Dutch term – Bakker and Bakkerij

A bakker is a baker, and a bakkerij is a bakery. Bread was and is a staple in the Dutch diet. The content and weight of loaves of bread was heavily regulated. If you have ancestors who were bakers, you may find them on lists of calibrated weights, or involved in court cases if their loaves were found to be too light or containing different … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Moetje

A moetje is a situation where a couple married because the bride was pregnant; a shot-gun wedding in modern terms. "Moeten" is the verb "must" and "-je" is the diminutive form. So the marriage was a "bit of a must." Customs were different in different areas and among different social classes. Among laborers in Friesland, it was quite common to … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Grootburger and Kleinburger

A burger is a burgher, a resident of the town with certain rights. Some towns had different levels of burghership, the grootburger [large burgher] and the kleinburger [small burgher]. The rights associated with each status depend on the location and period. Example: Burghers in Deventer This example is a translated abstract from information … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Arbeider

An arbeider is a laborer. Sometimes, records will indicate the type of work they did, such as a boerenarbeider [farm laborer] or fabrieksarbeider [factory worker]. Most laborers were poor and did not own any real estate. Many were illiterate. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tuugkist

A tuugkist is a chest that is used to store personal belongings such as clothes or jewelry. It is a word that is used in the eastern provinces of the Netherlands. Many tuugkisten have elaborate carvings. Some of them even have the initials or a date. Tuugkisten were often made when a couple started their own household,, so it can even provide … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Mulat, Mesties, Casties, Poesties, Testies

The Netherlands was involved in the slave trade from the late 1500s to the early 1800s. In the Dutch provinces, chattel slavery was outlawed, but it was common in the Dutch colonies such as Curacao and Suriname. In the colonies, slavery was abolished in 1863. In these Dutch colonies, specific terms were used to indicate the race of enslaved and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Van Halven Bedde

Van halven bedde literally means "from half a bed."  It is a term indicating half-siblings or half-aunts and -uncles. For example, if somebody refers to a woman as her "zuster van halven bedde" [sister from half a bed] this refers to a half-sister and a "oom van halven bedde" [uncle from half a bed] refers to a half-uncle. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kruidenier

A kruidenier is a grocery (the shop) or grocer (the occupation). The word kruiden means spices, and reminds of the colonial origins of the word, when people would go to the kruidenier to buy pepper and nutmeg from the East Indies. Since the 1960s, most kruideniers have been replaced by supermarkets. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vrouw

The word vrouw (plural: vrouwen) means woman. It can also mean wife. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overstroming

An overstroming is a flood or inundation. A large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, protected by dikes. If dikes aren't high enough or get oversaturated, the land protected by the dikes can flood. The last big flood was in 1953, when 1836 people died when large parts of Zeeland and Noord-Brabant flooded. … [Read more...]