How to Say Happy Birthday in Dutch

How to Say Happy Birthday in Dutch Audio

When it comes to celebrating special occasions, one of the most cherished moments is wishing someone a happy birthday. It’s a universal gesture of love and goodwill, and it’s no different in the Netherlands. In this article, we will explore the various ways to say “Happy Birthday” in Dutch, delve into the Dutch birthday traditions, and provide you with some unique insights on making your birthday greetings extra special. So, let’s get started on this Dutch birthday journey!

The Basics: “Gefeliciteerd”

In Dutch, the most common and straightforward way to wish someone a happy birthday is by saying “Gefeliciteerd.” It’s a simple and heartfelt greeting that can be used in both formal and informal settings.

A Formal Twist: “Van Harte Gefeliciteerd”

If you want to add a touch of formality to your birthday wishes, you can say “Van Harte Gefeliciteerd.” This expression conveys a heartfelt congratulations and is suitable for more official occasions.

Adding Warmth: “Proficiat” and “Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd”

To make your birthday wishes even warmer, you can use “Proficiat” or “Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd.” These phrases convey a deep sense of congratulations and warm regards, making the recipient feel truly cherished.

Regional Variations

It’s worth noting that Dutch is spoken in different regions, and each region may have its unique way of celebrating birthdays. In Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, you might hear “Gelukkige Verjaardag” more frequently.

Birthday Traditions in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, birthdays are a big deal. It’s common for people to celebrate with family and friends, and Dutch birthday parties are known for their gezelligheid, or coziness. Here are some interesting traditions you might encounter:

Circle of Congratulations

One of the unique Dutch traditions is the “circle of congratulations.” When attending a Dutch birthday party, you’ll notice that guests often form a circle to congratulate the birthday person individually. It’s a way to show personal appreciation and warmth.

Three Kisses

In the Netherlands, it’s customary to greet the birthday person with three kisses on the cheek. This friendly gesture is a symbol of goodwill and affection.

Birthday Calendar

Many Dutch households have a “birthday calendar” in their restroom. This calendar contains the birthdates of friends and family, ensuring that no one’s special day is forgotten.

Making Your Birthday Wishes Memorable

To make your birthday greetings stand out, consider these creative ideas:

Personalized Messages

Include a personal message in your birthday wishes, recalling fond memories or expressing your appreciation for the person’s friendship.

Dutch Birthday Song

Learn the Dutch birthday song, “Lang Zal Ze Leven” (Long Shall She Live), and surprise the birthday person with a melodious rendition.

Handwritten Cards

In a digital age, a handwritten birthday card can be a delightful surprise. It adds a personal touch that’s hard to beat.


Now that you know how to say “Happy Birthday” in Dutch and have a glimpse of Dutch birthday traditions, you can confidently wish your Dutch-speaking friends and loved ones a memorable birthday. Whether you choose the simple “Gefeliciteerd” or opt for a more heartfelt “Van Harte Gefeliciteerd,” your warm wishes will surely be appreciated.


1. Are Dutch birthday celebrations similar to those in other countries?

Dutch birthday celebrations share some common elements with celebrations in other countries, such as cake, gifts, and well-wishing. However, they also have unique traditions like the “circle of congratulations” and the use of birthday calendars.

2. Can I use English to wish someone a happy birthday in the Netherlands?

Yes, many Dutch people understand and appreciate birthday wishes in English. However, making an effort to use Dutch phrases like “Gefeliciteerd” can show thoughtfulness and cultural respect.

3. What are some typical Dutch birthday gifts?

Common Dutch birthday gifts include flowers, chocolates, and personal items that reflect the recipient’s interests. Gift cards to favorite stores or restaurants are also popular.

4. Are there any specific birthday customs in Dutch-speaking Belgium (Flanders)?

In Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, similar Dutch birthday traditions are followed, including saying “Gelukkige Verjaardag” to wish someone a happy birthday.

5. What is the significance of the “circle of congratulations” in Dutch birthday parties?

The “circle of congratulations” is a way for guests to personally convey their birthday wishes to the celebrant, fostering a sense of warmth and connection during the celebration.

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Shawn Stolting

Shawn Stolting

A proud Dutch speaker from Suriname. Nestled on the northern coast of South America, Suriname is where my heart and heritage reside. I call the charming capital city of Paramaribo my home.