Dutch Language Blog

Spreekwoorden en Uitdrukkingen (Sayings and Expressions) 8 – Time and money! Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in Culture, Dutch Language

It is Monday! Making money is what you probably do on a maandag (Monday) anyway. But it is also Monday, the international day for mourning the end of the weekend. So, I thought, let’s take the bitter out of that bittersweet feeling, and include time in today’s post. Time and money! Does that go together? Let’s find out! Let’s start with the spreekwoord (saying)!

For other sayings and expressions in this series, click here.

Tijd is geld

Time is money

Allegedly first stated by Benjamin Franklin in 1748, it is a ubiquitous saying, which I am not a huge fan of personally. In my opinion, yes, money is important, but we trade time for money. And we can’t actually buy time, even if we say that we can “buy time”. So time prevails in the end anyway. In the sense that this spreekwoord is meant to say that time is waardevol (precious), I agree 100%!


So, in the meaning we all know this spreekwoord– that time is money, and should therefore not be wasted – its use is pretty straightforward. Used in business meetings around the world as an excuse to keep things short and snappy, used by people like you and me to motivate themselves to not waste their time and work instead (happy Monday, everybody!), used by parents and teachers to show kids how the world works… This spreekwoord finds application in almost any context. Example:

Schiet op! Ik moet naar de bank. Je weet het zelf ook, tijd is geld!

Hurry up! I need to go to the bank. You know it yourself too, time is money!


On the the uitdrukking!

Munt uit iets slaan

To forge coin out of something

This uitdrukking means that you get an advantage out of something. It seems quite obvious: you forge coin, or money, out of a situation. That is a win for you. Another way of expressing this, with even a comparable origin, is een slaatje uit iets slaan (to get a little leave out of something).

The latter, the slaatje (little leave), possibly comes from a tobacco leave that was enjoyed back in the beginning of this century. So, if you could get such a leave out of a situation, that would be enjoyable for you – an advantage. The origin of the forging (slaan), makes sense in the symbolism. There is a situation, the raw material, and you make something advantageous out of that material for yourself. Whether that is munt or slaatje or something else!


This uitdrukking is used rather formally. To express that somebody got something advantageous out of a situation is mostly expressed more simply than that in an informal setting. Example:

De economie was erg slecht tijdens de crisis bijna tien jaar geleden. Toch hebben de banken er munt uit kunnen slaan!

The economy was very bad during the crisis almost ten years ago. Still, the banks could forge coin out of it!

I wish you a wonderful maandag! Also, let me know in the comments below how you translate these two in your language and how you use them!

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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.