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Mahjong: Netherlands

Dutch Mahjong Rules in English

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Official Mahjong Tournament Rules in the Netherlands (NTS)

At the bottom end, of the page, below the rules and cheat sheets, you may find introductions to the rules for 4, 3, and 2 players.

Dutch Mahjong Rules (NTS)
4 players
"in my words"

Dutch Mahjong Rules (NTS)
Cheat sheet 4 / 3 players

Dutch Mahjong Rules (NTS)
adjustment of rules for
3 players

Dutch Mahjong Rules (NTS)
adjustment of rules for
2 players

Dutch Mahjong Rules (NTS)
Cheat sheet 2 players


  1. Mahjong in the Netherlands
  2. Dutch mahjong rules (NTS), standard rules i.e. 4 players
  3. Additional rules for 3 players
  4. Additional rules for 2 players

1) Mahjong in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands Mahjong was immediately popular in the 1920s, like in most countries. The first Dutch mahjong "drive" was held on Nov. 1, 1924 in Amsterdam.

In the Netherlands there was a revival in the 1970s. In many living rooms, classical mahjong rules have been played for decades according to (family) rules from the 70s / 80s of the last century. These rules often differ considerably per family / per region.
Thus making it almost impossible to play with others without endless discussions about the rules of the game, let alone organize a tournament.

European Classical Rules were an attempt at European level to harmonize different rules for each country. Unfortunately, ECR has not really made a breakthrough.
In the Netherlands a successful harmonisation of rules was accomplished at the end of the 20th century; all existing regional rules were reconciliated, which eventually led to the modern Dutch rules of the game. Officially called: Dutch Tournament Rules (NTS).

2) Dutch mahjong rules (NTS)

The Dutch mahjong rules (NTS) were originally composed by the national mahjong committee. Founding father Jelte Rep has published these in The Great Mahjong book. Later, the NTS were embraced and published by the Dutch MahjongBond (NMB). The current version is NTS 2002.

The Dutch mahjong rules (NTS) are intended for 4 players. With some adjustments one could also play NTS Mahjong with 3 or 2 players, or even with 1 player.

Modifications/addition to the rules in order to play with less than 4 players are composed by Jan J. Keevel. The NTS clubs in the Netherlands have embraced these adjusted rules for 3 players and for 2 players.

On this website you will find the Dutch mahjong rules (NTS) for 4, 3, 2, 1 players.

Classical rules from the last century are still played in many living rooms ... however, in every living room slightly different. The switch from, classical rules to NTS is not very difficult and is certainly worthwhile: it offers many more possibilities during the game ... and the chance to participate in tournaments!

3) NTS Mahjong for 3 players: Sān má

The amended rules of the game were initially composed in 2002 by Jelte Rep. In that first version certain limit (or special) hands could not be done.
In the summer of 2017, Jan J. Keevel composed a "revision" of these rules for three people: Sān nín Májiŕng or Sān má (三麻) for short.

Sān má has been embraced by the NTS clubs in the Netherlands.
In Sān má all the official limit (or special) hands are possible.

4) NTS Mahjong for 2 players: Siamese (Xiān)

In the summer of 2018, Jan J. Keevel composed a combination of the Dutch Tournament Rules (NTS) and Siamese Mah Jongg®. This has resulted in a refreshing, challenging, fast and entertaining game variant for two people: Xiān (暹) .

Siamese (Xiān) has been warmly welcomed by the NTS players in the Netherlands.
Siamese (Xiān) is not recommended for beginners.

The rules for Siamese Mah Jongg® (as a variant of American Mahjong) were originally written by Gladys Grad
Published with permission from Gladys Grad.


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