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Dutch articles (de, het, een)

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Definition and usage of the Dutch articles 

The Dutch language has three different articles:

  • 'de' (the)
  • 'het' (the)
  • 'een' (a/an).

The articles are used with a noun. Words as adjectives and numerals are placed between the article and the noun.  A noun can be combined with an indefinite article ('een') or with a definite article ('de' / 'het').   

Indefinite articles are used when people talk about something in general or when people think others might not know what they are talking about. 

Examples: 

  • Een hond (a dog)  
  • Een glas (a glass) 

Definite articles are used when people are sure that others know what they are talking about. There are no rules to determine if a word gets 'de' or 'het'.  

Examples:

  • Het kind (the child) 
  • Het bureau (the desk) 

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When to use 'de' and when to use 'het'?

As explained in the chapter of Gender of Dutch nouns, the article 'de' can be used for female and male nouns. Therefore, the article does not change when the noun changes gender and it is not important to know what gender the noun is. The article 'het' is used for neutral nouns. You can find the gender of the nouns in the dictionary. As a result, there are no exact rules to tell you when to use 'het' or 'de', below you will find some guidelines.  

When to use 'het?'

Below you will find some guidelines to remember when to use 'het': 

When?ExampleTranslation
All diminutives
  • Het meisje
  • Het broekje
  • the little girl
  • the little trousers
The infinitives used as a noun 
  • Het hebben van een laptop is leuk
  • Het hebben van een zus is gezellig.
  • Having a laptop is fun.
  • Having a sister is nice.
All nouns ending in '-aat' (that do not refer to a person), '-um', '-isme' 
  • Het museum
  • Het resultaat
  • the museum
  • the result
Most nouns that begin with the prefix 'be-', 'ver-', 'ge-', but do not end in '-ing' 
  • Het begin
  • Het verkeer
  • the beginning
  • the traffic
All nouns that say 'the good thing is ...', 'the bad thing is ...' 
  • Het mooie is ...
  • Het stomme is …
  • The nice thing is …
  • The stupid thing is …

When to use 'de'? 

There are a few tips for the 'de-nouns' to be able to remember when to use them: 

When?ExamplesTranslation
All plural nouns 
  • De schoenen 

  • De boten 

  • the shoes
  • the boats
Obvious feminine or masculine nouns 
  • De vrouw 

  • De man 

  • the woman
  • the man
Nouns that end in '-ing' 
  • De groepering

  • De uitnodiging

  • the grouping
  • the invitation
Nouns that end in '-tie', '-thie', '-sie' 
  • De politie

  • De telepathie

  • the police
  • the telepathy
Nouns that end in '-or' 
  • De motor

  • De professor

  • the motor
  • the professor
Persons (except het kind) 
  • De zus

  • De vader

  • the sister
  • the father
Nouns that end in '-aar' 
  • De tovenaar

  • De leraar

  • the wizard
  • the teacher
Nouns that end in '-eur' 
  • De acteur

  • De regisseur

  • the actor
  • the director
Words ending in '-er' 
  • De dokter

  • De schrijver

  • the doctor
  • the writer
Nouns that are obviously female
  • De danseres

  • De actrice

  • the dancer
  • the actress

Train your skills by doing the exercises below!


Exercises

  1. Exercise Dutch articles 1
  2. Exercise Dutch articles 2

Exercise Dutch articles 1


Exercise Dutch articles 2


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Learn to communicate in Dutch from the first lesson! Enjoyable classes with teaching materials tailored to your needs. First 30 min. class for free. My name is Karin and I'm from Holland, but I live on the Canary Islands. I love teaching DUTCH and have done so for more than 20 years. I have a Diploma in English Philology. I also have two methodology degrees: the CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults of the University of Cambridge) and the FCTBE (Foundation Certificate for Teachers of Business English of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
I have taught at a Business School and ten companies. In the last two years I've mainly been giving private lessons and I've developed a variety of online self-study DUTCH courses. My schedule is flexible and I adapt myself to the needs and interests of my students so that they reach their objectives in the shortest possible time.
Enjoyable classes, with teaching materials tailored to your needs.
How do the classes work? A class lasts 45 minutes. I'll send you the materials we are going to use in class beforehand so you can print them. After the class I'll send you audios of the notes we made, vocabulary etc. My speciality is communication, from beginner level to advanced. So, you will speak some Dutch in the first class already! Why wait any longer? Let's get started! :-)

