Genders in Dutch All nouns have a gender in Dutch, either common (de words) or neuter (het words). It is hard to guess which gender a noun is, so it is best to memorize the genders when memorizing vocabulary. However, two-thirds of Dutch words are common gender (because the common gender has combined the former feminine and masculine genders.) So it may be easier to memorize which nouns are neuter, and then assign common gender to the rest. All diminutives (words ending in -je) and infinitives used as nouns, as well as colors, metals, compass directions, and all words that end in -um, -aat, -sel, -isme are neuter. Most nouns beginning with ge- and ending with -te are neuter, as are most nouns beginning with ge-, be-, and ver-. Common noun endings include: -aar, -ent, -er, -es, -eur, -heid, -ij, -ing, -teit, -tie.
Articles & Demonstratives
|Indefinite “a” or “an”||
|Singular this that||deze die||dit dat|
|Plural these those||
- adding en
- Example: bloem/bloemen
- adding s
- Example: tafel/tafels
- adding eren
- Example: ei/eieren
|de kip||deze kip||die kip||deze kippen||die kippen|
|het huis||dit huis||dat huis||deze huizen||die huizen|
Rules for Articles in DutchWhen it comes to definite articles, Dutch has an extra layer of complexity compared to English. In English, there is only one definite article: the. In Dutch, there are two definite articles: de and het. Whether you use de or het depends on the gender of the noun. There are three genders in Dutch: masculine, feminine, and neuter. De is used with masculine and feminine nouns. Het is used with neuter nouns. Each noun has a gender and some nouns have two genders. Both, de and het, can be used with the nouns that are masculine and neuter. There are a few rules that govern the articles of some of the nouns. You have to memorize the articles of the rest. First, let’s go over the rules and then discuss how to memorize the articles of the nouns.
Plural nouns always take the article de, regardless of their gender.
|De man||De mannen (the men)|
|Het kind||De kinderen (the children)|
|Het boek||De boeken (the books)|
|Het koekje||De koekjes (the cookies)|
Singular diminutive nouns (verkleinwoorden) take the article het.
- Het koekje (the cookie)
- Het huisje (the little house)
- Het kindje (the little child)
Infinitives take the article het.
- Het lopen (to walk)
- Het lezen (to read)
- Het spelen (to play)
Nouns that refer to persons take the article de.
- De man (man)
- De vrouw (woman)
- De vriend (friend)
Nouns that end with -ing, -er, -heid, -in, or -aar take the article de.
- De vergadering (meeting)
- De bakker (baker)
- De overheid (government)
- De vriendin (girlfriend)
- De ambtenaar (civil servant)
Two syllable nouns that start with be-, ge-, ver-, or ont- take the article het.
- Het beheer (management)
- Het geluid (sound)
- Het verband (connection, context, relation)
- Het onthaal (reception)
Trees, plants, vegetables, and fruits take the article de.
- De eik (oak)
- De orchidee (orchid)
- De spinazie (spinach)
- De appel (apple)
Nouns that end with -isme, -ment, -sel, or -um take the article het.
- Het activisme
- Het instrument
- Het voedsel (food)
- Het museum
Sports take the article het.
- Het tennis
- Het voetbal (football)
- Het judo