5 WAYS TO TALK ABOUT YOUR HOBBIES IN DUTCH!

In this post, I’ll give you 5 different ways and structures that you can use when someone asks you “Wat doe jij in jouw vrije tijd?” or “Wat zijn jouw hobby’s?”. It’s just one of my favorite topics: when students can describe what they do in their spare time, talk about their passions and interests in the language that they’re learning, you can always see their faces light up. Hopefully, this post is the first step on the way of reaching that goal.

1. HOUDEN VAN

Means “to love.” A very easy, malliable verb with preposition (“van”) that can be combined with a great deal of different grammatical words. You probably already know “Ik hou van jou”. Which I do. Watch out with the first person conjugation which is: “ik hou(d)” with an optional “d” at the end (we almost never say it). Second and third person is as can be expected: “jij / je / u houdt” and “hij / zij / ze houdt”. In the informal “jij” question we keep the root “ik” form without the “d”, as can be expected: “Hou je nog van mij?”.

⇒ can be combined with substantives:
Ik hou van …
chocolade, gastronomie, reizen, andere culturen, Nederlands…
⇒ can be combined with actions in the infinitive:
Ik hou van …
zwemmen, dansen, met vrienden naar de bioscoop gaan, in de stad wandelen

2. GEÏNTERESSEERD ZIJN IN

Means “to be interested in”.

⇒ mostly combined with substantives and general (cultural) concepts and phenomena:
Ik ben geïnteresseerd in …
gastronomie, politiek, cultuur, cinema, muziek, talen …

3. GRAAG

This one is hard to translate, but it is classified as an adverb, so it gives a level of preference or liking to the verb, hence it always appears immediately after the verb. In English, the sentences would be translated with “to like to” and is interchangeably used with “houden van”.

Ik ga graag naar de bioscoop. (I like to go to the cinema)
Ik studeer graag Nederlands. (I like to study Dutch)

4. VINDEN + ADJECTIEF

This construction behaves like a separable verb, with the adjectief that goes into the eindgroep. It roughly means “to think that something is (adjective)”. You can obviously use it to give your opinion and to talk about your preferences and likes and dislikes. The advantage of this structure is the possibility of adding nuance with specific adjectives related to the situation: leuk, interessant, amusant, grappig, fijn, tof… With the adjective “lekker” in this sentence, you can describe what foods and drinks you like. (*) The substantive / noun the adjective talks about goes in the middle:

Ik vind oude films leuk.
Ik vind chocolade lekker.

Echt waar, ik vind het laatste seizoen van Game of Thrones heel slecht.

(*) Attention for speakers of Dutch from the Netherlands: “lekker” can be used in many different contexts beside food: “lekker weer” (nice weather), “We gaan lekker dansen” (We’re going for a nice dance), or as a reaction to an invitation: “Wil je een kopje koffie?” “Ja, lekker” (“I would love to”, instead of “Ja, graag”).

5. ADVANCED (A2/B1): vinden + het + adjectief + om + te + infinitief

Before you check out this rule, make sure that you read my blog post on “om te + infinitief” first. You can basically use this construction as a way of giving your opinion on something, explaining your preferences, likes and dislikes in a more elaborate way. The structure is always as follows:

(subject) (vinden) (het) (adjectief) (om te + infinitief)

Ik vind het leuk om met vrienden naar de cinema te gaan.
Ik vind het heerlijk om in het weekend naar een sauna te gaan.
Mijn vrienden vinden het grappig om naar de voetbalserie “De kampioenen” te kijken.

Zij vindt het irritant om elke dag dezelfde taken op haar werk te doen.

SPEAKING TIPS

In a later video, I will talk about my hobbies and the hobbies of Flemish people as part of the “Spreektaal” series because then you can hear how these structures would be used in a natural way. Until then, you can practice these structures at home by basically brainstorming about your hobbies and interests and seeing how they would play out in these different structures.

For example:


naar de bioscoop gaan
houden vanIk hou van naar de bioscoop gaan.
graagIk ga graag naar de bioscoop.
geïnteresseerd zijn inIk ben geïnteresseerd in films.
leuk vindenIk vind naar de bioscoop gaan leuk. 

After that, you can try to speak freely and mix the structures up.

(try not to write this column out but say it out loud)
houden vannaar de bioscoop gaanIk hou van naar de bioscoop gaan.
graagin de zee zwemmenIk zwem graag in de zee.
geïnteresseerd zijn inpolitiekIk ben geïnteresseerd in politiek.
interessant vindendetective seriesIk vind detective series interessant. 

Finally, you can think about how often you do certain things and use frequency words like “altijd” (always), “regelmatig” (regularly), “twee keer per week” (twice a week) and describe what specifically you do.



SPECIFIEK
houden vanfilmséén of twee keer per week naar de bioscoop gaan 
graagin de zee zwemmenin de zomer elke dag naar het strand gaan
geïnteresseerd zijn inpolitiekartikels in de krant over politiek lezen
interessant vindendetective seriesregelmatig naar “Hercule Poirôt” kijken

For example: “Ik hou van films, ik ga één of twee keer per week naar de bioscoop en thuis kijk ik ook regelmatig naar films. Ik vind naar films kijken heel ontspannend.”

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