Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Songs to Wash Your Hands Posted by on Mar 12, 2020 in News

Last week, Sten wrote a very interesting post about the coronavirus developments in the Netherlands. Like Sten mentioned, the Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezonheid en Milieu (RIVM) has made a few key recommendations. In this post, I would like to explore some of these recommendations.

Photo taken by Tom Page found on Flickr.com with license CC BY-SA 2.0

Handen Wassen

According to information from RIVM and the World Health Organization, correctly washing our hands is crucial. Unless you work in the gezondheidssector or health sector, you probably don’t have ample training in this very simple task. I found a very informative and catchy video from a university hospital in Belgium that tells you exactly how you should wash your hands. The steps are as follows:

  1. 2 keer zeep pompen
  2. Handpalm tegen handpalm
  3. Handpalm over handrug
  4. Vingers kruisen en handpalm tegen handpalm
  5. Achterzijde vingers
  6. Duim en duimmuis
  7. Nagelbed en vingertoppen

If you have the right moves to wash your hand, it is also important that you don’t rush through the process. Je hoef geen haast te hebben! In the U.S., the standard wash-your-hands-song is Happy Birthday, and the now very popular Baby Shark song. If you are looking to add to your repertoire of hand-washing songs and want to practice Dutch, I have the following suggestions.

Twee violen en een trommel en een fluit

This song is an alternative to the “Lang zal ze leven” happy birthday song and allows for some nice long vowels to make more time.

Twee violen en een trommel en en fluit
Want jij bent nu jarig en de vlagen hangen uit
ei ei ei en wij zijn zo blij
want jij bent nu jarig en dat vieren wij
oh wat zijn wij heden blij
want jij bent nu jarig, jij bent nu jarig
oh wat zijn wij heden blij
want jij bent nu jarig en dat vieren wij

Begin de dag met een dansje

The following song is my personal favorite. I first heard it on a morning radio show from 3FM. Giel, the radio host, would call someone whose contact details had been sent in by someone else. This person had to sing the song on national radio! Make sure to add a dansje and a lach while singing! I picked the western version from YouTube but you can find several others including the original, reggae and rock!

Begin de dag met een dansje
Begin de dag met een lach
Want wie vrolijk kijk in de morgen
Die lacht de hele dag
Ja, die lacht de hele dag!

Geen handen meer schudden!

Premier Mark Rutte gave a press conference on Monday March 11 with the new maatregelen or measures. The most important maatregel he said was to stop shaking hands. He said “U kunt voetzoenen, elleboogstoten, wat u wilt…maar wij stoppen vanaf vandag met handen schudden…het is een simpele maatregel en dit help met verder indammen (containment)” He proceeded to show us how hard it will be to get out of this habit by shaking hands with the head of RIVM Jaap van Dissel.

Hoesten en niezen in de binnenkant van je elleboog en papieren zakdoekjes gebruiken

Last but not least, if you sneeze, you should avoid sneezing into your hand or out in the open air. The best option is to sneeze into the inside of your elbow or elleboog and use disposable tissues or zakdoekjes. This will help stop further spread of the virus either from hand-to-hand contact or from airborne particles.

I found the following video and it shows you, a little dramatised, what happens when you sneeze into your hand, into the air and into a tissue.

Which of these measures do you find the most difficult to remember? What other measures would you take?

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!