Website of Michael Beijer,
Dutch-English technical translator,
terminologist & artist

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in eerste instantie

It can sometimes be surprisingly difficult to pin down the meaning of this phrase.

Michael Beijer


  • in eerste instantie (aanvankelijk, eerst, in het begin)


  • (court of) first instance
  • at first
  • at first glance
  • at first sight (bij aanvankelijke beschouwing)
  • at the beginning
  • at the outset
  • at the start
  • basically 1)
  • first of all
  • in the early stages
  • in first instance / in the first instance2)
  • in the first place
  • in the first stage
  • in the first step
  • in the beginning
  • initially
  • originally
  • primarily
  • principally
  • specifically (special meaning!)
  • the primary
  • to begin with
  • to start with

Examples of usage

in the first instance = ‘In the first place or at the first stage of a proceeding’:

  • the appointment will be for three years in the first instance
  • He said soldiers may have been acting in self-defense in the second instance. (


1) De zin die U nu leest betekent in eerste instantie niets. = The sentence you are now reading basically means nothing.
(idiom) in the sense of initially: ‘These scholarships will normally be awarded for one year in the first instance, with a likely extension.’
terms/in-eerste-instantie.txt · Last modified: 2021/07/14 05:25 by michaelbeijer