Dutch Possessive

This post explains the Dutch possessive (i.e. using words like ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘his’, ‘her’, etc.).

It also talks about how to say things like ‘mine’, ‘yours’, etc.

Main Dutch Possessive Words (‘Possessive Pronouns’)

In Dutch showing possession is fairly straightforward. The main way that is used is by using the possessive pronouns below:

  • My = mijn (m’n)
  • Your (informal & singular) = jouw (je)
  • His/Its = zijn (z’n)
  • Her = haar (d’r/’r)
  • Your (formal) = uw
  • Our = ons/onze*
  • Your (informal & plural) = jullie (je)
  • Their = hun

* Use onze in front of (or when referring to) common gender nouns/plural nouns.

Note: The forms in brackets are spoken, more informal forms.

Showing ownership using the word ‘van’ (‘of’)

You can alternatively use the word ‘van’ meaning ‘of’ to show ownership, for example:

  • Het boek van John = John’s book (literally: The book of John)
  • De auto van mijn moeder = My mother’s car (literally: The car of my mother)

You could also use the following:

  • Mine = van mij/me (= of me)
  • Yours (informal & singular) = van je/jou (= of you)
  • His/Its = van hem (= of him/it)
  • Hers = van haar (= of her)
  • Yours (formal) = van u (= of you)
  • Ours = van ons (= of us)
  • Yours (informal & plural) = van jullie (= of you)
  • Theirs = van hun (= of them)

For example:

  • Het boek is niet van je. = The book is not yours.
  • De auto is van haar. = The car is hers.

How to say ‘mine’, ‘yours’, etc. in Dutch

Take a look at the following words:

  • Mine = * het/de mijne
  • Yours (informal & singular) = * het/de jouwe
  • His/Its = * het/de zijne
  • Hers = * het/de hare
  • Yours (formal) = * het/de uwe
  • Ours = * het/de onze
  • Yours (informal & plural) = ** die/dat van jullie
  • Theirs = * het/de hunne

* You will see that for these ones you can choose between ‘het’ and ‘de’. You need to choose one. Essentially choose:

  • Use ‘het’ if the person is referring to ownership of a neuter singular noun
  • Use ‘de’ if the person is referring to ownership of a common gender noun as well as a plural noun

** Here you have a choice between ‘die’ and ‘dat’. Essentially:

  • dat’ (that) should be used if the person is referring to ownership of a neuter singular noun
  • die’ (that/those) should be used if the person is referring to ownership of a common gender noun as well as a plural noun

How to use the letter s (or ‘s) to show ownership in Dutch

In English we can add ’s/s’ to show ownership (e.g. John’s book). In Dutch we can do this in a similar way. We do this by adding s or ’s to your noun. Essentially:

  • If your noun ends in a, o, s, u, y or z add ’s

  • Otherwise add s

For example:

  • Johns boek = John’s book

  • Clara’s hond = Clara’s dog

  • Mijn honds speelgoed = My dog’s toy

End Note

Hopefully this post has helped you to understand how to show ownership in Dutch.

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