Dutch Language Blog

Do You Know These 14 Famous Dutchies? Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Culture

While researching  stats and articles for the post The Dutch Pastime that Dominates Headlines in the Netherlands Every New Year, I came across a round up from De Telegraaf of BN’ers who took to Twitter to wish their fans the best for the new year.

As someone who strives to be on top of pop culture in the Netherlands, I was dismayed to discover how few names I recognized. So I decided it was time to get with the program and find out who these people were.

Seeing as you’re keen on learning the Dutch language (part of which means learning about the people who speak it and the country they live in), I thought you’d want to know too.

But before I get into any of that…

What, pray tell, is a BN’er?

BN’er is an afkorting (Don’t know what an afkorting is? Click here to find out.).

B stands for Bekende, which means prominent, well-known, famous.

N’er stands for Nederlander, which means Dutch person.

Put them together, and you’ve got a BN’er (bay-en-er), or a famous Dutch person. If you’ve got more than one famous Dutch person, you’ve got yourself a group of BN’ers

Now, who are these Tweeting BN’ers and why should I care?

Georgina Verbaan is een actrice best known for playing Hedwig Harmsen in the Dutch soap opera GOEDE TIJDEN, SLECHTE TIJDEN (GTST – GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES). She went on to act in a handful of Dutch films, cut a few albums, and appear in more television shows. A vegetarian and anti-fur activist, she’s a staunch supporter of and spokesperson for the Dutch political party Partij voor de Dieren (PDD – Party for the Animals).

Wij wensen iedereen een jolig nieuw jaar! – @GVerbaan

Ruud Gullit played professional football (that’s soccer, for all our American readers) during the 1980s and 90s, earning the honors of European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. Gullit was a member of the Dutch squad at the 1990 World Cup and was captain of the team when the Dutch won the 1988 European Cup.

Happy New Year to all my Facebook and Twitter friends – @GullitR (No, I’m not gonna translate that one for you)

Roué Verveer left the comedygezelschap ComedyTrain to start doing his own shows. Since then, he’s continued his work as comedian, cabaretier, and acteur. He’s done voices for the Dutch versions of a number of family movies such as TURBO (2013), THE MUPPETS (2012), MADAGASCAR 2 (2008), and SharkTale (2004).

Vrienden, ik wens jullie een goede jaarwisseling en een gelukkig 2014 toe! – @roueverveer

Tanja Jess is actually German. Her family came to the Netherlands when she was five. Since then, she’s made a name for herself as an actrice en presentatrice. She got her start as a recurring role in GTST (are you seeing trend here?) and went on to do numerous television shows – even a musical, which is where she met her partner, presenter/singer Charly Luske.

Gelukkig 2014!! – @tanjajess

Anna-Alicia Sklias is a presentatrice and danseres. In 2011, her dance team won the title in THE ULTIMATE DANCE BATTLE. That same year, she took second place in SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. She did a few other reality television shows before taking over as hostess for the MTV program MONEY MAKERS. This year, she’ll be reprising her role as a jury member for the reality dance competition JUNIOR DANCE.

Lieverds! Geniet van jullie jaarwisseling en dat 2014 maar veel mooie dingen voor ons in petto heeft! – @Anna_AliciaS

Catherine Keyl was named a knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau for her 35-year contribution to broadcasting in the Netherlands. She is also the author of six books.

Wat een eer dat ik als een van de eersten iedereen vast een gelukkig 2014 mag wensen! – @catherinekeyl

Louis Talpe is a Flemish actor known to MEGA MINDY fans as Toby. And you’ll never guess what soap opera he played in… (What’s that you said? GTST? How’d you guess!) In August of 2013, he joined the cast of the popular TV show VERLIEFD OP IBIZA.

Allen.. We hebben er samen een vet 2013 van gemaakt, dank voor jullie tijd en liefde, tot volgend jaar, good things to come for all xxx louis – @louistalpe

Gers Pardoel is a rapper who goes by Gers. IK NEEM JE MEE is his #1 single and the hit he’s best known for. He’s won several prominent Dutch music awards.

Keiveel zin in 2014!! – @GersPardoel

Veronica van Hoogdalem was born in Germany to a Dutch mother and Ghanaian father. The presentatrice entered the limelight after she was selected as a model for Veronica’s (as in the Dutch broadcaster, not our BN’er) F.A.B.S. To this day, she’s still a presenter and VJ over at Veronica.