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I had my first lesson a couple of days ago and everything went super good! Karin was attentive, transmiting her positivism and helping me with every doubt I had. She really focus on teaching how to pronounce and talk a language, so this is really interesting for me, to practise it & be able to use it in my day by day. I really recommend her to everyone willing to learn a new language :)
Karin  L. Karin L.
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)

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Hello
My name is Anco Peeters,. I am born in The Netherlands and a native speaker of the Dutch language..
I started my career as a schoolteacher and as a gymnastic instructor.
Later I started working in the ICT sector. Now I am a freelance instructor and consultant who teaches mainly networking and telephony.
I am also an NLP Practitioner

My hobbies are: Yoga, traveling, fitness, walking, meeting people

I would love to teach the Dutch language in an informal way with the accent on learning to speak the language. Grammar is also important. We can talk about any topic. I would like to help you making progress and have a lot of experience in creating an individual plan for every student based on your needs

Would love to see you for a trial lesson

Kind regards
Anco

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Enthousiast and engaged teacher. Plans a lesson around your needs and focuses on details specific to you. Finds helpful material for the lessons but also for the time between. Easy to talk to and can be reached easily too.
Anco P. Anco P.
Hi Mia, thank you for this feedback. We will continue in this way until you are ready for your exam!
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Hi! I've been teaching Dutch, Spanish and Italian for many years, in The Netherlands, for private institutes, for the integration of foreigners into society, and online from Italy, where I currently live.

I will help you, in a simple but effective way, to learn your favorite language(s). By focusing on conversation from the very beginning, I will help you in becoming confident with the language so that you will learn it faster.

Learning a foreign language is not a matter of doing much effort, but rather of being consistent, enjoying the lessons and allowing your intuition to work with you. You will book immediate results while having fun!

I offer you general language courses Italian (A1-C2), Dutch (A1-C1) and Spanish (A1-C1), as well as courses "Basisinburgering" "Inburgeringsexamen A1 and A2".

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So if you want to learn a language or improve the one you already speak, whether it is for work, to move abroad or just because you love languages, contact me for a free trial and let me know how I can help you.

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Good teaching method, it adapts to your learning needs, very good, good interaction with the student. I thought I could never learn this language but thanks to Elena I saw my progress.
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Elena P. Elena P. IT
Thank you so much for your words, Maribel! I am happy to feel satisfied with our journey together. So am I. Together we will be able to make even more progress until your goals are fully achieved.
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Hi there!

I’m Feby, I’m originally from Belgium and I recently graduated in International Business Management. Over the last couple of years, I have been living in Finland (Tampere) and Canada (Toronto) but currently, I’m staying in Mexico where I teach at a language school. My biggest passion is traveling (and chocolate). My native language is Dutch but I’m fluent in English and French too. I’m also able to communicate in Spanish and German.

I do believe practice is the key aspect of learning and maintaining a language. So if you are looking for somebody to help you with your conversational skills (speaking and listening), I might be your person!

Hope to talk to you soon!

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Feby quickly understood what it was essentially necessary to work to improve my Dutch. Very attentive, very kind and without ever judging the level, it allows you to feel comfortable in a language that we are trying to learn. Very good didactic follow-up also after the course. Thanks to Feby I highly recommend
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Feby D. Feby D. BE
Thank you very much for your positive review, David! You are a very pleasant and motivated person to teach.
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Hi there

My name is Lieneke Jansen and I am 51 years old.

I am from a small country in Europe called the Netherlands

I am a TEFL certified English teacher with experience in teaching both children and adults.

Although I am a non-native speaker, I have learned English since high school, and practicing it on a daily basis from then on

I  have over 30 years of working experience in several international companies on a high professional work and think level.

I’m specialised in business conversation and practicing speaking skills on every possible level

Looking forward to meet you as my student.

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Today was getting to know each other. That was great. Lieneke speaks very clearly, I could understand everything. As desired, she corrected my word and grammatical errors, let me speak, and then carefully added the corrections. I'm looking forward to the next hour.
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Lieneke J. Lieneke J.
Thank you for your kind review Astrid. I hope we will have many fun and educational lessons together.
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Hello,

I'm offering informal Dutch and English lessons based on conversation and will conduct my lessons for as much as possible in the target language.

I use text, weblinks to tv shows to get us talking and am a fan of the TPRS method.
There's a lot of information on that method online. Basically it's getting to know the structure Dutch and English through simple conversation. (questions about 1 or several sentences on any topic)

I have some useful weblinks to tv shows in Dutch (with subtitles in Dutch) adjusted to your level and the shows are entertaining too. :-)
We can discuss the shows preferably in the target language of course.

