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My latest immersion in Dutch literature was the witty (and slightly heartbreaking) diary of Hendrik Groen. Hendrik Groen, both the name of the protagonist and the pseudonym of the writer takes us through a year of Hendrik living in a retirement home.

About the book

Photo taken by Kurt:S found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0

Het geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 83¼ jaar was first published in 2014 and became a hit, and in 2016 won the Publieksprijs voor het Nederlandse Boek, also known as Book of the Year. In this book, Hendrik promises to spill some secrets about life at the retirement home and hopes that his good friend will read it during his funeral. Throughout the novel, Hendrik shares his troubles with budget cuts at the home, the negativity and complaining of his fellow “inmates” as he calls them, and discusses current events such as the coronation of Willem-Alexander (who was nicknamed Pilsner Alexander), cutbacks to pensions and benefits for the elderly and political figures such as Mark Rutte and Henk Krol from the 50Plus party.

Hendrik has quite a funny way of narrating his story, and at the same time, he discusses some pretty difficult topics such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, growing old and dying. A few of his friends are so conflicted with the idea of not leaving the home and of wasting away their last years, that they decide to start the Old But Not Dead Club. Every few weeks, one of the members plans a unique outing. They play golf, visit a museum, take part in a cooking class and go wine tasting. All these activities bring them back to life, and the plans for upcoming trips seems to keep them going. There is also a bit of romance in the book. Hendrik becomes fond of Eefje, a new resident, and, while their relationship remains platonic throughout the novel, they keep each other company and look after each other.

Another topic that Hendrik muses over in his diary is that of euthanasie. The following text is from the website www.rijksoverheid.nl:

Wie kan om euthanasie vragen?

Euthanasie kan alleen plaatsvinden op verzoek van de patiënt. Een voorwaarde hierbij is dat de patiënt zelf wilsbekwaam is of een wilsverklaring heeft opgesteld. De patiënt kan bijvoorbeeld in de wilsverklaring aangeven dat hij euthanasie wil laten uitvoeren bij een vergevorderd stadium van een terminale ziekte.

In other words, euthanasia is only possible for people with a terminal disease as well as some cases of dementia (the latter only possible if the person left a will specifying this before dementia). Like the same website states, doctors are not obligated to fulfill a patient’s wish to die, but if they do decide to help, there are strict protocols. In the novel, Hendrik discusses it with his huisarts for himself as well as for one of his dear friends after a stroke. Through his questions and the dialogue with the doctor, Hendrik shares some of the questions and doubts related to euthanasia especially with elders.

Having just read the novel, I found it amazing to watch the trailer for the TV show.

Het geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen - TRAILER - YouTube

About the writer

When this novel was first published, the writer used the pseudonym of Hendrik Groen, but with all the publicity surrounding the Book of the Year award, the real name seems to have been discovered. An article from the Volkskrant from April 17, 2016 states:

Wie is Hendrik Groen? Aan dit gezelschapsspel dat al ruim twee jaar duurt lijkt nu een einde te komen. De zoektocht naar de ware identiteit achter de fictieve bejaarde uit Amsterdam-Noord van de ‘geheime dagboeken’ Pogingen iets van het leven te maken en Zolang er leven is leidt naar Peter de Smet, een 61-jarige inwoner van Amsterdam-Noord die verder geen boeken heeft geschreven. Hij werkte tot voor kort bij Muziekschool Noord.

Hendrik Groen published two other novels, Zolang er Leven is: Het nieuwe geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 85 jaar and Leven en laten leven.

The following video is an interview with André van Duin who plays Evert, Hendrik’s good friend. I must warn you that he speaks fast! Did you watch the series or read the book?

André van Duin over de serie Hendrik Groen - YouTube

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In this series of terms in English that contain “Dutch”, we look at the meaning of words and where the Dutch come in. Today, we look at a particular disease – the Dutch disease – and what the Dutch have to do with it. Let’s go!

Check out other “Dutch”-terms posts here.

