55 Indonesian Words Derived from Dutch (Loanwords)

Do you know that Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for about 3.5 centuries? The Dutch was our longest colonizers who stayed much longer than the Japanese, Portugese, and English. While they were here, the blending of Dutch and Indonesian culture was inevitable. Our ancestors started adapting some Dutch words into the Indonesian language. Their colonization greatly affected Indonesian vocabulary still used until today, long after they are gone.

Check out some of these Indonesian words derived from Dutch!

1. Administrasi- administration (from Dutch administratie)

Example: Administrasi rumah sakit ini sangat baik (This hospital’s administration is really good)

2. Arloji- timepiece, wristwatch, watch (from Dutch horloge)

Example: Kami membeli arloji untuk ulang tahun kakek (We bought a wristwatch for Grandpa’s birthday)

3. Ban- tire (from Dutch band)

Example: Periksalah ban sebelum bepergian (Check tires before traveling)

4. Bioskop- cinema (from Dutch bioscoop)

Example: Kami selalu pergi ke bioskop di akhir pekan (We always go to the cinema on weekends)

5. Buku- book (from Dutch boek)

Example: Apakah Anda menjual buku sejarah di sini? (Do you sell history books here?)

6. Dokter- medical doctor, physician, doctor (from Dutch dokter)

Example: Ia selalu ingin menjadi dokter sejak kecil (He’s always wanted to be a doctor since he was young)

7. Handuk- towel (from Dutch handdoek)

Example: Handuk biru itu punya kakak (That blue towel belongs to big brother)

8. Jas- coat (from Dutch jas)

Example: Ia membeli jas untuk persiapan liburan (He bought a coat to prepare for the holidays)

9. Kalkun- turkey (from Dutch kalkoen)

Example: Memasak kalkun panggang adalah keahlian ibu (Making grilled turkey is Mom’s specialty)

10. Katun- cotton (from Dutch katoen)

Example: Kaus itu terbuat dari katun yang nyaman (That t-shirt is made from comfortable cotton)

11. Kol- cabbage (from Dutch kool)

Example: Bibi membeli kol merah dan hijau di pasar (Auntie buys red and green cabbage in the market)

12. Kopi- coffee (from Dutch koffie)

Example: Aku lebih suka teh daripada kopi (I like tea more than coffee)

13. Om- uncle (from Dutch oom)

Example: Omku membeli jaket baru untukku (My uncle buys me a new jacket)

14. Potlot- pencil (from Dutch potlood)

Example: Ia paling senang menggambar dengan potlot kayu (He likes drawing with wooden pencils the most)

15. Wortel- carrot (from Dutch wortel)

Example: Wortel baik untuk menjaga kesehatan mata (Carrots are good for maintaining eye health)

Are you surprised that some of the words you already know Indonesian words derived from Dutch? Are some of these words new to you? Aside from Dutch, Indonesian words are sometimes similar to other languages such as English and Tagalog. 

More Indonesian words derived from Dutch

  1. bir (beer) from bier
  2. bis (bus) from bus
  3. biskruit from buskruit
  4. bistik (meat steak) from biefstuk
  5. blokade (blockade) from blokkade
  6. bom (boom) from boom
  7. bor (noor) from boor
  8. bosman (bosman) from bootsman
  9. cokelat (chocolate) from chocolade
  10. dag from dag
  11. dasi (tie) from das
  12. delegasi (delegation) from delegatie
  13. departemen (departement) from departement
  14. dim from duim
  15. dinamo (dynamo) from dynamo
  16. dinas (agency) from dienst
  17. distrik (district) from district
  18. dobol (torn) from dubbel
  19. dobrak (smashed) from doorbrak
  20. domine from dominee 
  21. donotir from donateur
  22. dosin from dozijn
  23. elastis (elastic) from elastisch
  24. ember (bucket) from emmer
  25. fanatik (fanatic) from fanatiek
  26. gang (alley) from gang
  27. kantor (office) from kantoor
  28. kantor polisi (police office) from politiekantoor
  29. kol (cabbage) from kool
  30. kopi (coffee) from kopie
  31. pena (pen) from pen
  32. pistol (gun) from pistool
  33. prestasi (achievement) from prestatie
  34. proklamasi (proclamatin) from proclamatie
  35. revolusi (revolution) from revolutie
  36. rokok (cigarette) from roken
  37. sekolah (school) from school
  38. situasi (situation) from situatie
  39. suster (nurse) from zuster
  40. vaksinasi (vaccine) from vaccinatie

Don’t forget to review about Indonesian conversation phrases , Indonesian grammar, as well as ways to talk with Indonesians like a pro to practice your Indonesian skills. Also keep in mind the sacred communication etiquette in Indonesia as you go! Have fun!