Alvast een HAPPY NEW YEAR voor jullie allen! Ik ga nu lekker feesten! – @Veronicaah

Lieke van Lexmond is a zangares/actrice/presentatrice/model. Best known from her roles in the Dutch soaps GOUDKUST and… wait for it… GTST! If you’ve seen the Dutch versions of GARFIELD: THE MOVIE, CARS 2, or MONSTERS & ALIENS, her voice might ring a bell. She’s collaborated with Ali B and sung on the soundtracks of several of the films and TV series she appeared in. The best way to get to know Lieke is, perhaps, from her spreads in PLAYBOY MAGAZINE in 2007 and 2008.

Lieve allemaal, dank voor een prachtig jaar! Liefs voor jullie, wens jullie veel liefde, gezondheid, passie, inspiratie voor 2014!!! – @liekevanlexmond

Pierre van Hooijdonk is a voetbalspeler. During his career, he played for clubs all across Europe. In 2008, he was a victim of fraud, losing millions of euros. He’s now a commentator for EredevisieLive.

Een gezond en gelukkig nieuwjaar!! – @pierrevh17

Mick Harren performed at the wedding of the current koning Willem Alexander and koningin Maxima. He’s released a number of albums both in English and Dutch. In fact, the song EVERLASTING FLOW from his GOOD THINGS album made it to #3 on the charts in Hong Kong in 2003.

Gezond 2014 allemaal xxx – @MickHarren

Aloys Buys is the manager of Volendam Music, a talent agency based in Volendam, the Netherlands. Clients include heavyweights in the Dutch music world like Jan Smit and Nick & Simon.

Fijne jaarwisseling en een gezond en gelukkig 2014. – @Aloysbuys

Zarayda Groenhart is yet another presentatrice. She’s hosted the shows TRY BEFORE YOU DIE and SPUITEN EN SLIKKEN and was a contestant on WIE IS DE MOL? She’s also done radio work and has written for JFK, Revu, and nrc.next.

2013. Wat een crazy ass, spannend, explosief, soms eng maar vooral geweldig jaar. Ik hef het glas met je en wens je een fantastisch 2014 toe! Ga genieten, genieten, genieten en je dromen waarmaken. Ga het avontuur aan! – @Zaraydaatje

Barbara Barend is a sports presenter and a sportjournaliste whose father, Frits Barend, is also a famous presenter and journalist. The two Barends created HELDEN MAGAZINE, a glossy magazine focusing on sports. They have their own television program BAREND & BAREND. She and her partner have two children, one delivered by her partner and the other delivered by Barend herself.

2013 heeft ons een dochter geschonken en zullen we nooit meer vergeten. Iedereen een mooi en gezond 2014 toegewenst! – @barbarabarend

Woordenschat (Vocabulary)
actrice – actress
acteur – actor
allen – everyone
alvast – in advance
comedygezelschap – comedy troupe
danseres – female dancer
eer – honor
eng – scary
expeditie – expedition
gelukkig – happy
genieten – to enjoy
geschonken – gifted/given
geweldig – great, wonderful
gezond – healthy
helden – heroes
het glas heffen – to raise a glass
in petto hebben – to have in store
jaarwisseling – end/turn of the year
jolig – cheerful, merry
keiveel – loads
koning – king
koningin – queen
lieverds – sweethearts
prachtig – beautiful
presentatrice – female presenter
presentator – presenter
slikken – to swallow
spannend – exciting, thrilling
sportjournaliste – female sports journalist
spuiten – to shoot (drugs)
verliefd – in love
vet – amazing, cool, phat
voetbalspeler – football (soccer) player
wens – wish
zangares – female singer
zanger – singer

Did you know who any of these folks were or was this all new news to you?

Give your Dutch writing skills a whirl and let us know in the comments what Ruud Gullit’s tweet would have said if he’d written it in Dutch.

Photo credit: Enrique Cardenas Hernandez (flickr user KikeXtra), Creative Commons, some rights reserved
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About the Author: tiffany

Tiffany Jansen is an American magazine and copywriter in the Netherlands.


  1. Johan:

    Wat erg 🙁 Ik kan er maar 2

  2. descargar ares:

    haha very funny post man very very funny