Being sick the Dutch way

Image from pxhere.com

Dutch disease is not a medical ailment, but an economic one. So we gotta get a little economic here.

It describes the phenomenon of how one sector (for example oil extraction) growing seems to cause other sectors of the economy (say, farming) to decline. Would not be a problem, if it did not affect the country’s currency. Because oil can be sold outside of the country, the currency’s value will go up, making importing goods more expensive for other countries. However, it also means that it is cheaper to import foreign goods, because more can be bought with more valuable money. Those goods then often replace goods from sectors in the country.

It can be a bit more complicated than that, but maybe it helps to show it with a little example. The Dutch actually suffered from this disease!

How did the Dutch get involved?

Image by Jos @ FPS-Groningen at Flickr.com under license CC BY 2.0

The term Dutch disease comes from the year 1977. These were the good old days when the Dutch still had the gulden, its valuta (currency) before the euro was introduced around the turn of the eeuw (century). The Dutch economy was doing well, and it was especially happy with the gasvoorraad (natural gas reserves) that brought in a lot of welvaart (wealth) since their ontdekking (discovery) in 1959.

However, the Dutch made a foutje (little mistake). They relied too much on their gasvoorraad. By focusing uitgaven (expenditures) on extracting and exporting gas and forgetting about developing other, domestic industries, the Dutch gulden became overvalued – and Dutch exports were no longer competitive, and the Dutch economy got into huge problems – inflatie (inflation) rose, investeringen (investments) left the country. So this “Dutch disease” (Hollandse ziekte in Dutch) simply comes from the fact that the Netherlands quite recently went through such a period.

And while economists learned from this example that relying too much on one commodity can cause extreme economic issues, there are examples today. Venezuela, for example, has had Dutch disease for years.

Is there an economic term related to your country? Do you have any thoughts? Or other “Dutch”-terms you’d like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Netherlands-Belgium area has been experiencing a hittegolf or heatwave bringing temperatures to around 28 degrees Celcius which is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Each weekend, grocery stores and slagerijen are sold out (or almost) of all the delicious meats for barbecueën or grilling as well as sides and bread. Because grilling can vary a lot per country, I compiled a list of the most common Dutch grilling dishes and vocabulary to help you make a delicious summer day BBQ!

Photo taken by Mattias Hallberg found in Flickr.com with license CC BY-SA 2.0

BBQ Hulpjes

To warm up your grill, you have several options and aides. You need to look for briketten or houtskoolbriket (coal), as well as aanmaakblokjes that help start the fire faster. An aansteker such as lucifers or matches is a must, and there is also a brikettenstarter that lights up the coals quickly.

Vlees voor op de BBQ

Stokjes, spiesen or skewers are a must in Dutch grills (as I can imagine everywhere else!). You can buy all sorts of stokjes like kip, varken and vlees. There are also the seafood versions with shrimps, groentenstokjes and mixed ones. Most slagerijen sell these already gemarineerd or marinated.

Bacon is not exclusive to Dutch cuisine, but the way it is presented in the Netherlands is quite new to me. One very popular grilling meat is bacon cut in a similar way as a steak. These are also sold natural or gemarineerd. In addition to the speklapjes, you can find at the store entrecotelapjes, rosbieflapjes, and filelapjes.

Worst or sausage is another common dish in Dutch BBQs. There are many varieties, much to do with how close Germany is to us, such as bratworst, and also many marinades.

Bijgerechten

Photo taken by Suzette found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0

Bijgerechten or side dishes are also useful to know. A rundvleessalade is like a potato salad with some shredded meat. In Limburg and Brabant, this is commonly known as koude schotel or literally cold dish, but it isn’t the exact same thing as the rundvleessalade. A koude schotel is a lot more generous in the meat department than the Holland version. Albert Heijn has a delicious recipe online which you can check out here.

A popular appetizer during a BBQ is, of course, stokbrood with kruidenboter or butter with herbs. I personally like zeezoutboter better.

In regards to vegetables, aubergine and courgette are staples in the Dutch kitchen as well as potatoes and paprikas.

