Dutch and Indonesian Comparison


Dutch and Indonesian Comparison

The Netherlands and Indonesia certainly have a long historical relationship. Indonesia was ruled by the Dutch for over 3 and half centuries. During that time, there were many Dutch people born in Indonesia, and some Indonesian even studied at Dutch schools in Indonesia or in the Netherlands. This interaction has certainly influenced the way Indonesian people live day by day. The very significant influence by the Dutch can be seen in Indonesian language.

There are thousands of Dutch loanwords in Indonesian language. But, does it make Dutch an easy language to learn for Indonesian? Well, I have been learning Dutch for a several months, and I am going to tell you my experience in learning Dutch.

Word Order

Indonesian word order is straightforward–subject, verb, object (SVO). That’s all what you need to know as the basic, although if there are two sentences connected into one sentence, the word order is still the same. This is the opposite of that in Dutch language. Basic word order in Dutch is SVO, but depends on the connecting words, it can be either SVO or SOV. There is no certain rule about this, so memorization is a must.


Like what I have mentioned earlier, there are Dutch loanwords in Indonesian. Guess the following words:

administrasi, asbak, kulkas, baskom, buku, besuk, kantor, bioskop, gaji, handuk

Check your answer now, they are: administration, ashtray, refrigerator, washbasin, book, visiting, office, cinema, wages, towel.

How is it? Surprised by the answer? The ending of -tie is equivalent of -si in Indonesian language.


The pronunciation of both languages are similar. You write the way how you say it in Indonesian, so for instance, “politie” will be pronounced as “po-li-ti-e” in Indonesian. Indonesian speakers won’t have any problems with pronunciation. Both Indonesian and Dutch use the same alphabet.


Dutch is quite easy to learn, compared with other languages, such as Russian, Arabic, or Chinese. It is because Dutch uses the same alphabet with Indonesian and shares similar pronunciation. The grammar will be a bit of challenge in terms of the word order but no worries for that in the beginning. Are you also learning Dutch? Share your story here.

This post is written by Teddy Nee.


Teddy runs a language blog called Nee’s Language Blog ( www.neeslanguageblog.com ) with the purpose of educating people around the world about the importance of learning foreign languages. You can talk with him in Medan Hokkien, Indonesian, English, Chinese, Spanish or Esperanto.

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