Tag Archives: Dutch


This is the Dutch word for pet insurance.

It makes sense now that I know more Dutch words, but it’s still a mouthful. Sheesh!


I had to buy some material yesterday.

After making my selections, I approached the woman across the large cutting table and handed her my bolts.

Then added: “Ik spreek alleen een beetje Nederlands.”  (I only speak a little Nederlands.)

She looked at me, smiled (phew! this is always a tenuous situation for me as I have had mixed responses to this small utterance) and said: “Wat is uw eigentaal?” …………….. Yay! I know what this means!! (What is my mother tongue?)  “Engels,” I replied.

“Well, we can speak English if you like.”

“Dank u, maar ik zal spreken Nederlands.” (Thank you, but I will (try to) speak Nederlands.)

As she was cutting my material, she said to me, “Uw Nederlandse klinkt goed.” (Your Dutch sounds good) MY DUTCH SOUNDS GOOD!!!!!!

“Oh, DANK U WEL!!!” (Thank you so much.)

She said in English, “Your few words sound like a Dutch person.”

I was beaming, to say the least.

First friend date

Even though I have been here for over a year and a half, today was my first new friend date! After our Dutch class, Feli and I went for coffee in the city. Feli is from Romania and has a similar story as me, coming here for our fellas. 

It is very strange for me to have not made friends with people already as I have when I lived in other countries, but the difference here has been that I live amongst the boers (farmers) and have not been involved in many social situations. It is so nice to have made a nice friend now!!! Yay!!!

Dutch bike paths

A great little video on how and why the Dutch have such extraordinary bike paths. I even learned a thing or two!


Bike ride sights + an unexpected furry encounter

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remember these candies?

The tiny, sliced layers of licorice, rolled ones with coconut…and the ones with little beads.

Turns out they taste way better when they are fresh, as they are here thanks to the Dutch + their  love of the dropje.

old-timey licorice candies

in learning the Dutch language…

The Dutch letter IJ and other fun language stuff

The Dutch alphabet (equally for the Netherlands and Belgium; there is only one standard language and one alphabet) has 26 letters. The last three letters are x, y, z. In many Dutch primary schools they are taught it as x, ij;  the y —when spelling— is called “Griekse y” (= “Greek y”), but pronounced “Griekse ei”, or just “ij”. Also “i-grec”, which is a French loan. This may be because the example IJsbeer (polar bear) is easy to understand for six-year-olds, but words that start with a Y are invariably difficult and learned naturally.

So, not  only do I have to contend with additional (IJ) and sometimes-nonexistent letters (y), I have to roll my Rs, make hairball noises with Gs and CHs, differentiate between gender and neutral nouns and take a deep breath before pronouncing the endless string of  single words, like arbeidsongeschiktheidsverzekering (unemployment insurance). And how about nine consonants in a row: slechtstschrijvend (worst writing)?!

They like their skating


When the canals freeze over —or when a tennis court is flooded with water— the Dutch don their skates and make for the ice. I’ve seen many news articles with the community shovelling snow to make way for a clear and bump-free skating area. Another thing they love about all the frozen canals is a rare event called Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour): Between the 11 northern cities, a speed skating competition is formed when all of the ice freezes and stays frozen —along the 200km route— for a specific amount of time and the thickness is 15 cm. Water pumps along the canals are switched off so the water stays put and can freeze. This takes place in a northern part of the Netherlands called Friesland. Locals, skaters, spectators and the media anxiously await daily updates of the ice progress. You see, this competition is rare because it happens so infrequently; in fact, the last one was held in 1997! There have only been 15 in the last century. So, you can see why the Dutch are so excited!! For the last few days the news is all about the Elfstedentocht. “Hope for the ice.” “Chances receding.” “Will the weather hold?” The whole country was most likely involved in the collective sigh heard this morning when the news turned for the worse, but it is not the end of the highly-anticipated competition: The ice is now 8-15 cm thick with a thaw predicted for the weekend, BUT another freeze to follow next week, so all is not over yet for the 16,000 speed- and leisure-skaters. The funniest thing I have seen though, is another event within the Elfstedentocht callen klunen (walking on skates). Where the skaters must walk on their skates via carpeted pathways to get between the jogs of ice. Some of the skaters make it look easy…running along the carpet to get to the next patch of ice sans hand-holds or anything to help keep you upright. Not everyone can make this look graceful though. Klunen in Bolsward Elfstedentocht 1985

Update: The skate extravaganza did not run again this year. The weather was too mild.


I wonder if I…

I wonder if I come across as a social retard in other languages too?
Well, regardless, I am super happy that I made it out to my new friends’ home today. We meant to practice more Dutch, but it was more a get-to-know-you kind of friend-date.
Hopefully, I didn’t say anything stupid.

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