Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Afkortingen (Abbreviations)! Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

Every language has many afkortingen (abbreviations) to make… well, everything shorter! But what means what? Below some valuable abbreviations of Dutch words and expressions!

An afkorting?! Shortcuts and abbreviations – making life easier and faster! (Image by garycycles at Flickr.com)

Alstublieft – a.u.b. (also s.v.p.) – please

Afbeelding – afb. – picture

Aanstaande – a.s. – upcoming

Bijvoorbeeld bijv. – for example

Circa – ca. – approximately

Door middel van – d.m.v. – by means of

Dat wil zeggen – d.w.z. – … which means

En andere – e.a. – and others

en dergelijke – e.d. – and the like

enzovoort – enz. – and so on

in opdracht van – i.o.v. – commissioned by

in plaats van – i.p.v. – in lieu of

in verband met – i.v.m. – in connection with

jongstleden – jl. – recently

m.a.w. – met andere woorden – in other words

m.b.t. – met betrekking tot – with regard to

m.i.v. – met ingang van – as of (e.g. a certain date)

m.n. – met name – in particular

m.u.v. – met uitzondering van – excluding

n.a.v. – naar aanleiding van – following (e.g. an event)

nr. – nummer – number

o.a. – onder andere(n) – including/among other(s)

p.p. – per persoon – per person

t.a.v. – ter attentie van – to the attention of

t.b.v. – ten behoeve van – for the benefit of

t.n.v. – ter name van – in the name of

t.o.v. – ten opzichte van – in comparison to

vlg. – volgende – next

vnl. – voornamelijk – predominantly

z.o.z. – zie ommezijde – see overleaf

z.s.m. – zo spoedig mogelijk – ASAP (as soon as possible).

Now, these official afkortingen are all nice and great, and you will see them in many places. But what about the more colloquial ones, the ones we use to tell how much we love our partner, the ones we use to just quickly write a message? In Dutch, many of these use English afkortingen, that everyone understands.

SMS – text. Well, yes. SMS’en means texting. Although, nowadays, people are more into appen, which refers to sending a message via services like Whatsapp. 

hvj – hou van jou! – I love you!

w8 wacht – wait/hold on

ff even – for a moment. This is used a lot, as for example w8 ff, which means: hold on for a sec!

brb – be right back – be right back, or, as you would say in Dutch, ik ben er zo weer.

biw – ben ik weer – I am back again. This would be the message when you come back from a brb.

btw – by the way – by the way. Yes. Dutch use it too!

gtg – got to go – got to go. Yep, again.

There are endless of such English afkortingen that are also used in Dutch. Very useful!


What kind of abbreviations do you use in your language?



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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. droog:

    I see ‘omw’ a lot which means the same thing as in english only different: op mijn weg = on my way. (I think)

    • Sten:

      @droog Nice that you bring that up! The Dutch actually mix a lot of Dutch and English. “op mijn weg” is not really something people say, so if in a Dutch conversation, somebody writes “omw”, it would probably just refer to “on my way”.

      If you wanted to say that, you’d say “ben op weg” (I’m on the way) or “kom eraan” (coming).