Rainy Days Make me Want to Bake

Posted on 27. Aug, 2014 by in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

Summer seems to be over in the Netherlands. Most days have been bewolkt and the sun only makes short appearances. The temperatures have also cooled down and an umbrella is a must in my purse.

These days have brought out the inner bakker in me. Perhaps its because I’ve been drinking more tea to stay warm, or perhaps I like the warmth of the oven. Regardless of the reason, I have been experimenting a bit with baking, and with it, the words and customs of it in the Netherlands.

My first bak experiment was with my grandma’s cookie recipe. The ingrediënten I needed were bloem, suiker, zout, bakpoeder, kaneel, dooiers, ei, and the most difficult ingredient to find: shortening. I learned with this project that everyday baking in the Netherlands doesn’t require shortening. I stood in front of the butter section of the grocery store (someone told me I could find shortening there) for about 20 minutes sorting out the different types of butter hoping to find something similar to bakvet. When that failed, I spent another 20 minutes in front of the baking section looking through the boxes to see what ingrediënten were used instead of bakvet. Most recipes called for roomboter which is a creamy version of butter, but this is made from milk, and what I needed was vegetable fat.

It took over an hour for me to consider that perhaps the specialty baking store nearby might have shortening. Someone has to have shortening, right? Lucky for my grandma’s recipe and me, the store did have shortening, and the very nice woman told me they always have it in stock. She could even order bigger cans if need be.

My second baking experiment was an appelflap or an apple strudel. Some months ago, Riccardo and I ate a very delicious appelflap in a small bakkerij in Amsterdam and since then, I have longed for one. It turned out to be a very simple endeavor because in the frozen food section, you can find bladerdeeg, which comes in plakjes or pre-cut slices. You only need to prepare your filling, stuff and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. I was set on appelflap so I simply peeled and chopped one apple, mixed in about 2 theelepeltjes of suiker, a dash of kaneel and citroensap.

The appelflap was delicious, and I am now eager to learn to bake what Limburg is most famous for: taart (which is actually called a vlaai in Limburg dialect)! I found this video and I cannot decide which I like most. What do you think?


YouTube Preview Image


Useful Vocabulary:

bakken- to bake

mengen- to mix

de bakker- baker

de bloem- the flour

de boter- the butter

de roomboter- the creamy butter

de suiker- the sugar

het bakpoeder- the baking poweder

het zout- the salt

het kaneel- the cinnamon

de dooiers- the egg yolks

het ei- the egg

het bakvet- the shortening/the baking fat

het ingredient- the ingredient

de appelflap- the apple strudel

de bakkerij- the bakery

het bladerdeeg- the puff pastry

de plakjes- the slices

het theelepeltje- the teaspoon

het eetlepeltje- the tablespoon

de oven- the oven

de mixer- the mixer

de maatbeker- the measuring cup

5W Questions

Posted on 25. Aug, 2014 by in Dutch Grammar

Asking a question is an important part of communicating. Questions are the means to how we get more information and help us understand our surroundings. This is why learning how to phrase questions in our target language is very important. We can ask for directions, for clarification, for explanation and for reasons.

In the U.S., students learn about the 5W and 1H questions, particularly in English class. These questions are especially useful to assess reading comprehension, and transcend to our daily lives. It is fair to consider these questions an assessment of life comprehension.

The 5W and 1H questions in English are Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I am unfamiliar if in the Netherlands students are taught these questions in a similar manner; they certainly could be called the same way.

Wie                   Who

Wat                  What

Wanneer          When

Waar                Where

Waarom          Why

Hoe                   How

In Dutch, just like in English, these question words go at the beginning of the sentence and allow the reader/listener to understand that you will be asking a question. After the vraagwoord, you add the conjugated verb or persoonvorm, then the subject, and, if needed, the rest of the question.

Vraagwoord    +      persoonvorm    +    subject    +    rest

Wie                                    heeft                              mijn jas?

Wat                                   is                                    jou telefonnummer?

Wanneer                         is                                    het muziekfestival?

Waar                                ga                                   je                    voor vakanzie?

Waarom                          ben                                 je                     boos?

Hoe                                   gaat                               het                  met jou?

Other vraagwoorden are hoeveel which is the equivalent of “how many” and welk (for het words) or welke (for de words) which means “which” or “which one.”

For practice, read the following text about Rembrandt and think back on your primary school days. Ask yourself the 5W and 1H questions. You will not only put into practice your question structure, but you will also check if you truly comprehended the text or if you need to read it once more.

Rembrandt van Rijn werd in 1606 of 1607 in Leiden geboren als zoon van een Molenaar. Hij stierf in 1669 in Amsterdam. Hij wordt algemeen gezien als een van de belangrijkste schilders van de Gouden Eeuw, een zeer belangrijke periode in de Nederlandse geschiedenis waarin het land een ongekende economische en culturele groei doormaakte. Er is maar weinig over zijn leven bekend, maar we weten dat hij door zijn ouders op 14-jarige leeftijd in de leer is gedaan bij de Leidse schilder Jacob van Swanenburgh en later nog een korte tijd bij de Amsterdamse schilder Pieter Lastman.

(Text taken from the Dutch Proficiency Test by Transparent Language)

Sample questions:

Wie is Rembrandt?

Wat is de Gouden Eeuw?

Wanneer stierf Rembrandt?

Waar is Rembrandt geboren?

Waarom was de Gouden Eeuw een belangrijke periode?

Hoe leerde Rembrandt schilderen?

Lost & Found: A meteorite?

Posted on 23. Aug, 2014 by in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary, News

What happened?

Last Monday night, some burglars seemed to be quite confused. They stole a very important meteoriet (meteorite) from the Dutch sterrenwacht (observatory) and museum Sonnenborgh, which was found in 1925. However, they did not seem to know that the brandkast (safe) they stole contained the 2-inch stone. The museum director Bas Nugteren said they were looking for money, but that they could not have found much in his building. According to him, it was an accident that they stole the stones.

Een meteoriet (Image by Pieter VanderLinden at Flickr.com)

Unfortunately, the meteorite was broken, but found back yesterday, on Friday morning. Two tennis players were looking for their tennis ball when they found the stones in de bosjes (in the bushes) in a plastic bag. They handed them over to the politie (police). On the news, Mr. Nugteren had asked the dieven (thieves) to return the stones, as they do not have any market value, but are cultural and historical items without a price. And so they did on Friday.

Meteorites in the Netherlands

Maybe you are surprised that meteorites have fallen in a small country like the Netherlands, but I can assure you: they have! In fact, many were never found. There are just too many woods where they could have landed. Five, however, were discovered. One of them is this one, the Ellemeet, found in 1925. The others:

1840 – one found close to Uden.

1843 – one found close to Utrecht.

1873 – one found close to Diepenveen.

1925 – the Ellemeet found close to Ellemeet.

1990 – Glanerburg-meteoriet found close to Glanerburg.

It is estimated that the Ellemeet is 4.6 billion years old! So it is fortunate it was found back, but a shame it is broken now… However, it is still large enough and interesting enough to be displayed in the museum. A big relief for the Netherlands!

A video about the news can be found here (hopefully it is available in your country!):



Vocabulary on meteorites and space:

meteoriet - meteorite

de ruimte - space

het heelal - the universe

de ster - the star

sterrenwacht - observatory

donker - dark

de hemel - sky/heaven

de lucht - air/sky

vallen - to fall

vallende ster - shooting star