Dutch expressions about money

door Regina Coeli

Hard work and thriftiness have long been important values in Dutch culture. That’s why you’ll come across lots of sayings that have to do with money in the daily language of the Dutch.

If you’d like to enrich your use of Dutch, then expressions are a godsend. With them, you can say a lot with just a few words. The Dutch themselves use them all the time. There are several common expressions about money in this article. Can you use them in a conversation or writing?

The expressions below have to do with the principle that you have to work for your money.

Het geld groeit niet op mijn rug.   Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Dat brengt geld in het laatje.    Something that’ll make money
Dit is zuur verdiend geld.    Money you’ve had to work hard for
Tijd is geld.    Time is money.
Geld als water verdienen.   To earn money easily

The Dutch have all kinds of ways to express that someone has a lot of money.

  • Steenrijk zijn (to be filthy rich)
  • Zwemmen in het geld (to be swimming in money)
  • Bulken van het geld (to be dripping money)
  • Stinkend rijk zijn (to be stinking rich)

This last expression is unique because there’s another saying that resembles it yet means something completely different:

  • Geld stinkt niet                It doesn’t matter how you get/earn money.


Money doesn’t stink is a translation of the Latin ‘pecunia non olet’, so the saying isn't particularly Dutch.

Fortunately, the Dutch don’t do anything and everything for money, as these three sayings show:

Voor geen geld!   Not for all the money in the world.
Al krijg ik geld mee!   There’s no way I’d do that.
Geld maakt niet gelukkig.   Money alone won’t make you happy.

People from the Netherlands have a bit of a stingy image, so it’s not surprising that there are many sayings about spending money.

Grof geld voor iets betalen.   to pay a lot for something
Geld over de balk smijten.   to waste money
Dat is geen geld.   That’s cheap.
Wie betaalt, bepaalt.   He who pays, decides.
Peperduur zijn   to be very expensive
Geld moet rollen.   Money must be spent.
Met klinkende munt betalen   to pay with cash

Finally, there are a number of sayings to do with stock-taking.

Met gelijke munt betalen.   doing the same thing to someone that he did to you
Eieren voor je geld kiezen.   to play it safe
Munt uit iets slaan.   to benefit from something
De eerste klap is een daalder waard.   The first blow is half the battle.
Voor hetzelfde geld.   all the same


Enrich your Dutch

Do you already speak Dutch well, but notice that you often use the same words? Or can you sometimes not find the words to express precisely what you mean? Then we can teach you plenty of new ways to express yourself during a short course. Not with the help of books, but by listening to you, giving your ideas and practicing with you.

This kind of learning objective can be combined with others in a training course, such as:

  • Improving your writing style in Dutch
  • Improving your pronunciation
  • Practicing your conversation skills

Please get in touch with us to discuss your options.

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