Nouns & Articles

In the Dutch language, the noun has a wide variety of forms in which they can be used when they change from singular to plural.

Gender also plays an important role. There are masculine, feminine and neuter nouns in Dutch. The nouns in their genders go along with the right definite or indefinite articles. Nouns also have a wide variety of diminutive forms, the kinds of changes mainly depend on the geographical region.

Noun genders & articles

Nouns can be masculine, feminine or neuter.

If the noun is masculine or feminine, it should mainly be accompanied with de. If the noun is neuter, then it goes with het.

Nouns can be recognized as masculine or feminine if they end in -ing, -ie, -ij, -heid, -teit, -a, -nis, -st, -schap, -de, -te, -e and more; so they go together with the definite article de (e.g. de vreemdeling).

Nouns ending in -isme, -ment, -sel and -um are considered neuter and go with the definite article het (e.g. het monument).

Nouns of two syllables beginning with be-, ge-, ver- and ont-, as well as diminutive nouns always go with het.

Plural nouns always go with de, whether the noun is masculine or feminine (e.g. de vreemdelingen; de monumenten). There only exists one indefinite article: een.

Definite singular De slager De opleiding Het monument
Definite plural De slagers De opleidingen De monumenten
Indefinite article Een slager Een opleiding Een monument

Singular & plural nouns

Most nouns when they are changed to plural end in -en or -s. Most nouns with one syllable end in -en:

Raam → Ramen

Nouns ending in -el and -er most times end in -s in plural:

Bever → Bevers
Zadel → Zadels

Nouns with two or more syllables and ending in a “schwa” sound in plural usually end in -s:

Dame → Dames

Many nouns ending in long vowels as well as plural acronyms end in -‘s:

Baby → Baby’s

There exist specific neuter nouns that always end in -eren in plural:

Kind → Kinderen

Many short vowels in singular nouns change to a long vowel when they become plural:

Glas (short vowel) → Glazen (long vowel)
Gebed (short) → Gebeden (long)
Lot (short) → Loten (long)

In some cases, the vowel is replaced:

Schip → Schepen

Many times if the nouns end in consonants such as k and d, they are doubled in plural:

Bed → Bedden
Hok → Hokken

When the last letter of the singular noun is s, this changes to z in plural. F in singular changes to v:

Baas → Bazen
Brief → Brieven


The use of diminutives in Dutch is very common. Most diminutives consist of adding -tje (in the south of the Netherlands, in Belgium -ke is added):

Deur → Deurtje
Haven → Haventje

When nouns end in -b, -c, -d, -t, -f, -g, -ch, -k, -p, -v, -x, -z or -s, the t should be skipped and only -je is added:

Hok → Hokje

Each noun with one syllable that contains a short vowel or nouns with more syllables but ending in a short stressed vowel should go with -etje:

Kring → Kringetje

Nouns ending in -ng go with -nkje and those ending in m with -pje:

Ketting → Kettinkje
Raam → Raampje


Augmentatives are used to express a greater intensity and are very common in the Dutch language. Their use is quite similar to that in English and in some cases they even have similar prefixes.

In many cases, prefixes may be used such as over- (e.g. overgewicht), also with groot- (e.g. groothandel), with super- (e.g.supertheater), with mega- (e.g. megavoorstelling). In Dutch, adjectives also use augmentatives, here prefixes are used as well, such as bloed- (e.g. bloedmooi), also steen- (e.g. steenrijk), and kei- (e.g. keihard).