The present paper deals with the acquisition of finiteness in German and Dutch child language. More specifically, it discusses the assumption of fundamental similarities in the development of the finiteness category in German and Dutch L1 as postulated by Dimroth et al. (2003). A comparison of German and Dutch child corpus data will show that Dimroth et al.'s assumption can be maintained as far as the overall development of the finiteness category is concerned. At a more fine-grained level, however, German and Dutch children exhibit different linguistic behaviour. This concerns in particular the means for the expression of early finiteness and the status of the auxiliary hebben/haben 'to have'. The observed differences can be explained as the result of target language specific properties of the input.