New expats in Netherlands often struggle with Dutch street names. Learn the core basics to quickly understand common street and square names in Holland.
After arriving in Holland, it is not uncommon to go through a period of information overload since everything is new. It can be compounded by a lack of knowledge of the Dutch language, which few people are familiar with prior to moving to the Netherlands. Remembering street names when living in a new city is difficult enough when the street names are in English, but add in Dutch and it can seem overwhelming. Do you know the difference between a ‘straat’ and a ‘gracht’?
To speed up the learning process so you can feel at ease sooner in the Netherlands, it helps to know the basics when it comes to the naming of streets, roads, squares and other thoroughfares in Holland.
DUTCH TOWN SQUARES
The Dutch term ‘plein’ translates to ‘square’ in English and although not all squares have plein in the name, there are many that do. Some common square names in Holland include Koningsplein (king’s square), Stadsplein (city square) and Stationsplein (train station square).
Centuries ago, every city had commodity markets where residents would go to buy a certain commodity, whether it be butter, meat, fish, etc. Although the markets no longer operate, the squares and streets where they were located still retain the name. And since each city had the same types of commodity markets, the same street and square names can be found in most cities and towns in Holland. These include…
|Aalmarkt (all market)||Beestenmarkt (cattle market)||Bloemenmarkt (flower market)||Boommarkt (tree market)|
|Botermarkt (butter market)||Groenemarkt (vegetable market)||Grote Markt (big market)||Herenmarkt (men’s market)|
|Kalvermarkt (calf market)||Koornmarkt (corn market)||Markt (market)||Vismarkt (fish market)|
DUTCH STREET TERMINOLOGY
These are the Dutch terms associated with common types of roads. Almost all street names in the Netherlands include one these Dutch words.
|bocht (bend)||beurs (exchange)||dreef (walk)||gracht (canal)||kade (quay)|
|laan (avenue)||pad (path)||plaats (place)||plantsoen (park)||poort (gate)|
|rijbaan (lane)||singel (boulevard)||steeg (alley)||straat (street)||weg (way)|
Note: As opposed to English, where street names are typically made up of two or more words (for example, Jones Road), the Dutch language combines the name and street type into one word (for example, Molenweg). Where a street has been named after a person, the type of road is combined with the person’s last name into one word (for example, Johan de Wittlaan for Johan de Witt and Albert Cuypstraat for Albert Cuyp).
COMMON DUTCH STREET NAMES
As opposed to English, where street names are made up of two or more words (for example, Jones Road), the Dutch language combines the name and road type into one word (for example, Molenweg). Here are some of the most commonly found street names in the Netherlands…
|Bankastraat (bank street)||Bloemstraat (flower street)||Dorpstraat (village street)||Energieweg (energy way)|
|Gasthuislaan (hospital avenue)||Herenstraat (men’s canal)||Hoogstraat (high street)||Kerkstraat (church street)|
|Koningsstraat (king’s street)||Kruisstraat (cross street)||Langstraat (long street)||Molenstraat (mill street)|
|Molstraat (mol street)||Nieuwestraat (new street)||Noordeinde (north end)||Oosteinde (east end)|
|Paleisstraat (palace street)||Parkstraat (park street)||Prinsestraat (prince’s street)||Raadhuisstraat (town hall street)|
|Schoolstraat (school street)||Sportlaan (sport avenue)||Tuinstraat (garden street)||Visstraat (fish street)|
|Voorstraat (front street)||Westeinde (west end)||Zeestraat (sea street)||Zuideinde (south end)|
STREETS NAMED FOR DUTCH HISTORICAL FIGURES
There are many important people in Dutch history that have had streets named after them, but only a handful that were so important as to have streets bearing their name appear across a majority of Holland cities and towns. The people whose names show up the most frequently on streets and squares are…
- Beatrix – A Dutch queen who ruled from 1980-2013
- Erasmus – A 15th century Dutch philosopher
- Johan de Witt – A Dutch statesman who lived from 1625-1672
- Juliana – A Dutch queen who ruled from 1948-1980
- Rembrandt – A 17th century Dutch painter
- Wilhelmina – The longest reigning Dutch monarch, Queen (Koningin) Wilhelmina ruled for nearly 58 years
- Willem – Referred to the “father of the Netherlands”, Willem, Prince of Orange led the rebellion for Dutch independence in the 16th century