Sauzen

No good grill would be complete without a good variety of sauces or sauzen. While I was doing some research for this post, I found a video of a chef who said that in the Netherlands, most sauces and marinades are sweet. I am not an expert on sauces, so I cannot agree or disagree with him. The sauces I see most often are your regular sauces such as satesaus, sambasaus, knoflooksaus, and curry kruiden ketchup. The Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce tzaziki is also a popular dip/sauce.

Other Useful Words

When buying ingredients, you might run into words like biologisch which translates into organic, vegetarisch or vegetarian, and beter leven which is usually for free-range chickens and pigs. If you are ever in doubt of what to call certain things or want to expand your food vocabulary, I would suggest a visit to the grocery store websites such as Plus and Albert Heijn and just look through their product list. My mom likes to learn eating habits in the Netherlands by looking through the grocery store magazines that have recipes and tips. In these magazines you can also learn a lot of new vocabulary related to food!

In the following video, top chef Julius Jaspers gives 5 really handy tips!

Deze BBQ-tips van topchef Julius Jaspers zorgen voor een geslaagde barbecue - YouTube

What other tips would you add? How does grilling in your country differ from the Netherlands?

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While the Dutch team did not qualify for the World Cup in 2018, but the Belgians did, just like in 2016. And just a few minutes ago, the Rode Duivels (the Red Devils) won from the world-class Brazilians! So what is this team? How can this small team play such good football? Let’s have a look!

Belgium-Brazil: 2-1

Brazil v Belgium - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ - Match 58 - YouTube

The Rode Duivels play a great wereldkampioenschap (WK) (World Cup) so far. They defeated all rivaling teams in the group rounds, and now defeated Brazilië in the kwartfinale (quarter finals). After a eigen doelpunt (own-goal) by the Brazilians, the Duivels took the lead against strong Brazilians. But with a strong verdediging (defense), the Belgians keep the goal clear, and in a brilliant counter score their second goal. The Brazilians run, shoot, but just do not get through. Until the 75th minute, they keep up this great verdediging. But then, after an amazing pas (pass), the Brazilians made their first doelpunt (goal). A nerve-wrecking last 20 minutes followed, but the Belgians kept up the voorsprong. A thrill of a game!

On dinsdag (tuesday), they will face Frankrijk (France) in the half-finale (semi-finals). I am curious what will happen in that game!

De Rode Duivels

Belgian supporters (fans) after a victory against Tunisia during the Euro Cup 2016 (Image by Miguel Discart at Flickr.com under license CC BY SA 2.0)

The bijnaam (nick name) De Rode Duivels, or – as Belgium also has French and German as primary languages – Les Diables Rouges or Die Roten Teufel – was given by Pierre Walckiers, manager of the club Leopold FC and hoofdredacteur (editor in chief) of the blad (magazine) La Vie Sportive. He wrote this in a piece a day after the interland (international game) where the Duivels played against the Dutch on April 30, 1906. It was also the first time that the Belgian elftal (football team) played in rood (red).

In that game, the Dutch elftal had a voorsprong (lead) of 2-1, but in the last 15 minutes of the game, the Belgian elftal turned the game around. They made two more goals, and won the game with 3-2. According to Walckiers, they hebben gestreden als rode duivels (had fought like red devils).

And that they are devils, the Belgians showed before in the match against Japan, where they had a 3-2 comeback after having had two goals against them.

Belgium v Japan - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ - Match 54 - YouTube

And over the years, the Belgians did not get worse. Currently, de Rode Duivels have been undefeated for 24 games. 19 overwinningen (wins) and 5 gelijkspel (ties)! In august 2016, the team got a new coach, Robert Martinez, and a new trainer, the legendary Frenchman Thierry Henry. And look at them! They did it again!

