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Dutch expressions for describing personality traits

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Learning a new language is not just about mastering grammar and vocabulary; it’s also about understanding the culture and the people. One way to connect with the Dutch culture is by familiarizing yourself with common Dutch expressions for describing personality traits. Whether you’re conversing with a native Dutch speaker or just want to enrich your language skills, these expressions will be a valuable addition to your linguistic arsenal.

Literally translating to “own-wise,” “eigenwijs” is a Dutch adjective used to describe someone who is stubborn or headstrong, often believing they are always right. It can have a slightly negative connotation but is also used affectionately.
Hij is zo eigenwijs; hij luistert nooit naar advies van anderen.

“Gezellig” is a quintessential Dutch word that embodies the essence of coziness, conviviality, and a sense of belonging. It can describe places and situations, as well as people who are sociable and fun to be with. There’s no direct translation in English, which makes it uniquely Dutch.
Mijn tante is de meest gezellige persoon die ik ken, iedereen houdt van bij haar zijn.

When someone is described as “betrouwbaar,” it means they are reliable or trustworthy. This adjective is a positive personality trait, indicating that a person can be depended upon.
Je kunt altijd op haar rekenen, ze is echt betrouwbaar.

Patience is a virtue, and “geduldig” signifies just that — being patient. It’s an attribute of someone who stays calm and doesn’t quickly become annoyed or anxious.
Ondanks de vertraging bleef hij geduldig wachten.

This word is used for someone who is cheerful or joyful. A “vrolijk” person typically has a bright disposition and is likely to put a smile on your face.
Ze is altijd zo vrolijk, zelfs op maandagochtend!

Someone who is “behulpzaam” is helpful, often willing to assist others with kindness and without expecting anything in return.
Mijn buurman is erg behulpzaam, hij hielp me met het repareren van mijn fiets.

“Zelfverzekerd” translates to self-assured or confident. A self-confident person believes in their own abilities and carries themselves with assurance.
Op haar eerste werkdag leek ze al erg zelfverzekerd.

Being curious about the world around you is expressed with the word “nieuwsgierig.” It denotes a strong desire to learn or know more about something or someone.
Kinderen zijn vaak heel nieuwsgierig naar hoe dingen werken.

“Vastberaden” means determined, indicating a person who doesn’t give up easily and is resolute in achieving their goals.
Ze is zo vastberaden om de marathon uit te lopen, ze traint elke dag.

A person who is endearingly humorous or funny is known as “grappig.” This trait is about being able to make others laugh or simply having a good sense of humor.
Mijn broer kan zo grappig uit de hoek komen, hij heeft echt gevoel voor humor.

By understanding these Dutch expressions for describing personality traits, you can gain deeper insight into the Dutch character and also enrich your conversations in the Dutch language. Learning such idiomatic expressions can be particularly helpful when you meet new people, attend social gatherings, or even in a professional context to describe the qualities of colleagues and work culture. As you continue your journey of mastering Dutch, remember to sprinkle your dialogues with these colorful terms to bring them to life!

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