Sesame Street in Dutch: Sesamstraat Posted by on Aug 11, 2010 in Dutch Language

As a kid I was absolutely in love with Bert and Ernie.  They were my favorite characters from Sesame Street.  So what a pleasure it was to find out that Bert and Ernie spoke Dutch too!  And as it turns out, watching Sesame Street in Dutch is actually a great way to begin learning Dutch.  Just like with reading children’s books, you get to hear the language spoken in a much simpler manner, with simpler vocabulary and sentence structure.  But that doesn’t mean that it is easy…or boring.

The following is one of my all-time favorite Bert and Ernie skits.  When writing this post I think I watched it at least five times in both English and Dutch.  It never gets old.  I hope you enjoy it too!

And in English for comparison

If you decide to use Sesame Street as a learning tool (and I hope you do, because it’s really a lot of fun) the first thing you will notice is that Big Bird is missing.  When Sesame Street is produced for a different country, the show is altered to make it unique and interesting for that particular cultural market.  So Big Bird is gone, but instead there is Pino, the big blue bird who is in some vague way related to Big Bird.  Other characters include Tommie, Troel, Ieniemienie and Purk, all created specifically for the Dutch audience.  What I also found was an interesting personal exercise was to try to pick up on the cultural differences between Dutch Sesamstraat and what I grew up with in America.  After watching for awhile, I actually was able to spot some different cultural values being taught, which is neither a good nor a bad thing, but was very interesting to realize.  Although some of the skits are the same, some are definitely not.

Who is your favorite Sesame Street/Sesamstraat character?  Do you have a skit you’d like to share with us?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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