Will de Rode Duivels become the wereldkampioen, for the first time for the country? Are you rooting for the Belgians? Or do you think a team will get in their way? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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One of the many things I like about living in the Netherlands is the care given to the environment. This care is for a variety of areas of the environment including protected areas, wildlife as well as pets. There are many projects throughout the country that have struck me as echt fantastisch and in this post, I want to cover just three of these projects.

Photo taken by David van der Mark found in Flickr.com with license CC BY-SA 2.0

Ecoduct Kikbeek

My first drive from Brussels Airport to my little town of Beek in Limburg made quite an impact. It was on this drive that I realized learning Dutch would be quite a challenge (you can read about my struggle with the sound ui in this post). During this same drive, I saw my first ever ecoduct or dierenviaduct between Genk and Maasmechelen in Belgium, and I was truly amazed! I have a profound love for animals, and making a path to keep the animals (and cars) safe seemed like a very good solution. According to Paradijs Vogels Magazine, there are 66 ecoducten in the Netherlands. The ecoduct is basically a bridge over the highway or railroad that connects the natural area from one side to the other. This allows animals to move freely without running the risk of crossing the highway keeping everyone safe.

The downside to ecoducten is the cost. Each one costs between 2 and 8 million euros, and that is a high price for any country. There are arguments that the number of animals that use the bridge is low compared to the cost, but it seems the real problem is the lack of oversight to the benefits. This article by NRC.nl states:

Maar biologen vinden de situatie niet ‘simpel’. Zoals Hans-Peter Koelewijn, die DNA-onderzoek uitvoerde bij edelherten op de Veluwe: “Ecoducten kunnen werken, maar toon dat dan eens een keer goed aan. Er is geen of nauwelijks aandacht voor gerichte monitoring, alleen maar voor het aanleggen.” Of ecoloog Edgar van der Grift van instituut Alterra, onderzoeker van wildviaducten: “Dragen de ecoducten bij aan het in stand houden van diersoorten? Dat weten we niet.” 

Ecoducten are not exclusive to this area of the world. There are different types of bridges and animals passes such as a schilpad route under the railroad tracks in Japan, a tunnel for penguins in New Zealand, and a touwenbrug for birds in Australia. You can read more about these tunnels and bridges in the Paradijs Vogels Magazine.

The following video is from a year ago, but it presents why the region of Gelderland wanted two new ecoducten built.

De Provincie Gelderland wil 2 nieuwe ecoducten laten bouwen - YouTube

Greenest Transferium in Den Bosch

When it comes to parking structures, we all can safely assume that these are full of steel, concrete and nothing of interest. In Den Bosch, however, a new car park connecting drivers to public transport has become the greenest car park in the Netherlands because it is fully powered by solar energy, and has extended the natural areas to the car park giving insects and small animals a continuation of their natural habitat. The website of the city of Den Bosch says the following about the animal protection aspect of this car park:

Waar moeten bijenhotels, vogelhuizen en vleermuiskasten aan voldoen als ze komen te hangen aan het nieuwe P+R transferium Deutersestraat? Het antwoord op deze vraag zochten Milieu-leerlingen van het Helicon MBO uit. Om ervoor de zorgen dat ook kleine dieren hun plekje weten te vinden rond het transferium riepen we de hulp van Helicon-leerlingen in. Zij schreven niet alleen het adviesrapport maar leverden ook bouwtekeningen. Studenten van het Koning Willem I College bouwden er vogelhuizen, vleermuiskasten en bijenhotels van. Het hout dat de leerlingen van het KWIC gebruikten is onder andere van bomen die zijn gekapt voor de bouw van het transferium. Nadat ze zijn gekapt zijn ze geschonken aan Stichting Stadshout Den Bosch. 

The construction of this car park also took into consideration recycled material and gave students the opportunity to learn while helping. The following video shows how the different “animal hotels” were made.

Tweede leven voor bomen Deutersestraat - YouTube

Plastic-Cleaning Dogs

This last project is earth friendly with canine help! Alex van Eck, an ICT manager in the Netherlands, is also an avid nature walker. After a trip to Curaçao, he realized the gravity of plastic littering on our oceans.  He set out to train his dog Joy, a Labrador, to pick up any plastic bottles during their walk. With this activity, both Alex and Joy are making their dent in plastic waste while at the same time stimulating Joy’s brain. Joy even has a backpack where they hold all the plastic bottles that are later disposed of properly.