I can explain some grammar too if needed and have articles and books ready to read from. This again will be adjusted to your proficiency. But of course if you'd like to focus on a topic which has your interest that is possible as well. This makes it more personal and more fun.

I've been teaching for about a year now on another platform to students from all over the world and really enjoy having the experience again as I used to be a vocal coach back in the days when I attended conservatory in the Netherlands.

I hope to see you here on Co language. :-)

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After only two lessons I already feel more confident in speaking Dutch! Less provides me with a lot of new words and helps me in improving my communication skills. I am very happy to follow his teaching method with questions and answers!
Less J. Less J. NL

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It took me a long time to find my real passion in my (work) life. After studying in two universities, graduating in two bachelors, travelling the world and working abroad for several years I realized public education is where my heart lies. I went for the third time back to the university to get my teachers degree.

I have been a classroom teacher for 5 years in Dutch primary schools before I moved 4,5 years ago abroad to Colombia where I became specifically an English teacher. I am specialized in teaching in pre-, elementary, middle (secondary) and high school. I have been teaching in all different grades and all primary subjects in English and got specialised in Teaching English as a second language. Most schools where I have been working were inspired by the philosophy of 'Vygotsky'. 
A philosophy and methodology I also use in my private classes. Therefore they are dynamic and adapted to your personal needs.

Working in the Netherlands and Colombia in education and in several countries worldwide have allowed me to gain a variety of skill sets. These experiences also have provided me with the tools necessary for working abroad and online including adaptability, patience, dedication to my peer’s success, and respect for cultural and societal norms. Learning English as a second language from someone that is trained to teach the language like this and also once has learned the language herself as a second language (as my native language is Dutch), gives me a lot of benefits in comparison of learning the language from a native speaker.

Aside from this being my day to day job already for the past 10 years in Bilingual primary, middle and high schools, I started private classes to teach English as a second language in the afternoons. I am new to this platform as I haven't offered my services in the past through an official platform. With the recent changes worldwide I thought it is a good moment to focus more on online teaching and decided to dedicate all my time at the moment on online teaching. Therefore I have a wide availability Let me know which level you have and if there's anything specific you would like to focus on. I have experience in teaching all facets of the language.

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We found our first Dutch class with Lisa really helpful. She is very patient and made the class enjoyable. Looking forward to getting started :)
Lisa C. Lisa C. NL

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Hello, my name is Michel and I'm a Dutch primary school teacher. I arrived in France in 2013 and since then I worked for an international school that is well known all over France. Teaching children and adults is my passion.

My courses are adapted to your level and due to my job and experience I have acces to teaching methodes to learn you the basics of the Dutch language or to improve your level. I can help you to improve your level of writing and speaking or help you learn your first words and phrases.

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Michel is a lovely teacher. He's very knowledgable and explains the grammer very well. Very friendly, patient and encouraging. Highly recommend him!
Johannes Gerhardus B. Johannes Gerhardus B. NL

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Hi!
My name is Mariëlle and I am 22 years old. I live in Aruba. I graduated last year from the ITEPS course at the NHL Stenden Unitversity of Applied Sciences in Meppel. ITEPS stands for: International Teacher Education for Primary Schools. I followed the combined course where I was educated to become a teacher for both Dutch schools and international schools. During my studies, I have had a lot of practice teaching the Dutch and English language, since I had to do a lot of teaching practices at Dutch national schools and International schools all around the world.
At the moment, I work at a local school in Aruba. The instructional language is Dutch, but for almost all of my students Dutch is not their first language. This has resulted in me having experience with teaching Dutch as a second language.

My availability is subject to change, so if you would like to know my accurate availability, please send me a message.

We can start off with a free trial class in which we will get to know each other and where we can talk about what you want to learn. After our trial class we could start right away and I can help you achieve your language learning goals.
I am really looking forward to helping you learn a new language or helping you improve your language skills!
I hope to see you soon,
Mariëlle

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Marielle is great - very nice to chat and learn from, and she works with you at your level to find and explain things you should be doing or practising. I like the googledocs way of working, and find the level perfect. She is also flexible on times to do the lessons which for me is great as I have a family.
Mariëlle S. Mariëlle S. NL

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Hello!

My name is Laura Borger and I am a qualified language teacher. I have been teaching Dutch and English to young and old for the past five years. At the University of Leiden I completed the Master Linguistics and the Master Education.

I base my lessons on the needs and interests of my students. For example, if you are in need of grammar, I will adjust my material accordingly. Or if you want to focus on speaking skills, I create activities to develop this skill.

My personal goal is to ensure that my classes are dynamic, active and fun! I use games, current topics and digital exercises.

