Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Blitz: The Game That’s Not Dutch At All! Posted by on Oct 24, 2019 in Culture, Dutch Language

In another post in our series on “Dutch”-terms, we are looking at another economic term, like the “Dutch disease” post last time. Today, we will look at the Dutch Blitz – what is it about? Let’s find out.

Check out other “Dutch”-terms posts here.

A not-so-Dutch Card Game

Dutch Blitz, as it turns out, is a kaartenspel (card game). It was designed by German immigrant Werner Ernst George Muller in the early 1970s. Muller was an opticien (optometrist), and with the game he intended for kinderen (children) to learn kleuren (colors) and getallen (numbers) more easily. It is in many ways similar to the older German kaartenspel Ligretto.

Dutch Blitz stands out with its Dutch Pennsylvanian, Amish attributes. The art style is typically Amish and the caption of the game says that it is “A Vonderful Goot Game!” – Pennsylvanian Dutch. However, the Pennsylvanian Dutch are not Dutch as we know it today.

You see, the English word for Dutch comes from a confusing time in toponyms for the Netherlands and Germany. The same word referred to the Dutch and the Germans, and this is why the people from the Netherlands are now known as the Dutch, and the people from Germany as Germans.

However, before this confusion was cleared up, early settlers from Germany ended up in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th eeuw (century). And so in that period, these settlers became known as the Pennsylvanian Dutch, or, as these Germans referred to themselves back then, Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsche.

Image by author based on image from pxhere.com, public domain.

So really, Dutch Blitz is not at all related to the Dutch, unlike many of the other Dutch-terms we’ve looked at thus far! Perhaps the only thing related is that in English, the “Hollanders” are now referred to as “Dutch”. If they had stuck with Nederlandsch (Nederlands today) from the start, English would probably call the Dutch “Netherlanders” with their “Netherlandic” games!

So, what about the game, how does it work? Well, the makers (producers) of the kaartenspel made a “vonderful” video about it, see above!

Have you heard of Dutch Blitz before? Or have you even had the chance to play it? Do you know about more things that are called “Dutch” but actually refer to the Pennsylvanian Dutch? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.