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In 1865, Mary Mapes Dodge published a children's book set in Holland
called Hans Brinker -or-
The Silver Skates.
The title character
is a very poor boy who lives with his sister, mother
and disabled father; next to it is a storyline of a group of
better-off boys from the same town who on a skating tour in the
heart of Holland visit museums and famous places, giving Mrs Dodge
an opportunity to tell about Holland, and she does that nicely.
Judging from the book, Mrs Dodge really read up on Dutch history and culture; there are a few typos in the historical names but most are correct. Unfortunately, the names of the Dutch characters in the story are a mess, and many of the common Dutch words are spelled incorrectly. For several of the characters I did not see right away what their correct Dutch names would be. I'm afraid that the person Mrs Dodge consulted on common names and words did not know much Dutch, was not familiar with Dutch spelling and probably had really bad handwriting (I was wondering what 'Voost' could be when I thought that Mrs Dodge may have read English-phonetic 'Yoost' as 'Voost' - in proper Dutch 'Joost' - Dutch J sounds like English Y in YES.)
I have two print editions of the book, an Airmont Classic from 1966,
and a Tor Book from 1993. Both have about the same mistakes with
Dutch. It's amazing that in 100 years no publisher has
bothered to ask a native speaker of Dutch to look it over - or didn't care about
Dutchmen's comments: I find it hard to believe that I would be the
first to notice the problems. Maybe it's like the casting in
'Miracle on 34th Street' -
"The Dutch are an insignificant part of our audience."
- in the movie a little girl is brought
to Santa Claus, and he is told she only speaks Dutch and doesn't
understand English. Not a problem
for polyglot Santa - but then the Dutch people in the audience will notice
the little girl's thick American accent: to Dutchmen, it's not credible that she
doesn't speak English. For the Dutch any illusion of reality is
shattered. No, Virginia.
Contrary to popular thinking, it's not Hans Brinkers who puts his finger in the dike and saves the country: in the book that's a story told in a classroom in England, and the boy is not named. There is no story or actual event like it in Holland.
|Mrs Dodge writes||Correct (or More Likely) Dutch, Notes|
|Characters in The Story|
|Boekman 2||the doctor|
|Bouman||also spelled as 'Bouwman'|
|Broom||probably: Bram Washington Irving has a Dutch-American character 'Brom' - that English spelling is phonetically closer to Dutch Bram.|
|Carl||a German and English name; Dutch form: Karel|
|Diedrich||a German name; Dutch form Diederik or Dirk|
|Gretel||a German name - more likely Dutch:
- I think there are really very few Dutch
girls named 'Gretel.'
The fairy tale of the witch in the gingerbread house is Hans en Grietje 2 in Dutch, 'Hansel und Gretel' in German.
A strange footnote in the book says 'Carl, Gretel and Ludwig were named after German friends,' and gives the Dutch versions of the names. It doesn't make the story more realistic.
|Hans||Hans Brinker - Hansje 2|
|Hoogsvliet||a much more likely name is: Hoogvliet|
|Huygen is a first name, Huygens is a family name, meaning 'son of Huygen'|
|Janzoon||Janszoon 2 ("Jan's son") I may be mistaken, but I think it's only used as a middle or last name|
|Kassy||probably: Keessie - diminutive of Kees 2|
|Katy||an English name; Dutch form: Kaatje|
|Kleef||more likely: Van Kleef|
|Ludwig||a German name - more likely: French Louis or Dutch Lodewijk|
|Mayken||more likely: Maaike 2|
('girl') - were they thinking of German Mädchen?
