Five Phrases You Need To Enjoy the Dutch Summer

One of these cliches of the Netherlands is that we’re a rainy and grey country and basically have crappy weather. And this is, just like cycling and our love for licorice, completely true.

Weather report Netherlands

But since a few years our summers are getting a tiny bit better and when you’re in the Netherlands and the sun is shining it’s your godgiven duty to make the most out of it. So what to do? And so you’ll actually fit in with the sunsoaking crowd; what to say in Dutch? You can actually get Dutch lessons while having some serious fun (or not so serious) and get some real Dutch skills, but we’re a nice online magazine so we’ll help you along. Here are 5 Dutch phrases and activities to get the most out of those 26 annual rays of sun.


1) “Lekker weertje!”

Translation: “Nice weather!”

Usually mentioned casually, it’s the Dutch equivalent of “How about that weather, eh?” Seeing that 99% of our weather reports consists of either warning us of coming rainfall or damage reports on the last rainfall, the sunny days of the years (both of them, har-har-har…) are cherished. The rule of thumb is as follows: if the sun is out, it’s nice weather, end of discussion. It doesn’t matter that it’s close to thirty degrees Celsius (that’s °F 86 for you Fahrenheit weirdos out there) and the humidity is so high that taking a breath feels like swallowing a gulp of lukewarm water, sun’s out = nice weather. Now get out there and enjoy yourself!

What to do?

Quintessential Dutch behavior when it’s a ‘lekker weertje’ is to drop everything you’re doing, ditch work, and just go outside. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the bar is set that high (or better said; low). It doesn’t actually matter what you’ll be doing – go for a nice walk, explore the excellent Dutch bicycle paths, gardening. Whatever you do when the sun is out, just don’t stay inside, that’s socially unacceptable.

Dutch people will be swarming over the terraces when the sun's out
Dutch people will be swarming over the terraces when the sun’s out


2) “Nein, kein Zimmer frei!”

Translation: “Nope, no rooms available.”

Classic one-liner. The German phrase “Kein Zimmer frei” has been a Dutch-cherished catch-phrase for decades. Standing in a long tradition of Dutch jokes on German, the punchline is that the obviously empty hotel has no room left for the German tourists who stand confused at the check-in counter.
Despite the fact that the Dutch are getting along with the Gemans quite well these days, we are still those two brothers who can’t stop driving each other insane with pranks. Nowadays, Dutch-German rivalry is mostly taken to the football field, where we resolve our differences in a civilized and sportive manner.

Mostly sportive…

Considering that The Netherlands is a popular tourist destination for Germans, you will have enough time to become fluent in another language by practicing this phrase.

What to do?

If you actually wanna practice your German or see some stereotypical German-Dutch relations in action: go to the beach. The Dutch North Sea beaches are filled to the rafters with sunbathing Germans. The beachless Germans occupy our beaches once again (WWII-related pun intented) if they’ve got a few days off and the sun’s out. The other thing which you can totally rely on is the volume of Dutchies complaining about their visiting neighbours from the East. How to recognize them? Opels with white and black licence-plates, Schnitzel eating families and the biggest give-away of all: Germans digging holes in the beach (in Dutch: ‘kuiltje graven’)


3) “Iemand vlees?”

Translation: “Meat, anyone?”

If there is anything on this planet that embodies ‘summerness’ like nothing else, it has to be the holy barbecue. So the sentence “Meat, anyone?” is a no-brainer when it comes to easily integrating into the Dutch summer society. And meat is still by far (despite the Dutch having a political Party for Animals, we kid you not) the most popular choice for things to fry on the BBQ. Chances are more than 50% that if you get invited as an international person to a Dutch summer shindig it will feature a barbequesce thing. Other handy sentences will include:

“Mag ik meer dan één stukje?” – Can I have more then one piece? (it’s still a Dutch get-together)
“Waar staat het bier?” – Where is the beer? (more on that later in this article)
“Hoort dit zo te smaken?” – Is this supposed to taste like this? (when the stuff in front of you is charcoaled)

This is literally what you get to see on wikipedia when you google for 'Dutch family bbq'. (probably in a Vinex-wijk)
This is literally what you get to see on wikipedia when you google for ‘Dutch family bbq’. (probably in a Vinex-wijk)

What to do?

