Dutch swear words: the guide to insults and cursing in the Netherlands

Here we go... 🤬

Need some Dutch swear words? Welcome to the Dutch swear words guide, where I’ll teach you all the Dutch insults you’ll need for life in the Netherlands.

You see, Dutch curse words are very different to English curse words, often verging on the…incredibly distasteful. 🤬

So whether you want to yell at a misbehaving Brit in Amsterdam, or you want to deepen your Dutch-learning experience, here we’ll show some of the best Dutch swear words. 

(Naturally, as a perfect, idyllic human being, I do not condone the use of any of the following Dutch curse words, profanity or phrases and would NEVER use them myself). 😇

Having said that, let’s begin! And just like eating only one stroopwafel from the package (instead of all of them at the same time like a giant sandwich), it would be a crime not to start with the infamous Dutch “disease-based curses.”

🦠 Dutch curse words based on diseases

Have you ever been so angry at someone that you verbally express your desire for them to get cholera? No? How about typhoid fever? Still no?

That’s weird… It’s weird, at least for some Dutchies, because Dutch swearing involves diseases sometimes.

That’s right. It is a well-known fact that wishing an illness upon your enemies is a common way to curse in Dutch.

It’s needless to say that the following Dutch swear words and phrases are frowned upon by Dutch society. The only other situation where you should use one of these is, well, never.

Alas, I’m trying to expand your knowledge of all things Dutch, so here’s a list of Dutch curse words and phrases that involve crippling, life-threatening diseases:

🇳🇱🇬🇧
Krijg de tyfus!Get tuberculosis!
Krijg de klere!Get cholera!
Krijg de pest!Get the plague!
Kankerlijer!Cancer sufferer!
Tering!Tuberculosis!
Pleur op!*F*** off!*

*It’s believed “pleur” comes from “pleuritis” which can be caused by pneumonia.

When to use these: You stub your little toe on the corner of a desk at 7 AM, and you are alone on an uninhabited island.

But seriously, we can’t stress this enough: using cancer/kanker in your Dutch swearing is more than frowned upon — it’s a big no-no. 🙅‍♀️

Thankfully, there are other ways to swear in Dutch that don’t involve diseases. ‘Friendlier’ Dutch swear words exist and can be used to express anger without making life-long enemies.

👌 Everyday swear words in the Netherlands

In a country where you can literally bike next to tulip fields, it’s hard to think of situations where you would want to curse.

Of course, things like the weather or other inconveniences of life might incite you to curse under your breath.

Without the need for slurring out diseases, there are words/phrases you can say to express your discontent.

🇳🇱🇬🇧
GodverdommeGod damn it
Rot op!Go away!
Potverdorie!Goshdarnit (it’s what Ned Flanders would use if he were Dutch)
PannenkoekPancake (yes, that’s all)
StommertDumb
SukkelWimp, dork
S**t(The Dutch like swearing in English)
OpzoutenGo away! (Mainly used around Amsterdam)
Franse slagFrench job (when a task is lazily done)
Kut!Vagina!*

*While this sounds like the English C-Word, this is used very liberally in Dutch and doesn’t have the same severe connotations.

When to use these: Someone eats the last bitterbal at the borrel or double-dips said bitterbal in the mustard cup.

🤦‍♂️ Insults for men in the Netherlands

You just don’t insult a Dutch person without using the appropriate form of gender, that would be rudeSo let’s get you up to speed with some of the most heard curses to sling at Dutch men:

🇳🇱🇬🇧
ZakkenwasserBallsack-washer (Douchebag)
KlootzakBallsack (Asshole)
KloothommelScrotum-bumblebee
MierenneukerAnt-f**ker

🤦‍♀️ Insults for women in the Netherlands

🇳🇱🇬🇧
KutwijfVagina-lady
HeksWitch
TrutB*tch
SletSl*t
LellebelSl*t (but cuter)
HoerWh*re (but can be modified, like “Moffenhoer” (German-loving whore)

When to use these: when someone steals the last seat on a train from a pregnant lady or when your Dutch partner cheats on you.

💀 Racist swear words in the Netherlands

Jeeh, this is not a happy-go-lucky article. Despite the progressive outward image of the Netherlands, racism runs deep, and there are plenty of ethnic slurs in the Dutch language to prove it.

However, we don’t think that publicising these is going to benefit the world in any way — if you really want to know Dutch racial slurs (why?), we’ll let you Google that yourself.

👍 Appropriate alternatives to Dutch swear words

Obviously, we all need to vent a bit every now and then, even when you’re among your Dutch inlaws.

Just imagine someone using the knife on the cheese instead of the ‘kaasschaaf‘ without cursing something decent.