|Van Mounen||an unlikely Dutch family name. It sounds unpleasant, and there is at present no-one by that name living in Holland. A more likely name: Van Manen 2|
|Poot 2||'animal leg'|
- diminutive of Riek
or maybe Rijkje 2 - a diminutive of Rijk or Marijke
|Schummel 2||an unlikely Dutch family name, it sounds unpleasant, and there is at present no person by that name in Holland. Maybe: Schimmel 2|
|Voost||probably: Joost (maybe Mrs Dodge misread bad-handwriting 'Yoost.' See note above) Washington Irving has a character named 'Yost.'|
|Voostenwalbert||probably: Joost-Albert 2|
|Hear Dutch First and Last Names|
|Admiraal van der
|Name of a tulip in the wild tulips speculation of 1637. I'd never heard of this admiral before - according to an article by Liesbeth Missel, curator of Wageningen University Library, Holland, 'admiral' (admiraal 2) and 'general' (generaal 2) in tulip names refers to coloring. Hear more Dutch tulip names.|
|Willem Beukles||Willem Beukelsz. 2. Herring is gutted and immersed in brine for preservation: haring kaken . Dutch fishermen had discovered that the taste of the fish was greatly improved by leaving in the pancreas (alvleesklier ) - its enzymes would do something beneficial to the fish meat. Traditionally ascribed to Willem Beukelsz. aka Willem Beukelszoon , ca 1400.|
|Boerhaave||18th Century medical doctor and researcher|
|Laurens Janszoon Coster||an early Dutch printer|
|Jan van Gorp 2||better known by the latinized version of his name: Goropius
- 17th Century linguist who claimed that Dutch was the mother of
|Kanau Hesselaer||Kenau Hasselaer also known as Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer 2 leader of the women of Haarlem during the siege by the Spanish army (1573)|
|Lucas van Leyden||16th Century painter, also known as Lucas Hugensz. 2|
|Harel de Moor||Karel de Moor 2 - 17th Century painter|
|Paul Potter||Paulus Potter 2 - 17th Century painter. His most famous painting: De Stier 2 ('The Bull') at Het Mauritshuis 2 in The Hague|
- family name of two 17th Century admirals,
Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp
|Wouvermans||Philips Wouwerman 2 - 17th Century painter - also: Wouwermans|
|Hear the names of more Dutch painters: lists - Vermeer - Rembrandt - Early Flemish and Dutch Painters|
|Amsterdam||the capital of Holland, though parliament meets in The Hague, and most government buildings and embassies are in that city too.|
|Brabant||Noord Brabant 2 is a province in the South of The Netherlands, and 'Brabant' is a province in Belgium (in the Middle Ages one duchy, dukedom)|
|Breestraat 2 'the wide street' - a common street name|
|Broek 2||There really is a town named 'Broek,' North of Amsterdam. In modern Dutch, 'broek' means 'pants, trousers,' but in 17th- and 18th-Century Dutch it also meant 'swamp.' It's often found in family names, like for instance Van den Broek and Westbroek . The old, Dutch name for Georgetown, Guyana was Stabroek ('swamp of stagnant water.')|
|Delft Haven||Delfshaven 2 was the port (haven ) of the city of Delft 2 - the Pilgrims left for America from Delfshaven - now part of the city of Rotterdam|
|Friesland 2||a province in the North of the country|
|Gouda||also the name of a kind of cheese|
|Haarlemmermeer||reclaimed in 1852 - the national airport Schiphol is in the old Haarlemmermeer|
|Halfweg 2||('Midway') a small town halfway between Amsterdam and Haarlem|
|Heireen Gracht||Herengracht 2 - a street and canal in Amsterdam. At the time that the book was written, this was spelled Heerengracht|
|Huis in't Bosch||
Huis ten Bosch
- royal palace in a forest near
- at present the queen's residence
|Leyden||Dutch spelling is: Leiden|
|het Mauritshuis 2||Museum in The Hague, named after prince Maurits 2 (Maurice, Morris)|
|de Noordzee 2||'the North Sea' - Dutchmen do not call the body of water between Holland and the British Isles an 'ocean.'|
|Rapenburg 2||a street and canal in Leyden|
- where Czar Peter the Great was a shipbuilder's apprentice,
nowadays called Zaanstad
Washington Irving calls it 'Saardam' too.
|St. Bavon||Sint Bavo a church in Haarlem named after Saint Bavo|
|Utrecht||a large town in the center of the country|
|Vleit||Vliet - a common name for small streams|
|the Y, the Eye||het IJ
- a body of water near Amsterdam.
