Dutch Language Blog

Verbs Used When Giving Directions Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Dutch Grammar, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

How are you getting on with the vocabulary I introduced in my last post?  Hopefully you have been trying out some of the techniques that I suggested (and some of your own) and are making some steady progress.  Stick with it, I promise it will be worth it in the end.  Today we are going to stick with the theme of asking for directions by looking at some of the useful verbs to know for the task.

Verbs Used When Giving Directions

Often people use the verbs moeten (must/have to) or gaan(go) when giving directions in Dutch.

U moet hier rechts. (You have to go right here.)

U gaat hier linksaf. (Go and turn left here.)


Let’s look at moeten in a little more detail.  Moeten is a modal verb, a verb that is used in combination with other verbs.  When the verb being used in combination with moeten is either hebben or gaan, this verb (hebben/gaan) is usually left out.  You can see it in the first example above.  In the sentence, the verb gaan has been left out.  This is something that you will find quite often when asking for or giving directions.

Verbs Related to Motion Taken

You can also use the verbs related to the motion being taken.  If someone is driving, you can use rijden (drive) or lopen (walk) for people who are walking.

U loopt voorbij de kerk. (You walk past the church.)

U rijdt tot de stoplichten. (Drive up to the traffic lights.)

Take, Turn Into and Cross Over

You can also use nemen (take or turn into) and oversteken (cross a street).

U neemt de eerste straat rechts. (Take the first street on the right.)

Bij het zebrapad steekt u over. (Cross the street at the zebra crossing.)

Some Practice for You

Translate these sentences from English to Dutch.

1.  Do you know the way to the bank?

2.  Walk up to the traffic lights.

3.  Turn right here.

Translate these sentences from Dutch to English.

1.  Dan loopt u rechtdoor.

2.  U gaat hier rechtsaf en u loopt tot de stoplichten.

3.  Je moet voorbij die kerk en dan is het ergens aan de linkerkant.

Good luck with the exercises, keep up the practice with the vocabulary and I’ll see you next week when we will look at some key phrases related to asking directions and more than you ever wanted to know about taxis in the Netherlands.



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  1. Renee Richardson:

    Dank u wel Heather! Deze woordenlijst is nuttig.