So here are a couple of Dutch swear words that I believe are almost totally fine to utter every now and then:

🇳🇱🇬🇧
PotjandosieGoshdarnit
VerdorieDarn it (sort of)
Pindakaas!Peanut butter! (Oh well)
Helaas pindakaasToo bad, peanut butter! (Too bad!)
Lomperd(A rude and insensitive person)
TandjesTeethies! (Teachers and parents use this instead of tering (tuberculosis)
Deugniet(A naughty person)
Besodemieteren(Scamming something)
OppleurenGo away!

🌎 Foreign swear words in the Dutch language

Obviously, the Dutch are great English speakers, so they’ve adopted their fair share of English profanity into the Dutch language: b*tch, f*ck and sh*t have really made it here.

Luckily some other swears haven’t, and most Dutchies know better than to use the N- and C- words.

Thanks to Narcos, the Dutch also have a soft spot for hijo de puta and the German scheisse. However, other foreign swear words like putain and mierda/merde have never made big inroads in the Netherlands.


Thank god we’ve reached the end, we’re going to watch a movie of little kittens playing. 

What other Dutch swear words do you know? Did we cross the line? Are you my mother, and do you want to berate me for all these Dutch swear words? Share in the comments below!  


How do you say swear words in Dutch?

What is a pannenkoek Dutch insult?

What is the most offensive word in Dutch?

Why do the Dutch swear with diseases?

Feature Image:Freepik
Renan Alejandro Salvador Lozano Cuervo
Renan Alejandro Salvador Lozano Cuervo
Pannenkoek en poffertjes connoisseur/expert. Mexican that came for the graduate education, stayed for the stroopwafels and bikes. Ask me how to make the perfect guacamole, and about the hot spots in The Hague.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. I think this article about Dutch swear words is pretty mild. I think most Dutch speaking people (including me) know more and worse words than covered in this article. Anyway my opinion about the Dutch using diseases in their cursing is because there are not many other taboos left in The Netherlands.

  2. Haihai, stommerd is with a d.
    😛 Not to mention, the tiles are pretty funny, but ‘lekker pik’ is more like; Delicious/tasty, dick.’
    The ‘pik’ refers to the person, not the bodypart.
    But it’s not as funny on a tile that way, so I understand 😛

    Also, you kindof forgot to mention the added swearwords. It’s often the case that people combine the words together. Like; ‘Godvertyfesteringklotekutzooi!’ Or ‘vieze vuile tering tyfeslijer!’
    It’s never just one word, it’s a sentence.
    And you could’ve mentioned ‘Krijg toch allemaal de kolere’ from Ciske de Rat. But it’s a great piece anyway.
    Oh and thanks for the * on the cancer one. It’s often used by the a-social type of teenagers, but it’s indeed very very frowned upon by most people. Byebye

  3. […] You will often get frustrated because at the beginning the learning process is fast, and then you seem to reach a point where you are stuck. Where you are not learning anymore, where you seem to be making no progress. I think this is where you absorb and really learn. Because after that, I promise you, if you keep your efforts, there’ll be a click, and suddenly you will find it easier to start talking, you will notice you understand people around you, you will lose the fear. […]

  4. When I was 7yo my dad named my cat “Klota Cat”. I have been trying to figure out WTF it meant. Very difficult because my dad was born in Amsterdam and I’m USA, and phonetically it is completely different. “Hut fa dumma” is what the woman in the boat used. Now Swarta Pete? That is like using “Santa Claus” as a swear word. At least I know what klot sac is now. BTW my cat was a boy…..

  5. Hi, I my former partner was Dutch and he used to say things like lul, klootzat, the k word, and he also loved the word Verdomme. This last one sounds great to my Spanish ears, same, as the English b*ll*cks, but the latter example is another story.

    Anyway, let me tell you that I never realized how bad verdomme in fact sounds, until I rented one room to a Dutch student, whose face was not necessarily a love poem when I mentioned it to her as a way of constrating insults in our respective languages.
    That insult contrating talk, let me thinking: No wonder my partner and I are no longer together! I should have learnt Dutch while I still was with him to get a whiff of what was going to come, but he did not have enough patience to teach me, alas!

    Ah, let me add something about the narco language of above, regarding hijo de puta. Here in the south of Spain we just say ‘ió puta’, is shorter, easier to pronounce and….stronger in effect!

  6. Hmm, I kinda like “klootviool” (see kloothommel here above) and “gratekut” is also a very apt description for an anorexia suffering female basket case.

    Anyway, anybody wanting to delve into Dutch curse words should study this fine book by mr. Hans Heestermans: LUILEBOL het Nederlands scheldwoordenboek.