It is NOT pronounced like English 'eye,' as Mrs Dodge says. There is no sound in English like Dutch IJ - If a Dutchman says IJ you wouldn't think he means 'eye.' Listen to Dutch: hij ('he') - zij 2 ('she') - mijl ('mile') - de Rijn 2 ('the river Rhine.') To me, the AI in these Dutch words sounds like English 'eye:' maïs 2 ('maize, (Indian) corn') - Thai - Braille >>
|Zuiderzee||Closed off in 1932, now called het IJsselmeer|
|Hear Dutch Place Names|
|aanspreker||a kind of town crier, announcing deaths to friends and relatives of the deceased|
|buiten plasten||buitenplaatsen 2 'second homes outside the city, for leisure'|
|Dame Brinker||There is a Dutch word
meaning 'a woman who is respected.' A speaker addressing an audience
will start with
"Dames en Heren,"
('ladies and gentlemen.') But 'Dame' is not a title in Dutch.
Maybe Mrs Dodge meant
to use the archaic English address when she wrote 'Dame Brinker,'
but I do suspect she thought it was correct Dutch.
In a Modern Dutch book, Mrs Brinker would be called Mevrouw Brinker 2 or her full name (first and last name) would be given, but in the 19th Century she might have been called Juffrouw Brinker 2 ('Miss' - see note under jufvrouw.)
Juffrouw Brinker 2 - Mevrouw Brinker
|donder||'thunder' - onweer 'thunderstorm:' thunder + lightning|
|goede gunst! 2||'Good grief!' - The D in 'goede' is often softened to a Y-sound - Dutch J.)|
|hoezza!||a strange mixture of hoera 2 and hoezee 2 - both meaning 'hurrah,' though 'hoezee' is by now a bit old-fashioned.|
|jongvrowe||jonkvrouw 'a young or unmarried noble lady'|
|jufvrouw||juffrouw 2 3 Traditionally, in the 20th Century, this was the Dutch word for 'Miss,' an unmarried woman, but it is rarely used anymore, only female teachers at elementary schools are still called 'juffrouw.' The general respectful address for women is now mevrouw 2 3 ('Ma'am' and 'Mrs' - see note under Dame Brinker.) There is no Dutch equivalent for Ms. I have been told, and Mrs Dodge also says so, that in the 19th Century, only women of the upper layer of society were called 'Mevrouw,' and that other women, married or unmarried, were called 'Juffrouw.'|
|kanaals||kanalen 'canals, ship channels' - singular: (het) kanaal . The Dutch word for city canal is (de) gracht|
|kermis||'a fair' - from French kermesse|
|klompen||'clogs, wooden shoes' - singular: (de) klomp|
|krits||kris Indonesian dagger or short sword. Malay Words in Dutch|
|kwartje||a quarter, 25-cent coin|
|luigaard||luiaard 2 3 - 1. 'a lazy person' 2. 'a sloth.'|
|meester||'master' - a schoolteacher or an accomplished person.|
|mine gott!||correct: mijn god! 2 OMG! (Gott is German)|
|mijnheer (meneer) 'Mr' and 'Sir'- the correct plural is: heren|
|ophaalbrug 2||'drawbridge' (note that P and H are pronounced separately - plural: -bruggen|
|pakschuyt||pakschuit 2 see note under 'trekschuit.'|
|polders||the new, reclaimed land - singular: (de) polder 2|
|ruine||ruïne 'ruin' - the two dots on top of the I are called (het) trema and indicate a syllable break before the letter with the trema. >> Here, the sound is U-I 2 - which is very different from UI - compare sounds: ruïne - duinen ('dunes') - bruine ('brown') - puin ('rubble')|
|sluicer||sluiswachter 2 an official in charge of a sluice|
|stadhuis 2||'city hall' (the stress in the Dutch word varies)|
|stiver||stuiver 2 a nickel, 5-cent coin|
|trekschuit||a horse-drawn barge. 17th and 18th Century Holland had a network
of ship channels for those barges. It was like a railroad system.
