Dutch term – IJzen

IJzen means to break the ice. During wartime, the ice in the moats around fortified towns had to be broken up, to prevent hostile forces from walking over the moat to take the town. Sometimes, ijzen was the obligation of the citizens of the town, or of specific farmers in the area who rented the farm from the overlord. In other towns, the … [Read more...]

Source – Publication of the banns

In the Netherlands, you have to go in "ondertrouw" before you get married. This means that the banns are read, giving everyone in the community a chance to object to the marriage. In the period before the introduction of the civil registration, church records are the most important source of vital information. Many churches recorded the banns … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Markt

A markt is a market. During the Middle Ages, the right to hold markets was a seignorial right, granted by the overlord. The right to have a market was often the first step to becoming a chartered town. Today, many towns have a weekly market on a fixed day of the week. Sometimes, a market has been held on that same day in that town for more than … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tweede Kerstdag

Tweede Kerstdag is the Second Christmas Day, like Boxing Day in the UK. It is an official holiday in the Netherlands. The Second Christmas Day was introduced to facilitate going to church multiple times, and to have some time off for contemplation and relaxation. Nowadays, the Second Christmas Day is often used to visit in-laws, go to a concert, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Stal

A stal is a stable. A stalhouder is a stable keeper. Originally this would have been a cattle farmer, but the meaning later changed to somebody who rents out horses and carriages. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Handelaar

A handelaar was a trader. Handelaren could mostly be found in cities, not villages, and were often quite well-to-do. Sometimes, specific words were used to show what people were trading in: a graanhandelaar traded in grain, a fietsenhandelaar traded in bicycles, and a handelaar in koloniale waren traded in colonial goods. You can also use … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pakjesavond

Pakjesavond = "gift evening." Traditionally, Dutch families give gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve, on December 5th. Sinterklaas and his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten, will bring gifts for all the children and some of the adults too. "Santa Claus" is derived from the Dutch word "Sinterklaas." Read more about the differences and similarities about these … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Buurtschap

A buurtschap is literally a neighborship. It is a part of a municipality or parish. Unlike a village or town, a buurtschap usually does not have a center or church but consists of a group of farms dotting the landscape. Buurtschap is a word most commonly used in rural parts of the Netherlands. The closest English term would be hamlet. In … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Dijkgraaf

A dijkgraaf is a dike reeve, the head of a waterschap [water board]. He is responsible for the water management, including flood control, in his district. His function is similar to a mayor of a municipality.  Nowadays, a dijkgraaf is appointed by the King for a period of six years. Historically, a dijkgraaf was usually … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Walvisvaart

Walvisvaart is whaling. Dutch commercial whaling started in the 1600s. Many skippers from the province of Holland went north to the waters around Scandinavia and north of Russia to catch giant whales. The village of De Rijp had a thriving whaling industry and at one time had a fleet of ten whaling ships. The whale fat was turned into codfish oil, … [Read more...]