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Dutch Word of the Month September: Koopkracht Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

September! Out of the boring months, here comes something important for all to hear: news about the begroting (budget) for the next begrotingsjaar (fiscal year). Presented every derde dinsdag in september (third Tuesday in September) on Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day). And besides money for onderwijs (education), zorg (healthcare) or infrastructuur (infrastructure), there is always something about koopkracht. What is that, and why does it matter? Here we go!

Click here for previous Words of the Month

What does it mean?

Image by Christian Dubovan at Unsplash.com

Koopkracht means “purchasing power”. Quite literally. It is a samenstelling (compound word) of kopen (to buy, purchase) and kracht (power). It is used to refer to what people are able to buy with their geld (money). Depending on inflatie (inflation) and inkomensstijging (income increase), the koopkracht either goes vooruit (“forward”, up) or achteruit (backward, down).

Relevance to September

As said in the introduction, the derde dinsdag in september, or Prinsjesdag, is an important day. The Minister van Financien (Minister of Finance) presents the Miljoenennota (“Million’s Account”). The Miljoenennota is an explanation about the inkomsten (revenue) and uitgaven (expenses) of the country in the coming year. Every year again, they discuss the koopkracht. And almost every time, they somehow find a way to make it positive news for the bevolking (people)!

This year, they wrote the following about the koopkracht:

“Voor de meeste huishoudens wordt in 2020 een koopkrachtstijging verwacht. In 2019 stijgt de koopkracht naar verwachting met 1,2 procent en in 2020 met 2,1 procent. Met name werkenden gaan er volgend jaar sterk op vooruit. Hun koopkracht stijgt met 2,4 procent.”

(An increase in koopkracht is expected for most households in 2020. In 2019, the koopkracht will increase by an expected 1.2 percent and in 2020 by 2.1 percent. Especially employed people will get ahead next year. Their koopkracht increases by 2.4 percent.)

Of course, these are always verwachtingen (expectations) and schattingen (estimations). There can be no guarantee that any of this will actually materialize, since the government only has limited power to influence this.

Regardless, Dutch politicians like to use the term koopkracht and present positive estimates about it. Hence, it’s the word of the month!

Is the koopkracht used frequently as a term in your country? How does your regering choose to inform people how their lives will change? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


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