According to Mrs Dodge, the trekschuit transported people, and the pakschuit transported goods ('packages.') The book writes trekschuit correctly, but in the next line pakschuyt with Y - careless?
|tulpen||'tulips' - singular: (de) tulp - names of heirloom tulips|
|tweegevegt||tweegevecht 2 'duel' - no longer much used - Dutch duel 2|
|voetspoelen||from the description in the book I understand it
means to 'keelhaul,' a punishment on
old ships that often led to the death by drowning of the condemned person
- but I'm afraid 'Hans Brinker' is
about the only place where the word is found. It's not in my Dutch
dictionaries. The common Dutch word is (like in English)
Years after I wrote the above I was looking for an unusual meaning for 'voet' in a dictionary and I came accross the phrase 'de overwonnenen de voeten spoelen' - consign the vanquished to the deep.
|vrouw||'woman' and 'wife' - see note under 'jufvrouw'|
|zommerhuis||zomerhuis 2 'summer residence'|
|'the Dutch mile'||Mrs Dodge writes: 'The Dutch mile is more than four times as long as ours.' That would be about 7.4 kilometers. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up in my old 'Van Dale' Dutch dictionary. It says the German mile is 7.4 km, and the Dutch mile is 5.5 km. Around 1800 the metric system was introduced in Holland.|
|Governor Robles||The story about Spanish Governor Robles is total nonsense. In the 11th or 12th Century, Waterschappen ('water boards') developed, far before Burgundian (ca 1350) and later Spanish (ca 1450) foreign rulers came to Holland. The people living close to the sea organized to manage the water and worked out a taxes and payment system. Some see it as an early, limited form of democracy (of course pioneered by Greeks much earlier.)|
|Dutch Harvest Song||
Mrs Dodge quotes a 'harvest song that is quite popular there' (in
Holland) - but I doubt it is Dutch at all:
Yanker didee, dudel down
Didee dudel lawnter
Yankee viver, voover, vown
Botermelk und Tawnter!
Mrs Dodge says 'no linguist could translate it' - but I doubt that it is Dutch. The common Dutch word for 'buttermilk' is not Botermelk but karnemelk - and 'und' is German. 'Lawnter' and 'Tawnter' don't look or sound like any Dutch words I know, and 'Doodle' is written as 'Dudel' in German, and as 'doedel' in Dutch (doedelzak 'bagpipes.')
Dutch family names website
'Dutch' First and Last Names
Place Names in Holland and Belgium
Maps of The Netherlands
17th Century Sailors and Ships - Old New York
Dutch Names from Books - Operation Market Garden - The Diary of Anne Frank
Early Flemish Painters - Vermeer's World - Rembrandt
Particam Pictures, Amsterdam, 1953
In early 1953, the combination of a very high tide and a full day of
high winds from exactly the wrong direction caused widespread
flooding in Southwestern Holland. 1854 People died. The water kept
rising after the tide was expected to turn - it must have
been very frightening.
de watersnoodramp 2 3 ('the disastrous flood, the flood disaster')
In several places, dikes collapsed when large amounts of water came over and washed away the dike on the landside. A levee called the Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk 2 in the city of Ouderkerk aan de IJssel 2 (see arrow in map) was weakening, threatening inundation of densely populated areas near Rotterdam. Authorities were considering blowing up a church tower to strengthen the levee with its debris, when Skipper Arie Evegroen offered to sail his river barge De Twee Gebroeders ('The Two Brothers') in front of the weak spot. He sank it there and averted a major disaster. Most books and websites say Mr Evegroen was ordered to surrender his ship, but 'De Deltawerken' (by Hilde de Haan and Ids Haagsma, Waltman, Delft 1984) quotes 'the father of the Delta Protection Plan' Johan van Veen praising Mr Evegroen for sacrificing his ship, and I think that's more credible.
disaster a grand plan was developed that drastically shortened the
coastline, so it was much easier to strengthen and
maintain the dikes exposed to the sea.
Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2011.
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Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2