Living in The Netherlands

Learning Dutch: De familie (The family)

Ouders (Parents)

The first words Dutch children learn are usually papa (daddy) and mama (mummy). Children usually address their parents with papa and mama, or the shorter forms pa or pap for their father, and mam, ma or moe for their mother. When we are talking about our parents, we usually talk about our vader (father) and moeder (mother). The Dutch word for parents is ouders (singular: ouder).

Kinderen (Children)

The Dutch word for child is kind (plural kinderen). Son is zoon (plural zonen), daughter is dochter (plural dochters).

Broers en zussen (Siblings)

There is no Dutch words for siblings. Brother is broer (plural broers), sister is zus (plural zussen). You may occasionally encounter the somewhat archaic forms broeder and zuster.

Grootouders (Grandparents)

Grootvader (grandfather) and grootmoeder (grandmother). Most people address their grandparents with opa (granddad) and oma (granny). And while we don't usually call our parents papa and mama when talking about them with strangers (we talk about our vader and moeder), we do talk about our opa or oma.

Kleinkinderen (Grandchildren)

Kleinzoon (grandson) and kleindochter (granddaughter).

Ooms en tantes (Uncles and aunts)

Oom (plural ooms) and tante (plural tantes). Children sometimes use oom or tante to address their parents' friends, though nowadays parents' friends are usually addressed by their first names. Great-uncle and great-aunt is oudoom and oudtante. We address an oudoom or oudtante with oom or tante

Neven en nichten (Nephews and nieces, cousins)

Neef (plural neven) is the Dutch word for both a nephew and a male first cousin. Nicht is a niece or a female first cousin. Achterneef can be a grand-nephew, a second cousin, or a first cousin once removed. The female form is achternicht.

De schoonfamilie (The in-laws)

The prefix schoon means in-law: schoonouders (parents in law), schoonvader (father in law), schoonmoeder (mother in law), schoonzus (sister in law), schoonzoon (son in law), schoondochter (daughter in law). An exception is brother in law: zwager (plural zwagers).

Familieleden (Family members)

ouder vader moeder
papa, pap, pa mama, mam, ma, moe
kind zoon dochter
broer zus
grootouder grootvader grootmoeder
opa oma
kleinkind kleinzoon kleindochter
oom tante
neef nicht
schoonouder schoonvader schoonmoeder
schoonzoon schoondochter
zwager schoonzus


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