Dutch Language Blog

The Dutch pastime that dominates headlines in the Netherlands every New Year Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

Sakura Mutsuki / Flickr Creative Commons

Another year has come and gone in the Netherlands. 2014 was welcomed with a (quite literal) bang.

Eleven days later, the damage has been assessed and the results of the New Year celebrations in the Netherlands are in.

Here are headlines from some of the Netherlands’s top newspapers, detailing what went down this New Year’s Eve:

Oud en Nieuw: één dode, honderden arrestaties en autobranden (Elsevier)
Not everyone had a pleasant transition to the new year. One man didn’t even live to see 2014. Arrests were made, damage was done, injuries were incurred. Elsevier has all the details.

beschonken – intoxicated, drunk
relschoppers – rioters
feestvierders – revelers
ontplofte – exploded
rondgang – tour of inspection, making the round
slachtoffers – victims
blussen – to extinguish, to put out
Mobiele Eenheid – Riot Control
straatuig – riff-raff
betonnen – concrete
belaagd – provoked, beset
bedreigen – threaten
woordvervoerder – spokesperson
hoogstwaarschijnlijk – most likely, in all probability
toebehoort – belongs
rottigheid – trouble, mess
omstander – bystander, witness
betrokken – involved


Honderden gewonden tijdens oudejaarsnacht – 125 vuurwerkslachtoffers (NRC.nl)
Speaking of injuries. There were hundreds. And, according to NRC, more than a a third of them were serious enough to land the victims in the hospital. Not abnormal for New Year’s in the Netherlands, apparently. A number of hospitals reported that this year was no better or worse than years past.

gewonden – wounded
feestgangers – party-goers
spoedeisende hulp – emergency room
behandeld – treated
vuurwerkletsel – firework injury
vechtpartij – brawl
voorgaande – previous
heftige voorvallen – violent incidents
oogletsel – eye injury
uitgaansweekeinden – weekends out


Aantal klachten over vuurwerk passeert 75.000 (De Volkskrant)
Not everyone was happy with the way things went down as we moved into 2014. This year looks set to bring in even more complaints than last year, according to De Volkskrant.

klachten – complaints
initiatiefnemers – originator, promotor
verleden – last, past
melding – report
overlast – annoyance, inconvenience


Vuurwerkverkoop beloopt circa 67 miljoen euro (De Telegraaf)
But even all that is not enough to stop the Dutch from spending an exorbitant amount of money on fireworks. This year’s total expenditure is somewhere around 67 million euro. De Telegraaf has the lowdown on how this number compares to years past.

pijlen – arrows
knallers – banger, signal or maroon rocket
bedrag – sum, total
geldsom – sum, amount
dalende – declining, falling
neerwaartse – downwards
ombuigen – to bend
omzetdaling – decrease in turnover
siervuurwerk – firework
aansteeklonten – fuses
sterretjes – sparklers
over de toonbank – over the counter
voorraad – stock, supply
branche – industry
omgezet – converted

How’d you do? Did you make it through the articles okay? Any other words you need help with? Leave them in the comments and we’ll figure them out!

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About the Author: tiffany

Tiffany Jansen is an American magazine and copywriter in the Netherlands.


  1. barbara:

    I lived in Holland for ten years and every year was terrified one of my stepsons or grandchildren would be harmed with the fireworks. Now they are teaching the newer grandchildren… …so scary.!