Dutch Language Blog

Controversial Insults in Dutch Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Dutch Vocabulary

Some time back, I wrote about insulting words in Dutch. The first and second version of the post was somewhat PG rated, so I decided to make a more insulting follow up. The following are some controversial insults in Dutch which are quite offensive in more ways than one.

Photo taken by Mario Mancuso found Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0


The term tokkie actually comes from a family named Tokkie who became famous after a documentary called Familietrots depicted them in a very negative way. According to the documentary, the family was very asocial and there were reports of neighbors upset at having to live near them.

Eventually, this family´s last name caught on as a word used to refer to someone who is trashy. The word has caught on so much that it was even included in the Van Dale dictionary and our current Prime Minister has been known to use the word to describe someone.

Shortly after this incident Premier Rutte received a letter from someone with that last name (although not necessarily related to the family in the documentary) pointing out the cruelty of using someone’s name to insult. Rutte wrote back promising to stop using the pejorative term saying the following:

“Laat ik vooropstellen dat ik uw gevoelens heel goed begrijp. Het is gewoon niet leuk of prettig als je achternaam in een negatieve context wordt gebruikt. Het is absoluut niet mijn bedoeling u verdriet te doen. Ik zal uw achternaam niet meer gebruiken als typering voor mensen die in mijn ogen geen positieve bijdrage aan de samenleving leveren.”

You can read more about this in this NOS article.

Kanker, Tering, Tyfus

So apparently its a thing to insult someone by calling them diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis or typhoid. It is quite common to insult people by either calling them cancer or wishing they had it. You can also add this word to other insults to aggravate them like kankerhoer. Why people use these words as insults is something I do not understand BUT it is not uncommon to hear.

Krijg de klere

This is another sickness insult wishing you to get kolere or cholera. There is a famous song from the famous Dutch movie Ciske de Rat called Ik voel me zo verdomd alleen or I feel so damn lonely. You hear the song and follow the lyrics in the following video:

Like I mentioned before, the use of these words can cause quite the controversy with some people. If you choose to use them, do so at your own risk!

Are there other controversial insults you think should be added to this list

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Miss Footloose:

    Most definitely, don’t ever use these insults. Normal polite Dutch people do not ever use these.

  2. Joseph T. Madawela:

    here in the US we have a leader who insults and gets away doing atrocious things how refreshing to hear a leader apologize for saying insulting things. The Netherlands leads in Class and first rate behavior!