Alex said the following for an article in the Volkskrant:

‘Als je alleen afval opruimt, voel je je zo’n boomknuffelaar op geitenwollen sokken. Samen met je hond is het een leuk spel, dat ook nog eens de aandacht trekt van mensen die ik tegenkom’, zegt Van Eck. Zo hoopt hij andere hondenbezitters te inspireren zijn voorbeeld te volgen. Zijn oudste zoon maakte het Instagramaccount @enjoycleaningup. De eerste hondenbezitter die reageerde en liet weten hetzelfde te gaan doen, woont in het Amerikaanse Texas, vertelt Van Eck. De ict-manager is een samenwerkingsverband aangegaan met de hondenscholen van Martin Gaus, waar nu 120 Nederlandse hondenbezitters hun huisdier laten trainen in de afvaljacht.

What is interesting about this project is that it not only helps the environment but also has a very conscious animal-friendly background. In the Netherlands, a good portion of people who get a dog follow a puppycursus where they learn to stimulate their dog through games and activities. There are also many organizations that protect animals such as the dierenbeschermingscentrum, the dierenpolitie and the dierenambulance. You can read more about these organizations on a previous post I wrote.

There are other people with similar cleaning projects. The following video tells the story of a man who taught his dog to clean, but was fined by the city council for having the dog without a leash during the clean up walks.

Bekeuring voor loslopende hond: 'Dit is onredelijk' - YouTube

What other environment-friendly projects do you know about?

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Picture the following: You are op bezoek bij (visiting) your friend, and you start talking about these old mutual friends you have. It’s been years! And you will see them in just a few days! So your friend tells you: doe ze de groetjes van mij! (Say hi to them for me!). Sounds familiar? Not surprising. The Dutch like to say hi. What is this tradition, and how do you handle it?

What is de groeten doen?

Groeton - YouTube

First, let’s look at what de groetjes doen (literally “to do the greetings”, or simply “to say hi to sb.”) means. A groet is just a greeting. The verb groeten means to greet somebody, for example if you see somebody on the street or in the supermarket. So it can be equated to “saying hi”. In a letter, you would end with met vriendelijke groeten (with kind regards) if it is formal. See this post for more on that. In a more informal setting, even the ending groet (regards) is accepted.

So, you groet someone. That is not very different from any other culture. But where it gets interesting is when somebody tells you to give your regards to another person, to say hi for them. It is not that other cultures don’t do that, it is that the Dutch do it all the time!

A Manual To De Groeten Doen

Barack, doe je Michelle wel even de groeten? (Image by Minister-president Rutte at Flickr.com under license CC BY 2.0)

So how does it work? There are three people involved:

The groetendoener (greetings-doer)

The groetendoener tells the boodschapper to do the groeten to the ontvanger. Mostly because the groetendoener is not in frequent contact with the ontvanger, but also would like to let them know that they are not forgotten.

The boodschapper (messenger)

The boodschapper has no stakes in the whole affair: They just deliver the groet. Because it is such a mundane affair, a lot of people just forget doing it. Because everyone forgets about doing de groeten, it is not a big deal if you do! However, what is considered rude is if the boodschapper tells the groetendoener no when they ask to give the ontvanger de groeten. So, if somebody tells you to do de groeten, just accept, and say, zal ik doen! (Sure thing, I’ll do it!)

The ontvanger (recipient)

The ontvanger is told byFu the boodschapper: Ik moet je de groetjes doen van … (de groetendoener) (I need to do you de groeten from …). The ontvanger says dankjewel (thank you) to the boodschapper, of course, for delivering the message. But what can the ontvanger do to show the groetendoener their respect and mutual feelings? Obviously, they could just pick up the phone, or open whatever sociale media (social media) they (have and shoot the groetendoener a message. But there is a more convenient way:

Groetjes terug! (return the greetings!)

