Dutch Proverbs

By | February 29, 2016

Dutch Proverbs

Netherlandish Syings

A kiss without a beard is like an egg without salt.

An old rat won’t go into the trap.

When the shepherd strays, the sheep stray.

Were everyone to sweep in front of his own house, every street would be clean.

Soon ripe, soon rotten; soon wise, soon foolish.

One sprinkles the most sugar where the tart is burnt.

There are more thieves than are hanged.

When two quarrel both are in the wrong.

Stroke your dog, and he’ll spoil your clothes.

More flies are caught with a spoonful of syrup than with a barrel full of vinegar.

It is too late to cry “Hold hard!” when the arrow has left the bow.

A fool by chance may say a wise thing.

Fools are free all the world over.

Good things require time.

Thistles and thorns prick sore, but evil tongues prick even more.

No greater promisers than they who have nothing to give.

Good drink drives out bad thoughts.

Better lose the anchor than the whole ship.

Coupled sheep drown one another.

Nobody’s sweetheart is ugly.

Take nothing in hand that may bring repentance.

Long fasting doesn’t save bread.

To marry once is a duty, twice a folly, and three times — madness.

Promises make debts, and debts make promises.

All offices are greasy.

Our time runs on like a stream; first fall the leaves and then the tree.

One should not think about it too much when marrying or taking pills.

Wicked cows have short horns.
The Dutch, occasionally referred to as Netherlanders, a term that is cognate to the Dutch word for Dutch people, “Nederlanders” are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States.

The Netherlands map & Flag

The Netherlands is the main “constituent country” (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a small, densely populated country located in Western Europe with three island territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. The largest and most important cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Amsterdam is the country’s capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of government and parliament. The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe – as large as the next three largest combined – and was the world’s largest port between 1962 and 2004. The name Holland is also frequently used to refer informally to the whole of the country of the Netherlands.

More Dutch Proverbs:

There is no point in combing where there is no hair.

Many open a door to shut a window.

It is a bad well that you have to fill with water.

Sow not money on the sea lest it sink.

Good looking apples are sometimes sour.

Who doesn’t keep faith with God won’t keep it with men.

Little pots soon run over.

Pastors come for your wine and officers for your daughters.

Anger is a short madness.

Poverty is the reward of idleness.

Better a blind horse than an empty halter.

Love makes labor light.

Caution is the parent of delicate beer glasses.

If it’s not burning you why cool it?

Everyone is a thief in his own craft.

He wants to learn how to shave using my beard.

You never know how a cow catches a rabbit.

He that chases another does not sit still himself.

When the husband earns well, the wife spends well.

With hard work, you can get fire out of a stone.

No better masters than poverty and want.

Hasty questions require slow answers.

In time a mouse will gnaw through a cable.

Good wine praises itself.

One penny in the pot makes more noise than when it is full.

Who has only one eye must take good care of it.

If you pull one pig by the tail all the rest squeak.

It is hard to steal where the host is a thief.

Of listening children have your fears, for little pitchers have great ears.

What costs nothing is worth nothing.

A dog with a bone knows no friend.

Who is tired of happy days, let him take a wife.

Better once in heaven than ten times at the gate.

Who has many servants has many thieves.

Who gives to me, teaches me to give.

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.

It is safest to sail within reach of the shore.

A man overboard, a mouth less to feed.

Patience surpasses learning.

He fell with his nose in the butter.

Coffee has two virtues, it’s wet and it’s warm.

Common goods, no goods.

When the tree falls everyone runs to cut the branches.

What has horns will gore.

Ill-matched horses draw badly.

What is wrong today won’t be right tomorrow.

Falling teaches us to walk safely.

It’s good to watch the rain from a dry standpoint.

An inch too short is as bad as a yard.

To every fool his cap.

Neither reprove nor flatter your wife where people hear or see it.

It is hasty speed that doesn’t succeed.

A wolf hankers after sheep even at his last gasp.

Little thieves have iron chains; big thieves have gold ones.

Learn who are your friends when you are in need.

With a friend behind you, you have a safe bridge.

One nail drives in another.

It is good rowing with the sail set.

Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.

Cats don’t catch the old birds.

Where there is nothing, the emperor loses his right.

The eyes are bigger than the belly.

Many hounds mean the death of the hare.

He has the greatest blind side who thinks he has none.

After high floods come low ebbs.

By labor fire is got out of stone.

Opportunity makes desire.

Wasting is a bad habit, saving is a sure income.

Put your hand in your conscience and see if it does not come out as black as pitch.

An old coachman loves the crack of the whip.

When things go well it is easy to advise.

A smart coat is a good letter of introduction.

Teachers die, but books live on.

An honest man’s word is his bond.

When the stomach is full the heart is glad.

You’ve got to stare the cat down out of the tree.

Better poor on land than rich at sea.

Fair money can cover much that’s foul.

Little fish are sweet.

Opportunity creates desire.