I offer a free trial lesson of 25 minutes!

If this appeals to you, press the button and we will see each other soon!

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Laura is an outstanding teacher. She is patient and clear in her explanations, with a natural ability to simplify complex & more technical problems in Dutch grammar and syntax. I appreciate her dynamic teaching style and agile adaptability to my learning progress, which allows me to improve faster and at my own pace. I would highly recommend her to all levels of people keen on learning and advancing in the language.
Laura B. Laura B. NL

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Hello,I would love to help you improve your knowledge of English.I adapt the lessons following your wishes : are you a beginner and need to get some basic knowledge with grammar and easy texts or do you want to improve your conversation skills. I can help you either way.Looking forward to meeting you !

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We spoke in Dutch for most of the lesson which was ideal for me. Francoise was very patient and helpful.
Francoise D. Francoise D.

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My name is Brenda and I am born in the Netherlands. At the moment I live in Nijmegen, the oldest city of the Netherlands. A lot of foreign students live here because it is a university city.

I have been interested in languages from an early age. That is why I have learned English, German, French and Spanish. But in my area I am mainly known for my excellent Dutch language skills and my eye for spelling and grammar.

Other things that interest me are cooking and baking and being creative. As a volunteer I have given guided tours and I have done workshops in both English and Dutch. I also love walking in nature or enjoying the beach and the sea!

I am currently learning Turkish, so I fully understand what you are experiencing as a language student. That’s why I am very patient. We practice as much as what you need. Is there something you don’t understand? Feel free to ask again, then we can approach the material in a different way so that it is clear for you.

I also know from experience how great it feels when you can communicate with someone in the local language! So let's go for this challenge together!

Your needs and progress as a student are central.

Please indicate before the first lesson what you would like to work on so that I can prepare myself for the lesson. A number of options are:
- Preparation for the integration course (inburgeringscursus)
Speaking, listening, reading and writing. Cultural and work-related topics.
- Beginners - Advanced (Personalized Lessons) Dutch
We can focus on every aspect of the language. When you want to learn from a book we can use your material or I will advise you which book you can purchase.
As a beginner you start with the basics, the alphabet and some basic words. We extend this so that you can start simple conversations in situations of everyday life and that you become an advanced!

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Brenda is a very patient teacher - she immediately put me at ease and we slowly worked through each exercise. She kept us on pace without feeling like a drill sergeant. She is incredibly friendly and you feel comfortable with her very quickly. She was also very flexible and communicative in finding a lesson time and answering all of my questions and concerns. Highly recommend!
Brenda B. Brenda B.

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Linda is a nice, flexible and professional teacher. She is always well prepared for the lesson and she can explain Dutch grammar very well. I enjoy learning with Linda because I can also choose the topics that interest me the most.
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Linda R. Linda R. BE

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5
5/5

Hi! I live in Germany since 2014, I live in the Frankfurt am Main area. I teach German to refugees since the beginning of 2017 and I have been teaching Dutch at several language schools, at peoples homes and in-house at several companies. I passed the C1-level Test for German at the Goethe Institut. 

It is my goal to adapt my lessons as much as possible to the wishes of the student. This means that, besides offering regular learning methods, I am open to initiatives like talking about subjects that are of interest to the student, for example reading and discussing articles, watching and discussing educational videos and/or current happenings in the world. 

I look forward to meeting you online!

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Marlijn is a great teacher: she is very patient and kind so I feel very relaxed during the lesson and not too afraid if I make mistakes. She makes learning Dutch a fun and relaxed experience. She is also available to change the day or time of the lessons if I ask to. I am very happy I found her.
Marlijn S. Marlijn S. NL

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5

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5/5
5/5

Hello there,

I'm Eveline Debouvere, polyglot and a world citizen! It would be my pleasure to help you improving your Dutch or German language skills. Tell me what you want to learn and I'll adapt my course to your needs. As I am working as a sales person for the Scandinavian and German markets in a medium-sized company, I am able to improve my own language skills every day. Knowing the importance of learning languages in a good, but fun way makes it easier to teach myself. On top of that I've already taught different languages to different students. All of them were amazed by the way the course is adapted to their needs during the teaching process.

Do you want to find this out yourself? Please contact me!

Until then I wish you all the best!

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4.85/5
It was great. We went through the first introduction round, then through important base of language - alphabet and "double sounds" to improve my pronunciation. Then we read article - to improve my pronunciation and understanding. It was a great lesson and I am looking forward to the next one.
Eveline D. Eveline D. BE

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5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

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5/5

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5/5
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