At the end of the day, a language is a language. Whether you use it to sow discord, confusion or harmony is your choice. You can come bearing Dutch insults, and you can come bearing Dutch compliments. At least if you choose the path of kindness, you probably won’t have to memorize the names of medieval plagues like cholera and typhoid. For whatever reason, Dutch people like to insult each other by calling each other names like tyfushond (typhoid dog) and pleurislijer (tuberculosis sufferer). Dutch compliments are a little less colorful, but also much more pleasant rolling off the tongue.
Anyway, it absolutely never hurts to know how to say something nice to someone you just met (or even someone you’ve known for a long time). The path to friendship, or just a functional new acquaintance, is often littered with small, sincere compliments.
To hear how each phrase is pronounced by a native speaker, press the gray play button.
You dance well. — Je danst goed.
Wow, these are really delicious! — Zo, deze zijn echt heerlijk!
You are so considerate! — Je bent zo attent!
I appreciate your honesty. — Ik stel jouw eerlijkheid op prijs.
I love your sense of humor! — Ik vind je humor leuk!
That’s what I call smart! — Dat noem ik slim!
That blue cap goes well with your eyes. — Dat blauwe petje staat goed bij je ogen.
Your dress is really beautiful! — Jouw jurk is echt mooi!
I mean it as a compliment! — Dat was als compliment bedoeld!
Very kind, thank you very much! — Heel vriendelijk, dank u wel!