And the Winner is… Scrooge McDuck?

Posted on 17. Dec, 2014 by in Dutch Vocabulary, News

Last month I wrote about the Van Dale “Word of the Year” contest. The winners have been announced and we can proceed to start using these nifty new words.

Word of 2014: dagobertducktaks

This was my number 1 choice and I am glad it won. Dagobertducktaks makes reference to Scrooge McDuck and it means a special tax placed on the super rich. There are 4 tax brackets the Dutch government uses for inkomstenbelasting. Bracket 1 for annual income of up to €19,645 is 36.25%. Bracket 2 to for income between €19,9645 and €33,363 is 42%. Bracket 3 for income between €33,363 and 56,531 is also 42%. Last but not least Bracket 4 for income over €56,531 is 52%. Sorry Scrooge McDuck! I think you will be swimming in 52% less coins!

Other winners are: 

“Young” category: aanmodderfakker

This is a creative combination between aanmodderen and motherfucker and it basically means someone without ambitions.

“Lifestyle” category: vergeetverzoek

Vergeetverzoek means to request a search engine to remove you from the search. This year the European Union agreed that people could request to have information removed from searches. I have been doing some research for my masters, and I saw a banner from Google saying some information might be unavailable due to EU regulations. Would you have information about yourself removed?

“Sport and Amusement” category: selfiestick

This one is pretty self-explanatory: a stick to make selfies. My sister told me about an iPhone case she liked that was shaped like a handheld mirror (those old fashion ones with a stick to hold onto). We talked about how it makes selfies a lot easier…Could a new word be selfiestickmobile?

“Economy” category: saldosjoemelaar

I think this one is related to dagobertducktaks. Saldosjoemelaar is someone who makes a deposit on his savings just before January 1st to avoid taxes.

“Politics” category: kamikazecoalitie

I find this word very funny because I think there should be a Spanish equivalent in Mexico. Kamikazecoalitie is a political coalition that is bound to fail.

Which one is your favorite?

Buying a House Part 2

Posted on 15. Dec, 2014 by in Culture, Dutch Language

Part 1 of this series dealt with my personal search for a house in the Netherlands. After many visits and discussions and plans, Riccardo and I selected a house we liked, in a town we liked and in the neighborhood where he grew up. It is a beautiful house with enough space for a family, as well as with a tuin big enough for cookouts, growing veggies and for Mona, our cat, to explore.

The step after picking a home was to make an offer on the vraagprijs. The art of onderhandelen is in full swing when buying a home. We were successful in bringing down the price to what both parties considered fair for the house signed the koopcontract or purchase agreement.

After that came a crucial part of buying a home: financing. We researched different banks and lending institutions to find the lowest rente and the lowest advieskosten for an hypotheek. Once we were happy with our selection, we proceeded to apply for the hypotheek. Some of the documents we needed to provide were een identiteitskaart, een arbeidsovereenkomst, een loonstrook, and een bankafschrift. Because we are planning on renovating the house, we also had to provide a budget for the renovations. In this budget we listed what we would renovate (keuken, badkamer, vloer, stucwerk) as well as the estimated costs for labor.

The hypotheek adviseur guided us throughout the application process and explained our options. We could choose for the rente to be fixed 10, 20 or 30 years, and for the payments to be fixed or to change over time. We discussed levensverzekering to cover the hypotheek as well as options in case of werkeloosheid or ziekte. We also opted for de nationale hypotheek garantie, which is clearly explained in the following video.

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Once everything was clear, the application was submitted. In about two weeks we received noticed that everything was approved and we were ready to buy the house. Riccardo called the makelaar to let him know everything was ready and we made an afspraak with the notaris to finalize the purchase.

After a final tour of the house with the former owner, we headed to the notaris and signed the purchase making the house ours. The notaris verified the information, made the transfer of money to the verkoper, de makelaar and himself, and made the purchase official. Now all that is left is to renovate and move in!

This video gives an overview of the entire financing process.

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Useful Vocabulary

het koopcontract- the purchasing agreement/contract

de rente- the rent

de hypotheek- the mortgage

de arbeidsovereenkomst- the work contract

het bankafschrift- the bank statement

de adviseur- the advisor

de levensverzekering- the life insurance

werkeloosheid- unemployment

ziekte- illness

de notaris- the notary

A new sport: Tegenwindfietsen!

Posted on 12. Dec, 2014 by in Culture

We kriehen sturm!

That the Dutch are crazy, you probably already know. However, that they invent a totally insane new sport from one day to another might still surprise you. Last year for the first time, and yesterday for the second time, the Dutch NK Tegenwindfietsen (Dutch Championship of cycling against the wind) was held. That thing that everybody hates when cycling, that stops you right there in the middle of the road, no matter how much you try to move forward… EXACTLY THAT has been used as the fundament of this new sport. And around 200 people embraced the challenge again this year.

The challenge seems easy: reach the other end of the Oosterscheldekering, one of the best known Delta Works facing the North Sea, first and you win. Though the “short” 9 kilometers  (around 5.6 miles) is very tough against a Beaufort wind force 8. Additionally, specialized race bikes, gears, and handbrakes were all not allowed. The traditional omafiets – one gear, only a back-pedal brake, good old thick tires and the great design – is perfect for this race! This year was the first time a ploegentijdrit (team time trial) was also held, where you can fight the wind with 3 others in a team.

This combination of things – the wind, the competition, and of course the traditional bicycle – makes it a much greater challenge. The wind can grow so strong that you basically stand still. But you have to keep going, even if it is so hard to get the chain around: You cannot change gears!

For this reason, the Dutch wind is sometimes also called the Dutch mountain. The Netherlands is very flat, and thus there is no real elevation that could pose a challenge – but there is a mighty wind!

Tegen de wind! Winner of 2013, Bart Brentjens (Image by NK Tegenwindfietsen at

What’s the record?

Last year, the record was set at 17 minutes and 51 seconds by Bart Brentjens. That was impossible this year, as the wind was even stronger now. This year’s winner, Wouter Mesker finished with a time of 18 minutes and 6 seconds, which is still very fast! For the female participants, the  best time was set by Nathalie Simoens at 22 minutes and 34 seconds. The best team in the ploegentijdrit was Gefeliciteerd!

Het goede doel

The profit made from the event is used for a good cause – the Jeugdsportfonds (Youth Sport Fund). Last year, 5000 euro was accumulated. Great event with a great cause, one could say!

See an interview with the initatior of Tegenwindfietsen in the video here.

Also check out the rules for the race. They are hilarious!


Would you try yourself in this challenge? Why (not)?