So… Yeah. The boodschapper always loses. As long as the boodschapper does not ignore this cycle or forgets, the groetjes can go back and forth forever!

Groetjes!

Groetjes! (Image by JuniperPhoton at Unsplash.com)

Apart from doei! or Tot ziens! after visiting friends, they may also say bye with groetjes! (regards!), without specifying to whom. Likely, this just came from the tradition of de groeten doen, and is to mean that you tell close family and friends that are mutual about the visit. But it is a lot less compulsory or directed as de groeten doen.

Fun or terrible?

Image by author

There are some negative voices about this practice as well. Obviously. Why, in the world of the internet, would we do something like this? Why not just contact the ontvanger directly? And why even bother, because apparently the person is not even close enough for a phone call or simple text message.

But is it not also just a nice way to remind people of each other, that there was some social contact between the groetendoener and the ontvanger, and that is not because they don’t want to be in touch anymore, but just because they are in different places? A friend of mine always tells me to do de groeten to my mom, who is a teacher. We were both in her class. Obviously, it has been some time we were in her class, I see her often, but she barely ever sees her. So by commanding me to give her de groeten, my mother is reminded of that nice person she once taught. It is part of the Dutch gezelligheid.

What do you think? Is this nice, or rather rude, putting this burden on the boodschapper? Do you have similar tradition in your country? Let me know in the comments below!

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Welcome to a new series here at the Dutch blog, discussing verkeerssituaties (traffic situations) and verkeersborden (traffic signs) in the Netherlands. Even though the verkeersregels (traffic rules) are not that different in the Netherlands, there are a few key differences. Today, we discuss why there are barely any stopborden (stop signs) in the Netherlands.

Stop!

A new stopbord in Maastricht. The indication verkeerssituatie gewijzigd (traffic situation changed) warns road users that they should pay extra attention now that the sign is there (Image by author).

As we know, a stopbord means that the approaching bestuurder (driver) must come to a complete stop and voorrang geven (yield way) to any passing weggebruikers (road users) before proceeding.

This means that it can only be used if there are voorrangswegen (priority roads). These were only introduced in 1936 in the Netherlands. During the German occupation, the first stop sign was introduced, which compelled drivers to come to a complete stop.

However, for some reason, there are not many of these signs in the Netherlands. Why not? Are there no dangerous kruisingen (crossings) in the Netherlands? Do people drive a lot more responsibly?

No.

There is an alternative.

Haaientanden

Haaientanden in the Helmstraat, Maastricht. The car is giving way to the fietsers (bicyclists) (Image by author)

Instead of stopborden, the Dutch rely heavily on haaientanden (shark’s teeth). These are white triangles placed on the weg (road) where you would normally expect a stopstreep (stop line). Officially, the Nederlands Reglement Verkeersregels en Verkeerstekens (RVV) (Dutch Regulation traffic rules and traffic signs (RVV)) of 1990 calls these haaientanden differently: voorrangsdriehoeken (yield triangles). Their betekenis (meaning):

Haaietanden hebben de volgende betekenis: de bestuurders moeten voorrang verlenen aan bestuurders op de kruisende weg.

(Shark’s teeth have the following meaning: the drivers must yield way to the drivers on the crossing street.)

Notice how in 1990, haaietanden was written without the n between haaie and tanden. This is related to a spelling change in 1995, where this tussen-n (between-n) was added. More on that in an upcoming post!

The name haaientanden comes from the similarity of the triangles to shark’s teeth.

Not such clear give way lines in the UK (Image by Phil Champion at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 2.0)

I personally think that haaientanden are very well designed. In contrast to Give Way lines, as in the UK pictured above, haaientanden point at you. They are like spears that could pierce your tires – that “threat” inclines you to slow down and stop. Very effective!