Behind every mountain lies a valley.

A penny saved is better than a florin earned.

Offer a clown your finger, and he’ll take your fist.

When the cook and the steward fall out, we hear who stole the butter.

Stay a while, and lose a mile.

He who wants a new world must first buy the old.

Better to be squinting than blind.

Pleasures steal away the mind.

Virtue consists of action.

A flying crow always catches something.

The nobler the tree, the more bends the twig.

The third person makes good company.

Reward sweetens labor.

Men that crawl, never fall.

Cast no roses before swine.

That is good wisdom which is wisdom in the end.

When the dog is down, everyone is ready to bite him.

The world likes to be cheated.

In prosperity caution, in adversity patience.

The heart does not lie.

Who knows the language is at home everywhere.

The most learned are not the wisest.

A stout heart tempers adversity.

After great droughts come great rains.

Common fame seldom lies.

He that would jest must take a jest, or else to let it alone were best.

He who would catch a rogue must watch behind the door.

Better have a dog for your friend than your enemy.

Were the sky to fall, not an earthen pot would be left whole.

Better ride a good horse for a year than an ass all your life.

After meat comes mustard.

Poor folk’s wisdom counts very little.

Milk the cow, but don’t pull off the udder.

Your friend lends and your enemy asks for payment.

A scabby head fears the comb.

The generous man enriches himself by giving; the miser hoards himself poor.

Nothing in haste but catching fleas.

He that is embarked with the devil must sail with him.

Set your expense according to your trade.

Where a man feels pain he lays his hand.

He that has the luck leads the bride to church.

It is good spinning from another’s yarn.

God sells knowledge for labor, honor for risk.

He who attempts too much seldom succeeds.

Those who dislike cats will be carried to the cemetery in the rain.

Who serves the public serves a fickle master.

Shame lasts longer than poverty.

The cost is high of the honey that must be licked from thorns.

Like will to like, be they poor or rich.

A brilliant daughter makes a brittle wife.

Roses fall, but the thorns remain.

He that saves something today will have something tomorrow.

The eye of the master makes the horse fat, and the eye of the mistress makes the chambers neat.

Where the hedge is lowest everyone goes over.

From trivial things great arguments often arise.

Slowly but surely the bird builds his nest.

Economy is a great revenue.

Geese are plucked as long as they have feathers.

Nobility of soul is more honorable than nobility of birth.

Who undertakes many things at once seldom does anything well.

A good horse is worth his fodder.

When hard work goes out of the door, poverty comes in at the window.

It’s better that the bakers are on horseback than the doctors.

Who fears no shame comes to no honor.

Hastiness is the beginning of wrath, and its end repentance.

The young ravens are beaked like the old.

In small woods may be caught large hares.

There is a fool at every feast.

A crown is no cure for the headache.

Unlaid eggs are uncertain chickens.

No one is wise in his own affairs.

The best cause requires a good champion.

A miser’s money takes the place of wisdom.

Never wear a brown hat in Friesland.

Beware of the person with two faces.

After honor and state follow envy and hate.

An idle man is the devil’s pillow.

Sloth is the beginning of vice.

Idleness is hunger’s mother; of theft it is full brother.

For great evils strong remedies.

Everything has an end with the exception of God.

God does not pay weekly, but He pays at the end.

It is good to warm oneself by another’s fire.

God does not pay weekly, but pays at the end.

Big fish jump out of the kettle.

Who ventures to lend, loses money and friend.

What the sober man thinks, the drunkard tells.

Young folk, silly folk; old folk, cold folk.

A usurer, a miller, a banker, and a publican are the four evangelists of Lucifer.

The best pilots are ashore.

No one can have peace longer than his neighbor pleases.

Were fools silent, they would pass for wise.

Better a slap from your friend than a kiss from your enemy.

Dogs have teeth in all countries.

Hares are not caught with drums.

When the calf is drowned they cover the well.

No wheat without chaff.

Great wealth, great care.

A bird never flew so high but it had to come to the ground for food.

The goose hisses, but does not bite.

Sooner or later the truth comes to light.

There is more to dancing than a pair of dancing shoes.

Might is not right.

The devil has his martyrs among men.

When prosperity smiles, beware of its guiles.

He who has no thirst has no business at the fountain.

He that has a choice has trouble.

Promises make debt, and debt makes promises.

Talk of the devil and you hear his bones rattle.

A young wife, new bread, and green wood devastate a house.

He who would gather roses must not fear thorns.

It is hard to swim against the current.

Where the dike is lowest the water first runs out.

Truth is lost with too much debating.

If you touch pitch you will get dirty.

It needs a cunning hand to shave a fool’s head.

Good right needs good help.

Daughters may be seen but not heard.

My shirt is closer to me than my cloak.

It is better to ride for half a year on a good horse than to spend your entire life riding on a mule.

He talks like a sausage without the fat.

A louse in the cabbage is better than no meat at all.

