How To Name And Pronounce Colors In Dutch

Roses are rood, violets are blauw; if you can’t yet say the names of the rest of the colors, you’re about to learn how.
colors in dutch

If you’re a student of the Dutch language and you don’t yet know how to name colors in Dutch, you’re missing out. There are famous artworks to describe, picturesque scenes along The Amstel to recount to an old friend, and shopping blunders to expertly avoid.

With a few oranjes and paars, you can expertly identify various kinds of tulips in nod to the famous Dutch tulip mania.

And let’s not forget Amsterdam’s Red (or is it Rood?) Light District.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to learn the names of Dutch colors; they’ll come in handy in all sorts of contexts. If nothing else, they’re just fun to say. Here’s a quick and handy guide to help you correctly name and pronounce common colors in Dutch.

Red — rood

Orange — oranje

Yellow — geel

Green — groen

Blue — blauw

Purple — paars

Pink — roze

Brown — bruin

Black — zwart

White — wit

Gray — grijs

Light — licht

Dark — donker

The color — de kleur

Also, you’ll notice that when it comes time to put these in a sentence, the same rules for other adjectives in Dutch will apply.

All adjectives for “de” words have the ending -e. For example, blauw becomes de blauwe schoen (the blue shoe); groen becomes de groene auto (the green car).

Adjectives for “het” words have the ending -e when they come after a determiner (het, dit, mijn). Otherwise, you use no ending. For example, paars becomes het paarse T-shirt (the purple T-shirt), or een paars T-shirt when there’s no determiner.

Then there’s the vowel issue. Basically, long vowels are single in open syllables, and in closed syllables they are doubled: rode vs. rood (red), gele vs. geel (yellow). If the vowel in the adjective is long, e.g. “oo,” it becomes an open syllable when an ending is added (again, rood –> ‘ro-de’).

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