Saying your name is one of the very first things you’ll say when meeting new people. After all, a good introduction is a good first impression. Learn how to introduce yourself in Dutch in both formal as well as casual situations.
1# Ik heet
The formal way to introduce yourself in Dutch is to use the phrase Ik heet. This phrase literally translates to “I am called” in English. However, it means the same as saying “My name is”. Note that in a formal setting or when meeting someone for the first time, you present yourself stating your full name.
Formal introductions are used in settings such as at the office, business conferences, work meetings, or even during formal family events where there are elderly people. A good example of the latter is during Christmas family dinners. The Dutch usually consider this a formal event, where everyone gets dressed up and a proper – often extensive – sit-down dinner takes place either at someone’s home or at a restaurant.
Ik heet Anna Smith. (My name is Anna Smith.)
Introductions often start with a greeting too.
Hallo. Ik heet Anna Smith. (Hello. My name is Anna Smith.)
‘Hallo’ in this case can be replaced by other Dutch greetings, such as good morning or good evening.
Goedemorgen. Ik heet Anna Smith. (Good morning. My name is Anna Smith.)
When you introduce yourself in Dutch, the other person will of course introduce himself/herself to you too. In this case, it’s common to reply with the word Aangenaam. This word translates to ‘pleased’ in English. In the context of Dutch introductions, this one word conveys “I’m pleased to meet you” or “It’s nice to meet you”. Note that it’s not necessary to wait for the other person’s introductions, you can simply add Aangenaam at the end of your introduction.
So here’s a full formal sample introduction.
[introduction] Ik heet
[full name] Anna Smith.
[other person introduces himself to you, or not]
[your reply] Aangenaam.
Full sentence: Hallo. Ik heet Anna Smith. Aangenaam.
#2 Ik ben
Informal introductions are used during casual situations such as joining another friend’s group, during informal workplace situations, and relaxed family gatherings.
The casual way to introduce yourself in Dutch is to use the phrase Ik ben, which translates to “I am” in English. As a general rule, formal or not, first-time introductions call for stating your full name. However, you will be forgiven for simply stating your first name in informal settings.
Ik ben Anna Smith. (I’m Anna Smith.)
Casual introductions often start with a greeting too.
Hallo. Ik ben Anna. (Hello. I’m Anna.)
‘Hallo’ in this case can be replaced by other casual Dutch greetings, such as Hi or Hoi.
Hoi! Ik ben Anna. (Hi! I’m Anna.)
And just like with formal situations, there’s a casual reply you can make when the other person introduces himself to you. It’s Leuk je te ontmoeten, which translates to ‘Nice to meet you’. It’s also ok to just add this phrase to your introduction, without waiting for the other person to introduce himself first.
So here’s a full casual sample introduction.
[introduction] Ik ben
[full name or just your first name] Anna.
[other person introduces himself to you, or not]
[your reply] Leuk je te ontmoeten.
Full sentence: Hallo. Ik ben Anna. Leuk je te ontmoeten.
3# Mijn naam is
When thinking of introducing yourself in Dutch, you’re probably thinking of starting with the phrase ‘My name is’. This is how you say it.
Mijn naam is Anna Smith.
However, please note that this phrase is not often used as it’s considered a ‘stiff’ way of presenting yourself. There’s one exception to this rule – when someone asks you first!
For instance, say somebody approaches you and asks Wat is jouw naam? (What is your name?). In this case, feel free to reply with Mijn naam is…
Dutch Introduction ‘Follow-Ups’
After introductions, it’s not unusual to be asked a few follow-up questions as the other person attempts to get to know you. Here are a few handy phrases to know.
|Dutch Phrases||English Translation|
|Hoe gaat het?||How are you?|
|Waar kom jij vandaan?||Where are you from?|
|Waar verblijf je?||Where are you staying?|
|Waar woon je?||Where do you live?|
|Met mij gaat het goed.||I’m good. / I’m ok.|
|Ik kom uit Frankrijk.||I’m from France.|
|Ik logeer bij Hotel de Maaspoort.||I’m staying at Hotel de Maaspoort.|
|Ik woon in Amsterdam.||I live in Amsterdam.|
Non-Verbal Dutch Introduction Styles and Other Cultural Tips
Now that you know the phrases to use when you introduce yourself in Dutch, it’s also equally important to learn the non-verbal ways that accompany these introductions.
When introducing yourself to someone for the first time, accompany this introduction with a firm handshake. This is especially true in business settings.
During casual situations, handshakes are also expected, but they are not mandatory especially in big groups and amongst the youth. In informal settings – for example, when you’re invited to someone’s birthday party – don’t be surprised to see the customary Dutch 3-kiss rule. This is a kiss on the cheeks Dutchies do to someone they know.
Other Dutch Introduction Tips
- It’s considered rude not to introduce yourself. So if you find yourself alone and don’t have someone to ‘pave the way’ for an introduction, feel free to approach others and introduce yourself in Dutch.
- The handshake is truly part of Dutch introductions. So don’t be surprised if even children shake hands with you during introductions.
- Birthday parties. A common ‘cultural shock’ is when foreigners find themselves invited to a birthday party, especially if the party is a small group. Here’s why: apart from greeting the celebrant, you are expected to introduce yourself and shake hands – with everyone.
Knowing how to introduce yourself in Dutch is a great way to give a good impression and to show appreciation.
Dutch Introductions Quick Sheet
Here’s a quick rundown of Dutch introduction phrases used in this article, as well as their English translation.
|Dutch Introduction Phrase||Context||English Translation|
|Ik heet||Formal||My name is (lit. I am called)|
|Mijn naam is||Formal||My name is|
|Ik ben||Casual||I am|
|Aangenaam||Formal||Pleased to meet you.|
|Leuk je te ontmoeten||Casual||Nice to meet you.|