Nine Really Long Dutch Words

The Dutch make words the same way kids make lego buildings:  just keep adding bits on until it falls apart, breaks down, or just plain doesn’t make sense.

And you thought learning Dutch was tricky

And you thought learning Dutch was tricky

Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden – 49 letters and found in the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records. The longwinded word refers to a member of a committee working on the preparations for a children’s carnival procession.  Translated into English, this means a volunteer parents.

Meervoudigepersoonlijkheidsstoornissen – translated to ‘multiple personality syndromes’ and found in 2009 ed of Van Dale dictionary. Opinion divided as to whether it is one or two words and there is also controversy about whether it is referring to many personalities – or many syndromes. No doubt a spelling nightmare for medical records staff.

Zandzeepsodemineraalwatersteenstralen, – only 37 letters to say “get lost!”  The shorter variation: opsodemieteren – sounds much ruder.

Randjongerenhangplekkenbeleidsambtenarensalarisbesprekingsafspraken:  nine small words pushed into one long unpronounceable word that refers to the salary negotiations of public servants who decide on policies about where it is okay for unemployed youth to hang out.  Might seem to some that both these public servants and the word describing their salary talks – need culling.

Invaliditeitsuitkeringshoofdkwartiervestigingsgebouwfundamentenblauwdruk :  listed online in the Interglot translation dictionary – it is the name of the blueprint for the headquarter building foundations that house the government department that deals with disability pensions.

Hottentottententententoonstellingsterrein:  referring to exhibition ground for Hottentot  tents. Sounds great but alas, appears to have been completely made up in an effort to get as many syllables as possible into one word. (This entry has been edited post the critical comment below)

The last three words are all to do with insurance,  and are for anyone who ever doubted that insurance companies use nonsensical lingo to prevent customers making claims by just not understanding the process.

Vervoerdersaansprakelijkheidsverzekering: carriers’ liability insurance;

Bestuurdersaansprakelijkheidsverzekering:  directors’ liability insurance;

Overeenstemmingsbeoordelingsprocedures: conformity assessment procedures.

That’ll teach you to try and get money out of an insurer.


15 thoughts on “Nine Really Long Dutch Words

  1. Jacqueline ter Haar

    With all respect…some of these words are never written in the way you have spelled them above and the meaning of another few words, for example, Hottentottenten….etc. is incorrect. Dutch is a difficult language, we have the largest dictionairy in the world…so let’s not disencourage people even more to learn our language :)!

      1. Ruth

        Hottentottententententoonstellingsterein is definitely a legit Dutch word. As is Invaliditeitsuitkeringshoofdkwartiervestigingsgebouwfundamentenblauwdruk, which is even longer with 72 letters. It is because in Dutch, you are allowed to put several words together. Both are actually legit words 🙂

  2. Ana McGinley

    All words were researched and cross-matched. A Google search for Hottentottententententoonstellingsterrein finds 442 matches – giving it some validity, even if it doesn’t officially appear in the Van Dale dictionary. Learning the Dutch language is difficult – but discovering these words gives some insight into the colour, character and delightful humor of the Dutch psyche.

  3. Linn

    As a linguist, I find this list a little bit ‘flauw’. All words mentioned above are compound words and it is Dutch spelling convention to use no spaces with compound words, as is common in English. However, language and spelling (spelling is, after all, merely a set of fairly arbitrary rules to represent language in writing) are not the same thing and I am sure it would be possible to find English compound words that are equally long as some of these examples.

    1. Netherlandsbynumbers Post author

      You may well be right…. We always thought the longest accepted English word is antidisestablishmentarianism, which has 28 letters. But according to Wikipedia, it is the 45-letter pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles. We’ve learned something today.

      1. Linn

        I didn’t know that either! I actually meant that, taking into account that English compound words are written with spaces in them, it would be possible to find very long English compound words. But this is example without spaces is very nice too 😛

  4. Christiaan

    Hello nice words you found there they are mostly arent words we use in our daily lives or ever for that matter they are words you use when playing hangman.

    Also your translation of some words arent correct for instance “Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden” isnt a word for volenteer parent but means: preparation work for a childrens carnavals parade. It doesnt refer to a volenteer worker of a commitee it refers to work that need to be done for the childrens parade to be a succes. It can also mean the work the children do themself by building there parade float.

  5. Marijke

    Hey, i know some of those words are just made up but what about seances like these that people from abroad think cant mean anything like; als vliegen achter vliegen, vliegen dan vliegen vliegen, vliegen achterna.

  6. André


  7. Mavadelo

    Hottentottententententoonstellingsterreinknechtenuniformknoopje . (the button on the uniform of the groundskeeper for the terrain where the hottentottententententoonstelling is being set up) actually the part until tentoonstelling is an accepted word in Dutch and is used to let people that are learning Dutch break their tongue just for fun. although you won’t find it in an official dictionary. one other famous one is locomokipkachelfantje a combinationword with the words locomotiv, kip (chicken) kachel (stove) and olifant (elephant) it has no meaning at all yet is one of the most famous compound words in Dutch. So much even that there has been a float made for participation in one of the famous flower parades (bloemencorso) back in 1993

  8. Jeff

    did nobody realize the ‘translation’ of the very first word on this list is already incorrect? Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamheden” does not refer to a member, or ‘volunteer parent’, it refers to the labor involved in preparing for a carnival procession. If you wanted to refer to the person doing the labor, you ought to have added ‘medewerker’ behind it, which actually gave you a word with 10 more letters


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