Of hasty counsel take good heed, for haste is very rarely speed.

Hens like to lay where they see an egg.

A little pot boils easily.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

A sad bride makes a glad wife.

They who fight with golden weapons are pretty sure to prove they are right.

Quickly done; long repented.

All is well, for if the bride has not fair hair, she has a fair skin.

Many seek good nights and waste good days.

He must indeed be a good master who never does wrong.

He must shoot well who always hits the mark.

He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him.

Skill and assurance make an invincible combination.

It is hard to blow with a full mouth.

Where there’s no good within, no good comes out.

The open door invites the thief.

Before you make a friend, eat a pack of salt with him.

When we least expect it, the hare darts out of the ditch.

Better reap two days early than one day late.

Marry in haste and repent at leisure.

Wisdom in the man, patience in the wife, brings peace to the house and a happy life.

Who watches not catches not.

Who wants fire, let him look for it in the ashes.

Take counsel before it goes ill, lest it go worse.

Woods have ears and fields have eyes.

A horse may stumble, though he has four feet.

Every flood has its ebb.

Sweep in front of your own door before you look after your neighbor’s.

When the head is sick the whole body is sick.

A man without money is like a ship without sails.

Trees often transplanted seldom prosper.

Barking dogs don’t bite.

A daily guest is a great thief in the kitchen.

One can’t shoe a running horse.

There are no better masters than poverty and wants.

When it is God’s will to plague a man, a mouse can bite him to death.

Who undertakes too much, succeeds but little.

He is so wise that he goes upon the ice three days before it freezes.

The end of mirth is the beginning of sorrow.

An ennobled peasant does not know his own father.

It is better to blow than burn your mouth.

It is a grief to one beggar that there is another at the door.

When thieves fall out, honest men get their goods back.

He would be wise who knew all things beforehand.

Great boast, little roast.

Better poor with honor than rich with shame.

The cow does not know the value of her tail till she has lost it.

The scabbier the sheep the harder it bleats.

All women are good Lutherans — they would rather preach than hear mass.

Better keep peace than make peace.

Let me get over the lake, and I will have no fear of the brook.

When one sheep is over the dam, the rest follow.

Don’t overstrain your bow — it may break.

One God, one wife, but many friends.

The higher the mountain the lower the valley, the taller the tree the harder the fall.

The rich have many friends.

Roast pigeons don’t fly through the air.

The worse the carpenter, the more the chips.

No sheep runs into the mouth of a sleeping wolf.

Who has a bad wife, his hell begins on earth.

An ox and an ass don’t yoke well to the same plow.

Men can bear all things except good days.

Better a ruined than a lost land.

No office so humble but it is better than nothing.

Women who are often at the looking-glass seldom spin.

Time and place make the thief.

He who is afraid of the leaves must not go into the wood.

If you eat someone’s cake, you must also eat his lentils.

Every day is not a holiday.

The seeds of the day are best planted in the first hour.

Who goes fasting to bed will sleep but lightly.

To get eggs there must be some cackling.

It is easier to make a lady of a peasant girl than a peasant girl of a lady.

Help yourself and God will help you.

What the old ones sing, the young ones whistle.

It is too late to lock the stable door when the horses have already been stolen.

All are not friends who smile at you.

He that despises the small is not worthy of the great.

The young may die, the old must.

He who slanders his neighbor makes a rod for his own back.

A ship on the beach is a lighthouse to the sea.

If fools ate no bread, corn would be cheap.

Better reap two days too soon than one too late.

Little is done where many command.

Fortune and glass break easily.

Better return half way than lose yourself.

All are not princes who ride with the emperor.

Our faults irritate us most when we see them in others.

Every one must row with the oars he has.

To do nothing teaches evil.

The richest man, whate’er his lot, is the one content with what he’s got.

Hearsay is half lies.

The farther from Rome the nearer to God.

Who writes love letters grows thin; who carries them, fat.

When the sack is full it pricks up its ears.

In the company of the good we become good.

Covetousness is always filling a bottomless vessel.

The fly flutters around the candle till it gets burnt.

Better a leg broken than the neck.

In the land of promise a man may die of hunger.

The best goods are the cheapest.

In the division of inheritance, friendship stands still.

When the ass is too happy he begins dancing on the ice.

He waits long that waits for another man’s death.

Whoever gossips about his relatives has no luck and no blessing.

What the eye sees not, the heart craves not.

Darkness and night are mothers of thought.

Tender surgeons make foul wounds.

Bear patiently that which you suffer by your own fault.

The Dutch language is a West Germanic language that is spoken in the European Union by about 23 million people as a first language—including most of the population of the Netherlands and about sixty percent of that of Belgium—and by another 5 million as a second language.

The Wilhelmus” is the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Anthem Lyrics:
William of Nassau
am I, of Duytschen blood.
Loyal to the fatherland
I will remain until I die.
A prince of Orange
am I, free and fearless.
The king of Spain
I have always honoured.

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