Dutch Language Blog

Untranslatable Dutch: Ver-van-mijn-bedshow Posted by on May 4, 2020 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

Let’s try to translate something untranslatable again today, shall we? This one is actually quite a curious one, with all its hyphens. Let’s look at word that’s very far from your bed: een ver-van-mijn-bedshow.

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A show far from my bed!

What happened? Ah, too far from my bed… (Image by DANNY G at Unsplash.com)

So what is this? A far-from-your-bed show? What is that supposed to mean?

Well, it is pretty simple, actually. Van Dale defines it as an “issue that is not directly of interest”. When you’re in the Netherlands, the bosbranden (forest fires) in Australia may be a ver-van-mijn-bedshow. And it is usually that: Issues that do not really affect people’s lives, and as a result, they don’t care as much about it. It is ver weg (far away), both in distance and affection.

An Actual TV Show!

From 1970 to 1992, the Ver Van Mijn Bed Show was an actual TV show in the Netherlands. It was a praatprogramma (talk show), like De Wereld Draait Door. Presentator (host) Han van der Meer described it as a tutti frutti aan onderwerpen (a mix of topics – tutti frutti is another untranslatable word right there! But that’s for another time). The program took a look “behind-the-scenes” in developing nations, with the goal to counteract vooroordelen (prejudices). This came in the form of reportages (reports) on problems and situations far from the Netherlands, and the difficulty of dealing with these problems was highlighted. The spirit of the show was, like its expression, that these are issues people don’t care much about because they are so far away.

The show also included musical performances, with sounds, rhythms and instruments not commonly seen in the Netherlands, especially back in those days. Like the one above!

If this goal was achieved or not may not be clear, but it is clear that the title of the show stuck!


A variation of the word popped up in 2015, the ver-van-mijn-bedburger (far from my bed citizen), which is people identifying with that feeling. Other variations exist as well, like a ver-van-mijn-bedfilm (far from my bed movie).

Can you come up with your own variation that encapsulates this feeling well? Let me know in the comments below!

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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.