Dutch Language Blog

Zondag met Lubach – The Dutch Daily Show Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Culture, Dutch Language, News

Jon Stewart became famous for his satirical view on the news in his Daily Show, which has since been copied many times in different formats. Such shows tend to give real news information by breaking down a topic while at the same time entertaining with jokes about the sometimes ridiculous realities. They also tend to have real influence, with John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight as a good example. That successful format also made it to the Netherlands – with Zondag met Lubach.

Who is Lubach?

Arjen Lubach (Image by R. van Elst at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 4.0)

Arjen Lubach (Image by R. van Elst at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 4.0)

Zondag met Lubach is hosted by Arjen Lubach, a Dutch comedian, writer, music producer and TV host. The 37 years old cabaretier (cabaret performer) launched his show Zondag met Lubach (Sunday with Lubach) in 2014, and has since produced 5 seizoenen (seasons). The episodes air only weekly and not daily, because, in Lubach’s view, there are not as many opinionated and “extreme” news sources in Europe and the Netherlands, and so there is just much less material.

Much like in similar shows, comedy is the main focus. The news information given has to be correct, but there is no journalistieke verplichting (journalistic obligation) to present all news in its entirety, as Lubach explains in this interview:

The “news show” is complete with the pen and paper, sound bits, “verslaggevers” (reporters) and other elements one would expect from a news program.

With kijkcijfers (viewing figures) of half to one million, it is quite populair (popular). He already took on many different topics, and here are three from the last season. You can watch all fragments of the show on the YouTube channel or watch the full episodes on the website.

I hope you will understand the jokes in the fragment below! One device Lubach uses frequently are woordgrappen (puns). In order to understand a pun, you need to be aware of the different meanings a word can have. Let’s take a look at some and see whether you get them!

1. Allochtonen

First, let’s have a look at his take on why the government won’t use the term allochtoon anymore.

At 0:18 – Westers

The first pun  is at 0:18. In de journalistiek was dit al gebeurd, omdat de groep niet-Westers een beetje groot begon te worden.

In the meaning of the government definition, westers means “western”. The pun is with Frits Wester, the parliamentary reporter for TV Channel RTL. In the picture, the other group niet-Westers (“not western”, or “not Westers”) are other such parliamentary reporters.

From 2:00 – Het beestje bij de naam noemen

Het beestje bij de naam noemen, which comes up repeatedly in the fragments from 2:00. This means “to call it by its name” as an argument to keeping the term allochtoon. Lubach makes a joke with a reference to the WRR, which just a bit before he showed uses very complicated language. So he turns een beestje bij de naam noemen (to call the little beast by its name) into het kleine organisme categoriseren op benoemingsbasis (to categorize the small organism based on designation).

In the bits following, they continue with changing normal words into monstrosities because the words themselves would be offensive. Did you get them all?

2. Amerikaanse verkiezingen

In this fragment, Lubach complains about the non-information about and excessive coverage of the American elections in Dutch news.

At 1:28 – Een politieke horse race

At 1:28, the news reporter Wouter Zwart says that Americans call the verkiezingen (elections) a politieke horse race (political horse race), thereby combining Dutch and English. Lubach makes a joke with it: wat noemen de Amerikanen dat mooi, een politieke horse race, of in het Nederlands, een political paardenwedstrijd (how nice the Americans call that, a politieke horse race, or in Dutch a political paardenwedstrijd (horse race)). So he just reverses the English-Dutch combination!

This joke is referred to again at 6:33, when the verslaggever Tex de Wit says: ja, het is eigenlijk too close to call, of zoals ze dat zo mooi in Amerika noemen: too close om te bellen. (yeah, it actually is too close to call, or as they say that so beautifully in America: too close to call.) Here, they took the translation of to call in the sense of calling on the phone, which in Dutch is bellen. It again is that odd Dutch English combination!

At 7:21 – CNN De Reeks

Referring to NOS The Series referred to before, which literally translates in Dutch to “NOS De Reeks”. This is done much in the spirit of the Dutch/English combination, they went with CNN De Reeks, taking an English TV news channel to replace the Dutch TV news channel NOS, and just translating The Series to “De Reeks”.

 3. Etnisch profileren

In this fragment, Lubach breaks down etnisch profileren (ethnic profiling), which is about people from certain descent being allegedly discriminated against by police, for example. They are allegedly aangehouden (arrested) or staande gehouden (detained) disproportionately.

At 1:55 – Huidsblur

Ok, deze jongens werden er niet uitgepikt vanwege hun huidsblur (OK, these guys were not picked because of their skin blur). This is a pun with the Dutch word huidskleur (skin color), which comes very close to huidsblur (skin blur), because the faces of the men interviewed are blurred.

At the end of all fragments – klikken!

At the end of the fragments, Lubach urges you to click (klikken) in order to abonneren (subscribe) to his YouTube channel. He then says: normaal vind ik klikken niet zo netjes, maar nu mag het: klikken! This refers to the other meaning of klikken, which is “to snitch”. So he says: normally, I don’t consider snitching as very nice, but now you’re allowed to: click!

Did you enjoy the fragments above? Did you get all the jokes and puns? Which one is your favorite? Did you find them informative? Is there such a show in your country, and if so, which one is your favorite (fragment)? 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.


  1. Bill:

    If anything would make me want to learn Dutch more outside of living in the Netherlands, this would be it. From what I could understand, I loved it. Now, where is my Duolingo app?

    • Sten:

      @Bill Awesome! You could also check out shows such as Koefnoen, if you are into comedy! I will make sure to cover more such popular Dutch TV shows in the future.

  2. Brenda:

    Thanks very kindly for this blog! Can’t wait to check out the show on YouTube!

  3. Elly:

    I’m grfetaul you made the post. It’s cleared the air for me.