1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "I work in the hospital."

"I work in the hospital."

Translation:Ik werk in het ziekenhuis.

September 13, 2014



Where is it "op", "in" or "bij" when speaking about where you work at?


I think in general, 'op', 'in' and 'bij' are similar to 'on', 'in' and 'at' in English (when used in a context with "to work"):

  • Ik werk op een bouwplaats (I work on a construction site)
  • Ik werk in een supermarkt (I work in a supermarket)
  • Ik werk bij McDonalds (I work at McDonalds)

There will probably be instances where this rule of thumb won't apply though...


This post refers to the use of prepositions in general, not specifically related to work.

Much depends on context. See explanation here

Some examples:

  • Ik ben op kantoor (I'm at the office)
  • Ik woon op het eiland Curaçao. (I live on the island Curaçao)
  • Ik sta op de foto (I'm in the picture)

  • Ik woon in Utrecht. (I live in Utrecht)

  • Ik ben in de buurt (I'm in the neighbourhood)
  • Ik sta onder de douche. (I'm in the shower/I'm standing in the shower)

  • Ik ben bij jou thuis (I'm at your place)

  • Ik ben bij jouw huis (I'm near your house)
  • Ik hoor bij de saaie mensen. (I'm part of the boring people/I'm with the boring people)
  • Ik krijg een tasje bij de kassa. (I get a bag at the checkout)


Oops, I was not explicit enough: I was only referring to the use of those particular prepositions in a context with "to work". I'll clarify that in my post :-)


It happens, looks good now. :)


Thanks for these great examples. But I am still very confused why we can say "ik ben 'op' kantoor." but not "ik ben 'op' het ziekenhuis."??


There is a limited set of locations for which op works (next to the meaning on top of for which op is always used). However it only works when you are at the location, not when you are going towards it, I think this are the most common ones:

  • ik ben op kantoor (I'm at the office)
  • ik zit op school (I'm going to school)
  • ik ben op het station (I'm at the station)
  • ik ben op [adres]/ik woon op Dorpsstraat 7 (I'm at [address]/I live at Dorpsstraat 7)
  • ik werk op het gemeentehuis/stadhuis (I work at the municipality hall/town hall
  • ik ga naar het stadhuis (I'm going to the town hall) > so no op because you're going towards it


I laughed when I realized that "ziekenhuis" means (literally) "sick house."


Years ago when we first visited the Netherlands, my (New Zealander) mother was in fits of laughter when she first heard the expression 'ziekenhuis' to mean hospital. To her, it sounded like "chickenhouse", and she had visions of rows of chickens dressed in hospital bed jackets, perched along the rails at the end of the hospital beds :-)


If "bij" translates roughly to "at" in english, why is it wrong to say "Ik werk bij het ziekenhuis"?

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.