Birthday celebrations in Netherlands. Photo: Slate
Birthday celebrations in the Netherlands. Photo: Slate

The Dutch have a couple of phrases that are functionally equivalent to our "Happy Birthday," plus other unique festive customs.


The most common Dutch birthday greeting, Gefeliciteerd, is actually the word for "congratulations." This phrase is directed not only to you, the birthday person, but it is also wished upon your party host and his or her family and close friends. It's not unusual for a Dutch birthday party to start off with an elaborate round of felicitations to all in attendance. The greeting is usually accompanied by three alternating kisses on each cheek, according to Trip Savy.

Some variations on the phrase include Van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! This translates as "Heartfelt congratulations on your birthday!"

A less common phrase that can be used is Gelukkige verjaardag! This literally means "happy birthday."

Read more: Say 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY' with Top 20 Popular Languages in the World

Common Phrases and Words

Photo: XPat
Photo: XPat

Keeping brushed up on festive Dutch words and phrases, as well as the simple birthday song lyrics, can help make life in the ​Netherlands fun, and is a great way to experience the culture with friends. You may also want to learn how to say "please" and "thank you".

English Phrase/Word

Dutch Translation

Wishing you an enjoyable day

Een prettige dag gewenst

Many thanks for the good wishes

Hartelijk dank voor de goedewensen

When is your birthday?

Wanneer ben jejarig?


(de) verjaardag

Children's party


Festive dinner

(het) etentje


(de) kadootjes


(de) taart


(de) gebakjes

What's your age now? (tread carefully)

Hoe oud ben je geworden?

Did you get many presents?

Heb je veel cadeautjes gekregen?

Do you have a wish list?

Heb je een verlanglijstje?

What (presents) would you like to have for your birthday?

Wat wiljevoorjeverjaardaghebben

Birthday Wishes in Dutch




Happy birthday!

Ik hoop dat je een fijne verjaardag hebt!

I hope you have a nice birthday!

Nog vele jaren in goede gezondheid.

Many happy returns in good health.

Gelukkige verjaardag.

Happy birthday.

Fijne verjaardag.

Happy birthday.

Van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!

Congratulations on your birthday!

Fijne dag!

Have a nice day!

Hard feesten!

Party Hard!

Example Sentences

Fijne verjaardag, papa - Happy birthday, Dad.

Fijne verjaardag, opa - Happy birthday, Grandpa.

Fijne verjaardag, mama - Happy birthday, Mom.

Fijne verjaardag, oma - Happy birthday, Grandma.

Happy Birthday Messages & Wishes in Dutch

Ik wens u gezond en succesvol leven vooruit. Gelukkige Verjaardag Buddy !! Geniet van uw speciale dag !!

(I wish you a healthy and successful life ahead. Happy Birthday, Buddy!! Enjoy your special day!!)

Rozen zijn rood, viooltjes zijn blauw, Alles wat ik wil zeggen is Gelukkige Verjaardag aan u!

Ik wens u heel veel liefde en geluk op je verjaardag. Gelukkige Verjaardag partner!

(I wish you lots of love and happiness on your birthday. Happy Birthday mate!)

Ik hoop dat je van je nieuwe tijd. Gefeliciteerd mijn vriend!!

(I Hope you love your new time. Happy Birthday my friend!!)

Birthday Cards in Dutch

Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest
Photo: Pinterest

The importance of birthdays in Dutch culture

The first thing you need to know about birthdays in the Netherlands is that they’re very important. Don’t try to let your birthday glide past with no one noticing, don’t try to spend it watching a film and eating pizza by yourself at home. First of all, it’s unlikely that you’ll get away with such a plan. Your Dutch friends and colleagues won’t forget that it’s your birthday, because they’re be reminded by their birthday calendars, which we’ll get to shortly, Expat Focus cites.

The Dutch are big on birthdays, and if they know it’s your birthday, they will likely either force you to celebrate it or set up some celebrations themselves. Secondly, if you do manage to make your solitary plan a success, people will eventually find out. Birthdays are highly social affairs in the Netherlands, and spending your birthday alone may be seen as rude or anti-social.

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