Dutch Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Dutch proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Every day is not a holiday.
  • Good right needs good help.
  • From trivial things, great arguments often arise.
  • One nail drives in another.
  • What the sober man thinks, the drunkard tells.
  • They who fight with golden weapons are pretty sure to prove they are right.
  • Better return halfway than lose yourself.
  • Fair money can cover much that is foul.
  • An old rat won’t go into the trap.
  • In the company of the good, we become good.
  • It is too late to lock the stable door when the horses have already been stolen.
  • Economy is a great revenue.
  • Big fish jump out of the kettle.
  • In small woods may be caught large hares.
  • Men can bear all things except good days.
  • When the shepherd strays, the sheep stray.
  • A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.
  • What the old ones sing, the young ones whistle.
  • Everything has an end, with the exception of God.
  • That is good wisdom which is wisdom in the end.
  • You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
  • Were everybody to sweep in front of their own house, every street would be clean.
  • Wisdom in the man, patience in the wife, brings peace to the house and a happy life.
  • Coupled sheep drown one another.
  • Where there’s no good within, no good comes out.
  • Better keep peace than make peace.
  • Better once in Heaven than ten times at the gate.
  • It is hard to steal where the host is a thief.
  • By labor fire is got out of stone.
  • Never wear a brown hat in Friesland.
  • Geese are plucked as long as they have feathers.
  • Love makes labor light.
  • Poor folk’s wisdom counts very little.
  • Take nothing in hand that may bring repentance.
  • He talks like a sausage without the fat.
  • Better lose the anchor than the whole ship.
  • Poverty is the reward of idleness.
  • Little pots soon run over.
  • Promises make debt, and debt makes promises.
  • A daily guest is a great thief in the kitchen.
  • Who goes fasting to bed will sleep but lightly.
  • Bear patiently that which you suffer by your own fault.
  • Who fears no shame comes to no honor.
  • The devil has his martyrs among men.
  • Covetousness is always filling a bottomless vessel.
  • Might is not right.
  • Men that crawl, never fall.
  • Who watches not, catches not.
  • Who undertakes many things at once seldom does anything well.
  • The worse the carpenter, the more the chips.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

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