Language tip: giving your opinion in Dutch

As you may know, the Dutch love to share their opinions. At home, at work, on the train, in the supermarket. They are rather direct in this way.

The Dutch don’t beat around the bush. They say what they think.

And if you live in the Netherlands or you’re just learning Dutch, you will want to blend in.

In this blog I will give you the most important words and sentences you can use to give your opinion.

Giving your opinion: Level A1 / A2      

Let’s start with the easiest ways of giving your opinion in Dutch.

  • … denk ik.      —     I think 
  • … vind ik.     —      I find
  • … geloof ik.     —      I believe
  • .. lijkt mij.     —      …seems to me

What you do with these words is to just add them to the end of a sentence or statement.

For example:

  • Dat is het beste idee, vind ik.      —     That’s the best idea, I think.

You can also put it in halfway through the sentence

  • Dat is, vind ik, het beste idee. That is, I think, the best idea.

Please note. In my experience a lot of students who are learning Dutch, find this a helpful sentence. But they say ‘ik denk’. This is not correct. You should switch the verb and the object and say ‘denk ik’.

Another example of a short sentence you can use to give your opinion is:

  • Volgens mij, …      —     In my opinion… /According to me…

Here, you usually start the sentence with this.                   

  • Volgens mij is dat een goed idee.      —     In my opinion, that’s a good idea

You should switch the verb and the object here, too.

Giving your opinion: A2 / B1

A bit more difficult but some of the most used sentences are these:

  • Ik denk dat…      —     I think that…
  • Ik vind dat….      —     I find that…

Why are they so difficult?

In short, the sentence structure is more complex. Because there is a sub clause in the second part of the sentence the verb goes to the end.

  • Ik denk dat jouw idee heel goed is.      —     I think your idea is very good.
  • Ik vind dat het weer in Nederland verschrikkelijk is.      —     I think the weather is terrible in the Netherlands.

This is a notoriously difficult part of Dutch grammar. It is one of the things students who are learning Dutch struggle with.

Other related sentences are:

  • Het lijkt mij dat ….      —     It looks/seems to me that …
  • Mijn visie is dat …      —     My view/vision is that …
  • Ik veronderstel dat …      —     I assume/suppose that …

Giving your opinion: B1 level

If you’re confident enough that you have mastered the grammar of the previous sentences. Here are some examples of sentences that are a bit more difficult.

  • Ik weet het zeker dat …      —     I’m sure that …
  • Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat …      —     I’m convinced that…
  • Het lijkt mij vanzelfsprekend dat …      —     It seems obvious to me that …

To agree or to disagree

In a conversation, giving your opinion goes along with agreeing and disagreeing. You will see that these sentences are really relevant in your everyday Dutch conversations.

To agree: A1 / A2 level

  • Dat vind ik ook.      —     I think so, too.
  • Prescies.      —     Exactly.
  • Dat denk ik ook.     —      I think so, too.

To disagree: A1 / A2 level

On the other hand, disagreeing goes like this:

  • Dat denk ik niet.      —     I don’t think so.
  • Dat vind ik niet.     —      I don’t think so.

To agree: B1 level

It is more difficult when you add the ‘er’ into the mix. Here are some expressions you can learn for when you agree with someone.

  • Ik ben het met je eens.     —     I agree with you.
  • Ik ben het helemaal met je eens.     —      I totally agree with you.
  • Ik ben het ermee eens.     —      I agree.

To disagreeing: B1 level.

  • Ik ben het niet met je eens.     —     I don’t agree with you.
  • Ik ben het er niet mee eens.      —     I disagree.
  • Ik ben het er helemaal niet mee eens.     —     I totally disagree.

No opinion: A2

Of course, you could have no opinion. Or you feel that all options are okay. Here you can use

  • Het maakt me niets uit.     —      I don’t mind.
  • Ik vind alles goed.      —     Whatever is fine by me.

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School