A barbecue is that event where all the men gather in a circle critiquing the alpha male’s barbecuing skills (rule of thumb: he’s doing it wrong! In Dutch: “je doet het verkeerd”) and all the women gather round so they can gossip about how silly men are (they kind of have a point, I guess). Dutch people love barbecues and will have no fear of riding their mobile barbecue-annex-war machine into the nearest park for all to see. Barbecuing in the park (on the verge of being forbidden) is mostly a thing for hipsters or Turkish families. Regular boring families will try and set up a way too professional BBQ in their Vinex-neighbourhood backyard. All in all, the most important phrase to master if you want to be a barbecue natural is therefore this one which will allow all you meat-hungry people to let them know that, yes, you want your refill of grilled animal corps.

On a completely unrelated note, I googled “vegan barbecue” hoping to score an easy joke, but this stuff actually looks pretty good. #confused source.


4) “Hebbie pillen bij je?”

This one is a bit more difficult to explain. “Hebbie” is merger of “Heb” and “je” -> “Do you have”, “pillen bij je?” translates into “pills on you”? So this would translate into: “Do you have some pills on you?” or better said “Got pills?”. Why on earth did we include this sentence you might wonder? Because is has lots of Dutchness build into it. First it’s Dutch directness, with people just wandering about asking for drugs. Second, people will first try and get it for free. Third, it’s mostly asked during (Dance-) festivals, music the Dutch are now famous for.

Our King and Queen getting it on, no idea if they’re carrying.

What to do?

Festivals of course! They are hip and happening right now, and every weekend during the summer will feature multiple festivals.


And make no mistake, all the dance festivals in the Netherlands are dominated by the use of drugs, mostly XTC. So if you’ve ever been to one of those festivals and just thought that both the music and people were just weird, you’ve probably been missing out on the number one choice of substance for those events. And we at DutchReview try not to be judgmental on this one, as if eating loads of meat or drinking tons of beer (more on that next) is such a wise thing to to, and XTC usually just creates tons of happy cuddling people.

Not in for this kind of entertainment or do you want to take the kids along? Don’t worry there are loads of great other festivals that aren’t drug infused. There’s the great North Sea Jazz festival every year and there are of course the foodtruck festivals.


5) “Vooruit… nog eentje dan!”

Translation: “Alright… one more!”

In the end, the person you lie most to is yourself. Especially when it comes to promises on moderation (hey, we’ve all been there, right?). The phrase “Vooruit… nog eentje dan!” is thus a common one and needs little explanation. It’s that last drink of the evening and we like it so much that we take at least five of them every time we hit the bars. As such, the phrase announcing the that yes, this is totally the last alcohol unit I’m taking in today. Dutch people have a drinking culture which is somewhat notorious for starting late (don’t bother showing up before 11 PM) and ending in the early morning. On the plus side, we get to end every binge-drinking night with watching the sunrise, regardless of what season it is.

Bier drinken bij het beugeltje wervende foto's voor de HSK [#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D70 Focal Length: 145mm Optimize Image: Portrait Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB) Noise Reduction: OFF 2005/06/20 17:02:42.2 Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority White Balance: Auto Tone Comp: Auto RAW (12-bit) Lossless Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern AF Mode: AF-S Hue Adjustment: 0° Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000) 1/800 sec - F/6.3 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Saturation: Normal Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sharpening: Medium low Lens: 80-200mm F/2.8 D Sensitivity: ISO 200 Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]
Drinking like a Dutchman, you’re doing it right. source

What to do?

Simply hit those bars! Whether you’re in for a night of dancing, watching a band, or simply sitting at a bar and drinking the night away, the Dutch are fond of escaping their familiar four walls and going into town.

Not to keen on wasting precious lifespan away on alcohol and such? You can do almost anything with a personal coach from Flowently. They can accompany you to the market, shops, terrace or any other summer setting so you can master these and many more essential Dutch phrases on the go. ‘Veel plezier deze zomer!’


Frank Kool
Frank Kool
Born and raised in Holland, spent his time procrastinating and studying Psychology and Philosophy. Frank harbors a special interest in weird social phenomena (which are ALL social phenomenon if you think about them long enough).


  1. “A barbecue is that event where all the men gather in a circle critiquing
    the alpha male’s barbecuing skills (rule of thumb: he’s doing it wrong!
    In Dutch: “je doet het verkeerd”) and all the women gather round so
    they can gossip about how silly men are (they kind of have a point, I

    I laughed hard 😀

  2. […] most part of the year. Of course, this would not apply to people living in the Netherlands where summer days’ temperatures are rarely over twenty degrees, or my Dutch-Indonesians friends, who apparently carry mini-bottles of Sambal in their bags for […]


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