even sitting with them? Time to take your brains, beauty, and humour elsewhere. 😉 

5. How about a good ol’ Dutch pun? Say no more

Nothing says humour like a classic pun every now and then. Let’s start with a simple yet effective example. 

You know what sort of Dutch jokes will really make you sound like a local? Dutch puns. Image: Freepik

🇳🇱 “Ik was laatst op een naaktstrand. Niks aan.” 

🇬🇧 (I was recently at a nudist beach, nothing to it.) 

Now, don’t let the English translation fool you. This actually has the power to induce a snort or two. 

In order to get the pun, you should know that in Dutch, “niks aan” means “nothing to it.” However, it can be more directly translated to “nothing on.”

Yes, you see, it’s funny. Nothing on. At a nudist beach. Hahahahaha. 

6. Another pun? *feigns shock*

Okay, now, refresh yourself and activate that Dutch mindset. Chug some milk, eat a broodje kaas. We’re about to take our Dutch pun game to the next level with this: 

🇳🇱 “Wat is een lasbril?” 

🇬🇧 (What are welding goggles?)

🇳🇱 “De verleden tijd van leesbril.” 

🇬🇧 (The past tense of reading glasses.) 

This pun requires some knowledge of Dutch grammar and vocab, which, again, will show off that you have both beauty and brains. 

READ MORE | Dutch at the workplace: your essential phrases for working in the NL

The Dutch word, “las” is the past tense imperfect form of “lezen” (reading) — see the play on words here? Look at you, so smart. 🤓

7. How about another classic dad joke?

Sometimes you need a joke that’s so bad, it’s good. Image: Freepik

You know what makes a Dutch riddle even better? When you add a dad-joke vibe to it.

If you happen to find yourself sitting across from a Dutch man in his 50s on the train, try this beauty out on him: 

🇳🇱 “Wat is blauw en ruikt naar rode verf?

🇬🇧 (What is blue and smells like red paint?)

🇳🇱 Blauwe verf.” 

🇬🇧 (Blue paint)

Oh, the dryness, the sheer dryness. 

8. Need more? Here’s one to tickle your punny bone

Listen, there’s no escaping puns when you’re talking about Dutch humour. 

🇳🇱 “Hoe maakt een skelet een deur open?” 

🇬🇧 (How does a skeleton open a door?)

🇳🇱 “Met zijn sleutelbeen.” 

🇬🇧 (With his collarbone).

In order to get this joke, it’s important to know that in Dutch ‘sleutel’ means key. See how it works? Sleutelbeen? To open the door?… 

We find this one particularly “humerus.” (The author chugs some coffee and throws herself off her chair.)

9. Someone, please stop us 

Dutch humour is something you have to get used to, but once you do, it’s hilarious. Image: Freepik

As we progress through this article, we’re really going from ridiculous to downright silly — which is why we need to tell you this joke. 

🇳🇱 “Gaat een cowboy naar de kapper. Komt ie buiten… pony weg.” 

🇬🇧 (A cowboy goes to the hairdresser. He comes outside… pony gone.) 

To understand just how silly-billy this joke is, you need to know that in Dutch, the word “pony” has, you guessed it, two meanings. 

Pony” can mean both a cute little horse that gallops around. Orrrrr, in the context of the hairdresser’s chair, it can mean “bangs”, y’know, a cute little fringe. 

So when the cowboy comes out of the hairdresser, his “pony” is gone, get it? GET IT? 

10. We can’t leave the windmills out of it 

In need of a Dutch joke that will leave you with a hand-shaped red mark on your forehead? Look no further. 

🇳🇱 “Waarom kijkt een molenaar altijd uit zijn raampje? Omdat hij niet door de muur kan kijken” 

🇬🇧 (Why does the windmiller always look out of his window? Because he can’t look through the walls.) 

A breakdown of the mechanisms behind this joke isn’t really needed — it’s silly. Plain and simple. 

11. Finally, a joke about Dutchies

Another classic way to make a joke in Dutch is to make fun of the Dutch! Image: Freepik

Listen, we can’t talk about Dutch humour without dishing out a joke at the expense of Dutchies. Our go-to dig at the Dutch has to be this one. 

🇳🇱 “Welke ingrediënten heeft een Nederlander nodig om tomatensoep te prepareren?”

🇬🇧 (What ingredients does a Dutch person need to make tomato soup?) 

🇳🇱 “Gekookte water en een rode kom.” 

🇬🇧 (Boiled water and a red bowl.) 

This one hits the Dutch in their stomachs, poking fun at Dutch cuisine and its lack of, shall we say, flavour. 

Make sure to bring this one out under the right circumstances — not at the dinner table, for example. 

Ready to induce some chuckles? Or, at the very least, prove yourself to be quite the wordsmith in Dutch. Go forth and conquer! 

Do you have any jokes that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below! 

Feature Image:Freepik
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Before becoming the Senior Editor of DutchReview, Sarah was a fresh-faced international looking to learn more about the Netherlands. Since moving here in 2017, Sarah has added a BA in English and Philosophy (Hons.), an MA in Literature (Hons.), and over three years of writing experience at DutchReview to her skillset. When Sarah isn't acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her trying to sound witty while writing about some of the stickier topics such as mortgages and Dutch law.

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  1. I’ve lived in NL for more than 40 years and I don’t remember a Dutch person ever telling a joke. Niks aan means you didn’t think much to it. It depends on the context it’s used in. As in Ik heb niks aan vanavond = I have nothing planned this evening. Ik vond het niks aan = I didn’t think it was any good.

  2. As a dutchman, if a friend of mine brought a conversation to a stop to pitch one of these jokes in. I’d laugh, and then reach over the table and strangle them. (Just kidding)


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