Lesson 9 Beginner

Lesson 9 – Invullen in blokletters


This lesson teaches you how to give detailed information about yourself (especially when using forms). You’ll also learn about reflexive verbs and you’ll get a complete overview of all kinds of pronouns.


Civil servants (ambtenaren) in the Netherlands kan sometimes be very helpful to foreigners, trying to speak clearly and use as little difficult expressions as they can. But mostly they’re like most of their colleagues in other countries: having little patience (while asking a lot …), speaking very quick, using a lot of expressience that are even hard to understand by Dutch people.

It helps though, if you know what they could be saying or asking. Here’s a standard kind of conversation to give you a few words and phrases that might be of some help:

Text 9.1 – Wat is uw naam?
  • Wat is uw naam?
  • Smits, Karel Anton Smits.
  • Kunt u uw achternaam voor me spellen?
  • Ja, s-m-i-t-s
  • Dank u wel. Wat is uw adres?
  • Vermeerstraat 12, Amsterdam.
  • En de postcode?
  • 1016 XS
  • Wanneer bent u geboren?
  • Ik ben geboren op 20 augustus 1956
  • Wat is uw beroep?
  • Ik ben autoverkoper.
  • Bent u getrouwd?
  • Ja
  • Heeft u kinderen?
  • Ja, ik heb een zoon en een dochter.
  • Wat is uw nationaliteit?
  • Ik ben Nederlander.


For spelling your name, it’s important that you studied the alphabet (see pronunciation page in the grammar section), for errors are easily made (especially on a, e and i).

Of course you don’t have that problem when filling in (/out) a form. Futher down you’ll find an example of a form with the data of the above mentioned Mr. Smits. But first some notes on these data:

  • Note that in Dutch you write or mention day-month-year when a date is asked.
  • Try to remember Ik ben geboren… as well as you can: a lot of English speakers make embarressing mistakes on this phrase (“Ik was geboord“…).
  • Addresses in the Netherlands are written as follows:
    Street Number
    Zipcode City
  • Couples that are samenwonend (‘living together’) have practicly the same rights and duties as those who are married. And for gay or lesbian couples it’s the same story (they can also get married in the Netherlands).
  • A girorekening (Postbank account) has less numbers than a bankrekening (regular bank account) but furthermore nowadays it’s the same type of account with the same possibillities.


Text 9.2 – Formulier


Achternaam    : 
Voornamen     : 
Adres         : 
Postcode      : 
Woonplaats    : 
Telefoon      : 
Fax           : 
Beroep        : 
Werkgever     : 
Nationaliteit : 
Geboortedatum : 
Geboorteland  : 
Geslacht         :
Burgerlijke staat:

Giro-/bankrekening : Kenteken van de auto: Ik wil meaanmelden als nieuw lid. Ik wilinformatie toegestuurd krijgen.
Opmerkingen : Plaats : Datum : Handtekening:



In the form above, there is one sentence that contains a reflexive verb: Ik wil me wel/niet aanmelden als nieuw lid.. The infinitive here, is zich aanmelden (to check in, to register): if the dictionary states that zich(‘oneself’) belongs to a verb it means it’s a reflexive one. This is a kind of verb that requires the subject to be an object too. In English, you can do this with some verbs (I’m washing myself, I find myself …, I’m exerting myself), but in Dutch you have to do this to quite a lot of verbs.

A few examples:

  • zich herinneren – to remember
  • zich schamen – to be ashamed
  • zich vergissen – to be mistaken
  • zich verheugen op – to look forward to
  • zich voorstellen – to imagine

Some other verbs can be reflexive: they require an object and this could be the subject. Examples:

  • (zich) bewegen – to move
  • (zich) scheren – to shave
  • (zich) wassen – to wash


Here are some phrases with these verbs. Note that the refexive pronoun is always placed after the first verb:

Text 9.3 – Reflexive verbs (examples)
Ik herinner me zijn naam niet.
Zij schaamde zich diep voor haar fout.
Hij heeft zich helemaal vergist.
Zij zal zich verheugen op haar huwelijk.
Kun je je voorstellen hoe zwaar zijn leven is?
Hij kan zich niet meer bewegen.
Zij heeft zich vandaag nog niet geschoren.
Hij wast zich elke ochtend.


The reflexive pronouns you need for the reflexive verbs are listed below. And while we’re at it, we might as well take a look at object and possessive pronouns as well:

Text 9.4 – Pronouns
subject object possessive reflexive
ik mij mijn me
jij jou jouw je
u u uw zich
hij hem zijn zich
zij haar haar zich
het het zijn zich
wij ons ons/onze ons
jullie jullie jullie je
zij ze – hun hun zich

A few notes on this:

  • Many pronouns have two versions: one for regular use and one to use if the pronoun has a specific emphasis (the ‘proper’ version):
    • mij and mijn are usually me and m’n
    • jij, jou and jouw are usually je
      (Herinner jij je jouw verjaardag? – Herinner je je je verjaardag?)
    • zijn is usually z’n
    • het is usually ‘t
    • zij is usually ze
    • wij is usually we
  • The same goes for ze and hun (object, third person plural): normally you would use ze, but if you need a special emphasis, you use hun .
  • Officially, for object third person plural (‘them’) there are two forms:hun and hen. The grammar rules state that
    • hen should be used for direct object and after prepositions and
    • hun should be used for indirect object.

    This is a purely artificial difference though: most Dutch people don’t get it right – in colloquial Dutch hun is mostly used for all object forms.

  • In spoken Dutch, you even hear hun being used as a subject form for third person plural. This is still considered absolutely wrong, though.
  • The possessive ons is used for het-nouns (ons huis) and onze for de-nouns (onze tuin).


achter after, behind
het adres the address
de ambtenaar the civil servant
de autoverkoper the car salesman
het beroep the profession
(zich) bewegen to move
burgerlijk civil
de datum the date
de dochter the daughter
elk each
de fax the fax
de fout the mistake
de geboorte the birth
geboren (ik ben…) born (I was)
het geslacht the gender
de handtekening the signature
zich herinneren to remember
het huwelijk the marriage
het kenteken the (car) registration number
het land the land, the country
het leven life
meer more, anymore
de nationaliteit the nationality
de Nederlander the Dutchman
de plaats the place, also: the town
de postcode the zipcode, postal code
de rekening the account
samenwonen to live together
zich schamen to be ashamed
(zich) scheren to shave
spellen to spell
de staat the state
de telefoon the telephone
trouwen to get married
vandaag today
zich vergissen to be mistaken
de verjaardag the birthday
zich verheugen op to look forward to
zich voorstellen to imagine
de werkgever the employer
de woonplaats place of residence
de zoon the son
zwaar heavy, tough


More …

Imagine some people around you – you can use some peaces of paper on which you can write their names: let there be one male, one female, one couple, one person you can be informal to and one you can be formal to. Now give everyone, including yourself, a book and then tell which book belong to who: dit is mijn boek, dat is jouw boek, dat is uw boek, dat is zijn boek ….Now hand over a pen to every person and say what you do while you’re doing it: ik geef de pen aan jou, aan hem, aan haar…

Try to fill in the form above with your own data.

Try to complete the test about this lesson!



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