Belofte maakt schuld

when you make a promise, you have to keep it
[be-lof-te maakt schuld]

Literally ‘promise makes debt’ this phrase says that one ought to keep one’s promise. It’s often used during arguments or when emphasizing that it is in fact a promise one is living up to.

“Hoezo heb je geen tijd om mij te helpen? Je zou me helpen behangen, dat heb je beloofd en belofte maakt schuld!” – “Ja, maar…” – “Nee, niks ja maar!”
(“What do you mean you have no time to help me? You are supposed to help me wallpaper, you promised (it) and when you make a promise, you have to keep it!” – “Okay, but…” – “No buts, I don’t want to hear it!”)

“Ik had niet verwacht dat je nog zou komen…” – “Ach, belofte maakt schuld hè. Bovendien vind ik het leuk om van de partij te zijn.”
(“I didn’t expect you would show…” – “Well, I promised didn’t I… Besides, I enjoy being here.” The phrase ‘van de partij zijn’ is used when you will participate in an activity or be part of an occasion.)

“Vorige week heb ik beloofd om meer informatie te verschaffen over de toekomst van ons bedrijf. Belofte maakt schuld dus vanmiddag zal ik deze belofte inlossen.”
(“Last week I promised to provide more information on the future of our company. When one makes a promise, one has to keep it so this afternoon I will redeem this promise.”)

– “Beloofd is beloofd”: a more informal alternative to ‘belofte maakt schuld’. Literally: ‘promised is promised’. Often used by children when you are not keeping your promise about candy/sweets or the fun park you were supposed to go to…
– “Een loze belofte”: an empty promise.
– “Zich aan zijn woord houden”: to keep one’s word.
– “Zijn belofte houden/nakomen/inlossen”: to keep/fulfil/redeem one’s promise.

Related words:
– Belofte: promise [noun] [de belofte, de beloftes].
– Beloven: to promise [verb] [beloofde, beloofd].
Schuldig: guilty [adjective/adverb].

4 thoughts on “Belofte maakt schuld

    • Hallo Silvia, leuk dat je de blog leest! Ik hoop dat het je zal helpen met het leren van Nederlands!

  1. I’ve heard the expression “Samen uit, samen thuis” — is this a kind of Dutch promise?

    • Hi Allison,

      I have added this phrase to my ‘to do list’, dankjewel 🙂
      For now: ‘Samen uit, samen thuis’ can be interpreted as a promise, but more so I think it is regarded as a moral obligation. It means that when you start an endeavour together, you are supposed to finish it together. It can also be used literally when going somewhere (or ‘out’) together and you don’t abandon the other (whatever happens).

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