Dutch Language Blog

Tag Archives: etymology

Curious Dutch Words: Why is a boterham called a boterham? Posted by on Oct 29, 2021

You wake up in the morning, take a shower, and then it’s time for breakfast. As a good Dutch person, you’ll have een kopje koffie (a cup of coffee) and, of course, een boterham (a slice of bread). But here’s the weird thing: de boterham means “the butter ham”. Yeah, really. But why? Previous posts in this series: Curious Words…

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A Sterk Verhaal: What’s Strong About This Dutch Story? Posted by on Aug 30, 2021

In this post, we’ll explore the curiosity of the Dutch word sterk verhaal (“strong story”, a tall tale). What’s sterk about it? And by extension, what’s tall about the English story? Let’s explore. Skiing in Yugoslavia This weekend, I told the sterke verhaal that my dad told me many times. It’s a fun one, so why not! Back when Yugoslavia…

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Why Are The Dutch Called Dutch When They Shouldn’t Be? Posted by on Sep 23, 2019

So, you may or may not have been wondering about this, but I certainly have. As a Dutch-German, I’ve always been stumped by the confusing demonyms (“a name used for the people who live in a particular country, state, or other locality”, thanks dictionary.com)  used in English to refer to my two native countries. Why…

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Why Is The Netherlands Called Holland When It Shouldn’t Be? Posted by on Sep 16, 2019

So, you may or may not have been wondering about this, but I certainly have. The Netherlands and Holland are often used interchangeably all over the world, yet in Dutch, Nederland and Holland are two distinct terms. It’s weird. Let’s figure out why. What’s the difference? Here’s the thing. Nederland is the whole country of the Netherlands. Holland is only one…

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What Color Is Dikkie Dik, Anyway? Posted by on Apr 27, 2014

One of the things about being in what I like to call a bicultural relationship is that you never know when those cultural differences are going to pop up. We had one such moment toward the beginning of our relationship when we happened upon a snoozing cat. He looked up as we passed, which seemed to…

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Paulien Cornelisse: Taal is zeg maar echt haar ding Posted by on Mar 13, 2011

My office book club, which has only met once, at Trafalgar Café in Eindhoven, where we discussed our shared literary experiences over schnietzel and beers, recently read a book that has been quite popular among Dutch readers since it came out in 2009:  Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding, by Paulien Cornelisse.  Cornelisse is a…

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