Dutch Language Blog

The Dutch Version of the Correspondents’ Dinner Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Culture, News

Last Wednesday, February 10, the Dutch press held their version of the US Correspondents’ Dinner at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.

The idea is to copy the Correspondents’ Dinner and have the “President” of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, make fun of himself, his fellow politicians and the press. So comparing to President Obama is OK!

You can see the whole first edition of the Dutch Correspondents’ Dinner here at the official channel of NPO, or check out this recorded version on YouTube:

The jokes have a political flavor, and are not always easy to grip if you don’t follow Dutch politics much. Rutte had a whole team of speechwriters and comedians that helped him write the speech.

I was personally not very fond of the jokes he cracked. Sometimes they went too far, but mostly they were just not the kind of humor I like. One I found quite funny was referring to the current Minister of Security and Justice, Ard van der Steur. His ministry presented the investigation report on the airplane disaster of flight MH17 to the Dutch Parliament, and most of it was blackened.

Blackened passages of the investigation report of the MH-17 flight disaster (Image by RTL Nieuws at Rtlnieuws.nl

Rutte made a joke with this, see it here:

Rutte says:

Al was het misschien geen goed idee om Ard van der Steur mijn tekst te laten redigeren. (“Although perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to let Ard van der Steur edit my text.”) and shows a completely blackened text. Good one!

Other “experts” had their opinions about Rutte’s performance as well:

Different than Washington

I think that the Dutch Correspondents’ Dinner is more moderate than the American original, because of several reasons.

One reason is that Dutch politics by far not as divided as the American divide between Republicans and Democrats. Most Dutch parties and politicians are somewhere in the middle. The big exception would be Geert Wilders, but he has been made fun of so many times already, it would not be a very refreshing thing to do.

Another reason is Dutch culture. The Dutch have, of course, different humor, but they also dare less. There is a bigger fear that there will be outrage, or a lot of criticism for an inappropriate joke. I think that is connected to the moderate political climate as well, though.

Thirdly, the Dinner was broadcast on NPO 1, a public channel that is supposed to be for everybody and should be entertaining for all groups in society. So, to reach a wider audience, more acceptable jokes are probably a good choice!

Lastly, this Dinner was held for the first time now. So a moderate, not too boring and not too far-going satire is appropriate. I hope to see better jokes coming with the next Dinner next year! At least, I hope it will be held then. Elections are only two months later, in April 2017, and then a Dinner like this could give Rutte an advantage over other candidates. And so it might be skipped one year, or held later in the year. I am looking forward to it!



Tags: , , , , ,
Keep learning Dutch with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

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.