However, this is not always safe enough. The haaientanden only require bestuurders to give way, not to come to a complete stop. That is still safer, even if it is slower. This is the reason why the stopbord with a stopstreep were installed in Maastricht, the one in the first picture. However, the use of the stopbord is not very widespread, perhaps because traffic flow has a higher priority – which could explain the large amount of rotondes (roundabouts) in the country – but more on that another time!

Is the stopbord used a lot in your country? Do you have an alternative solution, and what do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Summer seems like the perfect time to listen to music in Dutch and practice the language on your way to your summer holiday. In this post, I would like to recommend the Dutch rapper Ali B.

Photo taken by Congres in Beeld found on Flickr.com with license CC BY-ND 2.0

Ali B is a Dutch rapper of Moroccan descent who has taken the music scene by storm. He isn’t only popular as a singer but also a cabaretier or stand-up comedian, actor and judge and coach for the famous Dutch TV show “The Voice of Holland.”

Ali B’s journey as a singer began young, and one of his first accomplishments related to music was in 2000 and 2001 when he won a poetry slam in Almere. In 2002, he was the runner-up for the show Grote Prijs van Nederland under rap/hip-hop category. After the show, he was offered a contract with Warner Musi, and shortly after he released his first single Waar Gaat Dit Heen? or Where is this going?

ALI B - 'WAAR GAAT DIT HEEN?' FT. KARIMA - YouTube

In the lyrics, you can spot three different ways to express “where is this going to?”

Waar gaat dit heen?
Waar gaat dit toch nou naar toe

and later on

Waar dit heen gaat en waar dit naar toe lijdt

In 2004, Ali B collaborated with the Dutch famous singer Marco Borsato with the song Wat Zou Je Doen and they presented this at a concert in de Kuip. What makes me like this song is the cultural representation of both singers. Despite their different musical genres, they came up with this great song that mixes the best of both talents and genres.

Marco Borsato, Ali B. - Wat Zou Je Doen - YouTube

If you watch TV in the Netherlands, you will see Ali B everywhere. He has been featured in several shows, he comes out in commercials and he is, as I mentioned before, one of the judges for The Voice of Holland. He is quite a charismatic person, and, in my opinion, has become a type of poster boy in the Netherlands. This does not mean that his fame and his background haven’t come with controversies and opposition (which famous person can say that?). He simply seems to be a hard working person who enjoys what he does and is pulling in young talent to the Dutch music industry.

I leave you with my favorite video from Ali B. The song is titled Leipe Mocro Flavour which means dangerous/awesome Morroquian flavor. I think the video is super funny, and I am still wondering why a snapshot of Mexico City appears in minute 1:52. Does anyone know?

ALI B - 'LEIPE MOCRO FLAVOUR (REMIX)' FT. YES-R EN BRACE - YouTube

What do you think of Ali B and his music? Do you have any other recommendations of music in Dutch?

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I don’t know if you missed it, but there is a huge sportevenement (sports event) happening right now: The Wereldkampioenschap Voetbal (The Football World Cup) in Rusland (Russia). And while the Dutch elftal did not qualify, all Dutch eyes are on this Wereldkampioenschap. Who will win it? Learn here some vocabulary and how the Dutch follow this World Cup!

Voetbal in Nederland

Check out this video at YouTube.

Voetbal is one of the most popular sports of the Netherlands. And the Dutch men team used to be very good, with incredible results, such as the 1-5 win at the wereldkampioenschap in 2014. In fact, the Netherlands became third, and so is officially the third best team in the world! However, in recent years, the Dutch team has not done very well in kwalificatiewedstrijden (qualification matches). It was not part of the UEFA Europees Kampioenschap (EK) (European Championship) in 2016, nor did it qualify for the World Cup in Russia that is going on right now.

However, the Dutch still feverishly follow the wereldkampioenschap. All games are broadcast live on Dutch TV, with commentaar (commentary) and besprekingen (discussions) afterwards. You can watch it all live here, if your location allows it.