    Originally mr. Heestermans wanted the boek to be titled “Gratekut”, but his publisher convinced him that asking in a bookstore for a copy of “Gratekut” would influence sales negatively. So it became Luilebol. Also an excellent word.
    Happy reading. Edmond

  7. Lellebel looks like a variant of “Jezebel” which is an insult with biblical origin that has the same connotation as “slut” in many many ocountries

  8. I love the word, pannekuk (not sure if that’s the correct spelling) I’ve been called one in Amsterdam while inadvertently straying onto the cycle path. The rather large built man on the bike shouted: hey pannekuk, you trying to get yourself hit by a bike? Get out off of the road, verdomme.

  9. Moffenhoer was used in WWII. Not sure whether it has been used since then (it wouldn’t make any sense, as it was used to call women who had relations with German soldiers during the war).

    It’s not “Lekker pik”, but “Lekker, pik” and the literal English translation is what Emma mentioned in her comment. It means something like “Well done, mate”, but it can also be pronounced in a sarcastic way when you mean the opposite.

    PS The Dutch translation of “tasty dick” would be “Lekkere pik/lekkere lul”.

  10. It is very mild almost friendly.
    I was born in Rotterdam and swearing there is almost an art form.
    Anyways, a lot of Dutch swear words are hard to translate into english.

  11. Not racist
    Use to live in eindhoven
    Folks from tilburg were called kruikenzeikers
    Helmond was kattenmeppers
    Rotterdam was botenwerkers
    Eindhoveners were lampendraaiers
    Or BOEREN!
    Mostly terms used at voetbal games

  12. You forgot the words betweter, downie and pokke. Dutch people use the word betweter when some one thinks he knows some thing better or when he corrects you whole the time. downie means downie and is used when some one acts very stupid. pokke is most used when some thing won’t work then its used like ‘pokke ding!’ or when you try to make a scentence like ‘Klere pokke tyfus…!’

  13. My parents spoke Dutch in the home – we live in CA now – but it was a real fun show to watch and listen to the words they would throw against each other when they argued or got mad at one another ..
    Godverdomme – I love the Dutch swear words

  14. My dad used to yell this Dutch phrase when he was mad about something. I eas just a kid, and what it sounded like to my 8 year old ears was, “Hot verdamme, kanordian too”. I have no idea how the words were spelled in Dutch, and my parents would never tell us what it meant, not even as adults. I thought it might’ve meant, “God damn it, and you, too.”. Does any know what it means and how it’s actually spelled in Dutch? Thanks!

    • My closest guess would be “Godverdomme, (something) nog aan toe!”. Which means “God damn it, (and something) yet to come!”.
      The something can be replaced by many words (bliksems/lightning, duivels/devils, or the usual variety of diseases), so I’m not sure which specific one your dad must’ve used.

  15. Anyone know what “shanna ditza” means. The spelling i know is not right but thats how it sounds in English. The Amish told me it means something but I’m sure they are just messing with me. And nowhere online can I find a translation.

    • I’ve no clue — are you sure that’s the correct pronunciation? I know “Ditza” sounds vaguely like “Dikzak” which means “Fatso” (lit. “fat bag”).

  16. I’m a 36-year old Amsterdam native, and I’ve never heard anyone use the term “Franse Slag” in my entire life.

    • I’ve heard my parents using it, quite an old-fashioned (and mild) term. Probably from the time that the Netherlands was occupied by the French (early 19th century)? Groningen native – so you’d probably call me a “boer”? 😉

  17. The language is elvolving tho, cancer is becoming more and more common. Most youth don’t bat an eye anymore when they hear it. (to my personal distaste)

  18. Hello I have a friend that speaks Dutch and he told me that I cannot find any the “good” swear words in Dutch!can someone please tell me that words because whatever I find he says to me that’s nothing!

  19. Hello I have a friend that speaks Dutch and he told me that I cannot find any the “good” swear words!can someone please tell me that words because whatever I find he says to me that’s nothing!

  20. Maybe it’s older generation but the expletive/insult I heard from my Father more than any other was “smeerlap”. How was that overlooked here? Ja “gij vuile lielijke smerige smeerlap” is pretty harsh. It’s the ultimate level of disrespect. You might say this to the smeerlap that put poep on your bicycle seat. Now that is echt smeerlapperij!

  21. Hello, my mom always said my grandma (born Netherlands) used to say “poffer-domma” when she was mad, I’m sure that’s not how it’s spelled but that’s how it sounds to me. My mom never knew what it meant. Thanks!!

  22. I love the swears that apply to diseases. An old friend used to say “Haut verdomme” but by the time I was old enough to ask, she passed away. Now I want to repeat it in a story and I’m wondering if I have missed remembered it. Could she have been saying Godverdomme or even given Nancy’s questions above, “offer-domma”. I seemed to recall a strong H at the beginning.If I’m going to swear I want to say it correctly!!!

  23. I love the swears that apply to diseases. An old friend used to say “Haut verdomme” but by the time I was old enough to ask, she passed away. Would this be correct?

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