My Little Dutch ABC Book D

My Little Dutch ABC Book


Dames ~ Women

This is a great word to know… especially if you are needing to use the restroom. One of my first “emergencies” happened while pleasantly shopping at the mall in Eindhoven. At first, I was just casually looking for the little sign pointing me in the right direction. Then I decided to go into a store and ask for directions. As this was one of my very first weeks in The Netherlands, I had zero Dutch to my knowledge. So I politely asked the sales attendant if she spoke English. She said she spoke a little. Which I came to learn is a common answer when the Dutch are asked if they speak English. So I began my request….

Me: “Can you tell me where the restroom is?”

Sales attendant: Blank Stare

Me: Fumbling... Thinking... And getting a little panicky… “Can you tell me where the bathroom is?

Sales attendant: Blank Stare

Me: Now I’m embarrassed, smiling, and a tad nervous about my request. So I begin just using one word sentences. “Restroom, bathroom…Ummmm toilet?”

Sales attendant: AHHHHH TOITLET!!!  Yes! Go this way, make left right left.. blah blah blah.. and you’re there.

Me: “Thank you so very much!” I slink out of the shop mortified that someone knows I’ve asked for a toilet.

I still haven’t gotten used to boldly asking where the toilet is when I’m lost, but I do make sure I’ve got my coins ready to pay the attendant in the restroom. And I make sure I open the door that says DAMES (Women) not Heren (Men). 

My favorite Toilet sign
at Piet Hein Eek


  1. Hi Lisa,

    Apologies for writing here but I hope you will respond to my message.
    I am a Lecturer/PhD candidate at University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University and I would like to invite you to participate in my research project on female expats in the Netherlands. My research investigates how female expats carve out spaces of home and a sense of belonging in their lived spaces and the role that digital media (especially blogs) plays in this process. My research aims at providing a better understanding of the migration experience of female expats and the construction of migrant identities.

    I can send you a more detailed message from my university email account if you send me your email address.

    I hope you will read my message and will be interested in my research.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best wishes,

    1. you can reach me at I look forward to hearing from you. ~ Lisa


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