Elftal and other words

Dutch star player Arjen Robben at the EK 2012 (Image by Football ua at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 3.0)

What is a voetbalelftal? Literally, it is a “football eleven-count”, so eleven (elf) of something in football. Because a football team has eleven players, it is synonymous to “football team”. It is almost exclusively used with this sport (sport), and so it is almost always just simply shortened to elftal.

What about other terms?

Buitenspel – offside. Buitenspel literally means “outside game”. So in the buitenspelpositie staan (to stand in the offside position), means that you are standing somewhere where you are outside the game. And that reflects the rule pretty well – you cannot participate in the game in that position, if you get a ball played to you.

A schop or trap is a “kick”, and these words are used in many football terms:

  • strafschop (penalty kick) (though the word “penalty” is also used a lot in Dutch);
  • vrije trap (free kick);
  • doeltrap (goal kick);
  • hoekschop (corner kick) (though the word “corner” is also used a lot in Dutch);
  • aftrap (kick off)…

There are other terms as well, of course:

  • inworp (throw-in);
  • schot (strike);
  • overtreding (foul);
  • zijlijn (sideline);
  • Het is een doelpunt! (It’s a goal!);
  • doel (goal);
  • gele kaart (yellow card);
  • rode kaart (red card);
  • paal (post);
  • bal (ball);
  • (voetbal)schoenen (cleats);
  • rennen (to run);
  • keeper (goal keeper);

Another interesting one is tackle, a word that the Dutch use in the same way as English speakers. This is also the case for the sliding tackle, or simply sliding.

A sliding (Image public domain at Commons.wikimedia.org)

Are you watching the World Cup? What do you think about this sport? What is a very popular sport in your country? And are there some striking (no pun intended) sports terms in your language? Let me know in the comments below!

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There has been a video going around about Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, cleaning up after spilling some coffee while entering a building.

Photo taken by EU2017EE found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0

After the video went viral, The Washington Post has named him a symbol of etiquette while other news sources have called the bluff on his publicity stunt. Regardless of the reasons behind it, Rutte did attempt to clean up his coffee while the custodial staff provided him with the tools and some encouragement.

But who is this coffee-cleaning Minister-President of the lowlands?

Bio

Mark Rutte was born on February 14, 1967, in The Hague. He comes from your average Dutch family from South Holland. Rutte focused on arts during his high school years but switched to history in college. He attended Leiden University and completed his masters there. After his studies, he began working at Unilever, and since the early 90s has been an active member of the VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie). 

KOFFIE MORSEN: Beelden van dweilende premier Mark Rutte gaan wereld over - YouTube

Politics

Rutte traded his business career for politics in 2002. He was state secretary for Sociale Zaken and later Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap. In 2006 he became fractievoorzitter or party leader in the Tweede Kamer.  In 2010, under Rutte’s leadership, the VVD became the biggest party in the Netherlands holding 31 of the 150 seats, and the term nicknamed Rutte I began. In 2012, Rutte II began when the VVD won 41 seats, the highest ever held for the party, and became the first cabinet since 1998 that completed their elected session. Last year’s election was also favorable for the VVD and Rutte became Prime Minister a third time. We are now in the Rutte III period.

Mark Rutte’s time as Minister President has been received with mixed feelings. Some give him and his cabinet credit for getting the Netherlands out of the financial crisis much better than other European countries. This, of course, meant cuts and changes, which has won him much criticism. One of the most controversial decisions of his cabinet was to increase the pensioenleeftijd or the retirement age, which many found outrageous.

Mark Rutte has become quite a public figure in the Netherlands. He has certainly embraced social media to promote the work the cabinet does (even though his opponent, Geert Wilders, seems to have higher social media reach).

As an outsider, I find Mark Rutte and the majority of Dutch politicians quite down to earth, at least compared to the U.S. You can see them riding their bikes to the work in The Hague, wait for taxis at the airport in New York, and, this week, cleaning up the coffee they spilled. It seems the modest, down-to-earth Dutch mentality is present even in the highest offices.

Binnenhofhufters - YouTube

What do you think of Mark Rutte and Dutch politicians in general?

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