How to tell someone to f*** off in Dutch

Posted on 17. Nov, 2014 by in Dutch Vocabulary

Netherlands vs. Mexico (personal photograph)

Netherlands vs. Mexico (personal photograph)

Yesterday the Netherlands and Mexico played a friendly soccer match in Amsterdam. If you followed either country during the World Cup in Brazil, you know it was a very important match, at least for Mexicans. Mexico and the Netherlands faced each other, and the Netherlands beat Mexico after a controversial penalty on Robben. In Mexico, people were furious and people vented their anger with songs, t-shirts, posters and memes. Needless to say, yesterday’s game was very important. Tensions ran high and angry words were exchanged.

In matches like this one, it is very easy for your anger to go unnoticed by your loathed enemy. Therefore, it is very important that you know how to let them know you are upset, pissed, angry, and furious at their unfair play or the simple fact that they beat you. Hence, today’s post will be full of useful and a bit offensive phrases that will get your anger across very easily (and make you sound like a native speaker in the process)!

Godverdomme literally means “God damn” which is also very common in English (at least in the U.S.). I remember using “God damn it” a lot and started saying God verdom het in Dutch, but that is incorrect. In Dutch, the insult stays with God.

A very popular expression among young people is kut. In use, it is similar to fuck but actually refers to a female reproductive organ. Kut jongen is also very common.

Rot op literally means to rot off, which normally wouldn’t raise any eyebrows and would make me laugh, is equivalent to “fuck off” in English.

Rotzak or klootzak are used interchangeably for someone who is really annoying you or you find to be a total jerk (or asshole). These mean either bag of rot or bag of male genitals.

Eikel is a funny bad word because it means pinecone but is used as asshole.

Hufter means bastard or a mean person.

Schoft is a synonym of hufter.

As a language teacher, I have always found very comical how easy people learn bad words in their target language. The conjugation of verbs, prepositions, the name of common household items and the days of the week are never as easily and quickly learned as bad words. With this list you are armed to face off your biggest opponent and let him know just how much of an eikel he or she is!

Zwarte Piet – Black Pete, still there?

Posted on 15. Nov, 2014 by in Culture, News

Sinterklaas, wie kent hem niet? Sinterklaas, Sinterklaas, en natuurlijk zwarte piet! 

This is how a kinderliedje goes that is sung around Sinterklaas time. See it here:

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Natuurlijk zwarte piet. Of course! He is part of the Dutch Sinterklaasfeest and annual tradition like nothing else. White Dutch people paint themselves black and dress up as zwarte piet, the kind and nice helper of Sinterklaas. They spread pepernoten and other lekkers all over the place, give hands full to kids waiting for Sinterklaas to pass by with his pieten. It is the Dutch tradition that is celebrated by literally everyone.

However, in recent years, the pietendebat (pieten debate) began. White people painting themselves black – isn’t that blatantly racist?

One side says that it is not, as racism has never been the intention of zwarte piet, and the tradition says that piet is black. The real reason for this is not even clear. Some say they actually represent slaves of Sinterklaas that would work for him back in the days. Some have a more innocent explanation: because the pieten deliver all the presents on December 5 by climbing through the chimneys, this theory says that piet just got all black because of the roet (soot). And since there are so many chimneys, the soot would not go off anymore. There may be plenty more explanations, but the main point is that nowadays there is no racist connotation with zwarte piet among the Dutch.

The other side, however, claims that depicting zwarte piet as the dumb, black helper that works for the white Sinterklaas is patronizing and racist. This view came from other countries, raising their eyebrows upon seeing this peculiar Dutch habit. Not surprising, when you see things like this:

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They claim that this goes way too far, and should be stopped.

The solutions found this year are manifold, and the struggles to get it right for everybody are greater than ever. Some pietencentrales (companies that rent out pieten) offered pieten in different colors: purple, yellow, blue, green… Whatever you want. But that backfired: most pietencentrales got calls from their customers that wanted a confirmation that their pieten would really be black.

The official, national city where Sinterklaas will be arriving on his boat all the way from Spain this year is Gouda. The municipality also faced this issue: what to do to please everybody? That nobody feels offended, but everybody is still able to celebrate Sinterklaas as usual? Their idea: two new kinds of pieten: the stroopwafelpiet (caramel wafer piet) and the kaaspiet (cheese piet). Both very Dutch things, and why not paint a piet in the colors and patterns of kaas and stroopwafels? Well… A survey resulted in 93% saying that this would not solve the pietendebat. Bad replacement, it seems…

The Sinterklaasjournaal, the annual TV program made for children around the time of Sinterklaas, also dealt with this racial issue. In the first episode, watched by a whopping 850 thousand people, showed the normal, black pieten. Then, in the second episode, white pieten are used as helpers for Sinterklaas, because for some reason many pieten could not come from Spain to the Netherlands. One of them climbed through the chimney and came out with black roet. Personally, I think that is the best way to deal with it!

What do you think. Should it be allowed, should it be forbidden? What are your thoughts on the SinterklaasfeestGezellig or gruwelijk?

Zwarte piet

Zwarte piet

Food With Alessia 5 – Kapsalon

Posted on 14. Nov, 2014 by in Culture, Food With Alessia

This time, we tried something different. In a way traditionally Dutch, but with a lot of new cultural influences… Not old tradition, but new additions! The kapsalon.

The Dutch kapsalon (barbershop) is a very rich dish. It includes veal (shawarma meat), fries, cheese, onions, and some lettuce and tomato to top it off. And all that comes in a huge portion. Very fatty, fried and filling. But what about the origin of this strange combination?


In 2003, a Rotterdam hairdresser called the snackbar right next to him for his lunch. He had got tired of all the regular things, and asked to get a combination of shawarma meat and fries. One of his employees then offered to add the cheese and top it off with the vegetables. And this is what they got. For them, it became a little tradition.

People that went to the kapsalon to get their hair cut where surprised, and asked what the employees were having. As it did not have a name back then, the hairdressers had no idea, actually. All they could tell them was to stop by at the snackbar on the corner and ask for a kapsalon. Then they would know what to prepare!

From here on out, people started spreading the word, and the popularity even crossed the Dutch borders. You can now find the kapsalon in places all over the world, including Germany and even the United States.


Nowadays, you can find the kapsalon in the Netherlands mainly at snackbars that also offer snacks like Döner kebab, as it requires the same meat. You can even order it online. And its popularity is still on the rise…


The Kapsalon - rich with shawarma, fries, garlic sauce, cheese, and some salad

The Kapsalon – rich with shawarma, fries, garlic sauce, cheese, and some salad

What did Alessia think? Check it out in the video below.

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