Snapte? Houdoe! – Learn how to speak like the people in Eindhoven

After the positive reactions to my blogs about different accents I decided to continue this blog series. In my earlier blog I talked about the dialects of Rotterdam and Utrecht.

Today I want to tell you about Eindhoven and its language.


Eindhoven is not the typical Dutch city tourists have in mind when thinking about the Netherlands. Like Rotterdam which doesn’t feel like an old town, Eindhoven is built on technology, design and innovation.

The growth of the city was driven by Philips. The light bulb company was founded here in 1891. During the early 20th century, industry grew exponentially in the city, and with it, the population and importance of Eindhoven. Philips made Eindhoven into a major technology hub, attracting talent from all over the world. With the TU (Technische Universiteit) and companies like ASML, Eindhoven is known as the ‘brainport’ of the Netherlands with a lot of expats living there.

Learn Eindhovens: What is the typical Eindhoven dialect / accent

Eindhoven is a city in the south of the Netherlands in the province North Brabant. North Brabant is a province that is known for its own strong identity. Not least because of its history. Brabant was mainly Catholic in the period when Holland (the powerful and rich area) was Protestant. People from Brabant (as they call it) are proud to say they are Brabanders.

For the people who move there, to Breda, Tilburg or Eindhoven, for example, there is good news!

Unlike Gronings or Limburgs, Brabants is pretty close to Standard Dutch.

In general, you can say there are certain common features within the whole province. For example, pronouncing the ‘g’ more softly. Or specific vocabulary such as ‘houdoe’ (bye).

An important characteristic of the language of Eindhoven is the personal pronoun gij, which in Dutch is the equivalent of thou in English. Compared to jij/je/u, ‘gij’ is a form that is now only used in spoken language.

Like jij and je the form of the subject is gij (emphasized) or ge (unemphasized).

  • Gij wacht
  • Gij hebt

Besides this, you will hear a lot of [wa] and [da]. These are variations of  wat “what” and dat “that”.

  • Wa zegde gij? (Wat zeg jij?) –  What are you saying?
  • Da slaat nergens op. (Dat slaat nergens op.) – That makes no sense.

 Also typical is the formation of diminutives by means of the suffix [-(s)ke].

  • Stuk – stukske (piece – small piece)
  • Fiets – Fietske (bike – small bike)

Adding extra letters is another feature that is common when you hear a real Eindhovenaar.

  • Markt – Marrukt (market)
  • Melk – Mellek (milk)

And when you want to emphasize ‘very’ in Standard Dutch you would say ‘heel’ or ‘heel erg’, in Eindhoven you can say ‘kei’.

  • Die film is kei spannend. (That movie is really exciting.)
  • Deze vrouw is kei grappig. (This woman is really funny.)

 Typical quotes from Eindhoven          

  • Houdoe – Bye
  • Snapte? (Snap je het?) – Do you understand it?
  • Da witte gij toch nie. (Dat weet je niet.) – You don’t know that.
  • Da is. (Dat klopt.) – That’s correct.
  • Ge wit ut mar noit. (Je weet het maar nooit.) – You never know
  • Das verrekkes schon. (Dat is heel mooi.) – That is beautiful

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