Writing a formal letter


  • Your name + address + phonenr. (+ e-mailaddress)

Date & Location

  • Place a comma after the town name.
  • Write out the entire date (so not: 05-06-?07).


  • The address should be the same as on the envelope
  • Don’t forget the name of the person and / or company you’re writing to


  • Here you give a short indication of what the letter is about

The start of your letter

  • This is where you address the addressee.
  • If you know the name of the addressee, write only their last name.
  • Write out words like ‘van de’?

First paragraph

  • Always start the first paragraph with a capital
  • In this paragraph you introduce your problem/explain why you’re writing a letter
  • Most people consider it rude to start this paragraph with ‘ik’?.

Second, third, etc. paragraph
In these paragraph you give some background information on your problem/subject, state what you think should be done, ask for advice or thank your addressee.

Last paragraph
In this paragraph you give a short summary of your problem or proposal, and eventually what you expect the addressee to do next. If you want the addressee to do something for you, thank them in advance.

Eending the letter & signing it

Usually formal letters end with:

Met vriendelijke groet, / Hoogachtend,
Your signature

Your name


Sometimes you may want to send one or more documents along with your letter. Give a short indication of the attachment(s) and number them.

Writing a letter of application

The lay-out of a letter of application is the same as the lay-out of a formal letter, see? Writing a formal letter?

In the first paragraph, you name the job you are applying for and, in case your letter is a reaction to an advert, the source of the advert. Say that you would like to be considered for the job.

In the second (third, fourth etc.) paragraph you state why you think you should have the job, why you want it.

In the last paragraph you say that you hope to be invited for a job interview and you refer to your curriculum vitae.

Add your c.v. to your letter as an attachment. In it are your personal information, education, information about previous employments and your personal references. Never refer to someone without letting them know. Next to the names of your references you state their function, company and telephone number / e-mail address