Dutch time

The Dutch tell the time in a very different way to the English, so it’s taken me a while to get used to it. Firstly they work it out relative to both the hour and the half hour. And secondly the half hour is described by the next hour, rather than the one that’s passed (’cause they’re forward-looking apparently!). So it works as follows (direct translation):

7.00 – seven
7.05 – five past seven
7.10 – ten past seven
7.15 – quarter past seven
7.20 – ten to half eight
7.25 – five to half eight
7.30 – half eight
7.35 – five past half eight
7.40 – ten past half eight
7.45 – quarter to eight
7.50 – ten to eight
7.55 – five to eight
8.00 – eight

The whole half past thing really confuses me at times and can make it tricky when arranging to meet people.


  1. I’m really enjoying your blog Clari! Having somehow only just read this I’m sure that it will amuse you to know that I had the same issues with half past the hour (or ‘half three’ and so on) but from the opposite side. In Russian you also say half of 8 to mean 7.30 and for years whenever someone would arrange to meet me I would have to double check what time they meant (and inevitably get a ‘look’). I’ve only just started to feel comfortable with it in the the last few years and I’ve been in the UK for 22 years!

    • I know, it does my head in having to double check everything. At least for you you end up early and could still make whatever you’re doing 🙂 Nice to know you enjoy it – thanks

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