Dutch term – Landbouwer

Farmer

A landbouwer is a farmer. There are several related terms that you may encounter in the records: Boer (farmer) Boerenknecht (farm hand) Landgebruiker (literally: land user, often a tenant farmer) Landman (farmer) Bouwman (farmer) Akkerbouwer (field farmer) Veehouder (cattle holder) Varkenshouder (pig holder) Graanboer (grain … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Waterschap

Water board charter of 1286

The Waterschap is the water board, the government agency responsible for water management. With half our country below sea level, that is a big responsibility. Just last night, the water boards decided to close the storm surge barriers between the North Sea and the rivers to prevent major flooding. Water boards have been around for a very long … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Trouwen met de handschoen

Sitting bride

Trouwen met de handschoen literally means "marrying with the glove" and means a proxy marriage. People marry "with the glove" if they can't be in the same location during the marriage ceremony. The bride or the groom is represented by someone with a power of attorney and the marriage will take place as usual, probably with the exception of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Wijnmaand

October. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Wijnmaand literally means "wine month" and is the old word for October. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Spoorwegen

train wreck

The term Spoorwegen means Railways. The first railway in the Netherlands began in 1839, and ran between Amsterdam and Haarlem. In the rest of the 19th century, a multitude of railway companies developed a railway network that spanned the entire country. The train quickly replaced the Trekschuit (pulled barge) as the most popular form of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Timmerman

House with timber frame in Bredevoort

A timmerman is a carpenter. In the days before all houses were made of concrete or brick, carpenters built the frames. In the Middle Ages, most houses were made of wood. The houses had timber frames filled up with wicker and mud/clay. Later, bricks were used to fill in the timbers. Many carpenters were also employed to build ships. In the 17th … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Schrijven

A marriage record where the bride, mothers of the bride and groom and one witness declare to be unable to write.

Schrijven means 'to write.' It wasn't until well into the 20th century that most of the people in the Netherlands were able to write. In birth, marriage or death records in the 19th century, you will often read sentences like "verklarende de moeder der bruid uit hoofde van ongeleerdheid niet te kunnen schrijven" [declared the mother of the bride, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Herberg

painting

A herberg was an inn. Herbergen played an important role in the community. It was where people came after work or after church, where they stayed if they were travelling and where they met business partners to discuss deals. Innkeepers often played a role as informal scribes, writing documents for clients who could not read or write. Things … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Herfstmaand

September. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Herfstmaand (literally: Autumn month) is the old word for September. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – krant

Newspaper clipping

A krant (plural: kranten) is a newspaper. The first newspaper in the Dutch language was the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c. that first appeared in 1618. The oldest newspaper that still exists is the Leeuwarder Courant, that has appeared since 1752. The Royal Library of the Netherlands is digitizing old newspapers and making them … [Read more...]