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...]

Dutch term – Stadspoort

The stadspoort is the city gate. Until modern times, most cities had a wall around it, with gates protecting the entrance ways. Most towns had a portier or gatekeeper that was responsible for opening and closing the gates each day.  … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bruiloft

A bruiloft is a wedding. Different regions have different wedding traditions, and they also changed over time. The area of Twente in Overijssel, where I grew up, has┬ásome peculiar wedding traditions. Other regions have similar or slightly different traditions, but I thought I would share some that I experienced myself. Even in my generation … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pieremagoggel

A pieremagoggel is a vessel, but not a boat since it cannot have a keel. The term is sometimes used to denote a ship that was no longer considered sea-worthy. Other pieremagoggels are built for fun, rather than any practical applications. Pieremagoggel contests score the vessels based on their creativity, and ingenuity of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Dijkwerker

A dijkwerker is a dike worker, somebody who creates and maintains dikes. In earlier times, people in a community that was protected by a dike would be required to help maintain the dike. Later, this was changed to a tax that paid professional dike workers to maintain the dikes. Taxes still pay for the upkeep of the dikes today. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Geregistreerd Partnerschap

"Geregistreerd partnerschap" or registered partnership is a form of a civil union. It was introduced in the Netherlands in 1998 to allow same-sex couples to enjoy some of the same rights as married partners. The partnership is not limited to same-sex couples though: Male and female partners can also join in a registered partnership. The … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Veldwachter

A veldwachter was a police constable. In 1858, a national police force was established in addition to the municipal constabulary. From that period onwards, you will find a difference between a gemeenteveldwachter (municipal constable) and rijksveldwachter (national constable). Appointments of national constables can be found in the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Rechtszitting

A rechtszitting is a court session. The protocols of the sessions can have detailed information about the charges, defense, and witness statements. Court records can often be found in regional archives. Some archives have put indexes online. Check the Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium website to find out which sources are … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Probant

The probant or proband is the home person in a chart or narrative of the ancestors of the person. In the Sosa-Stradonitz numbering system, the proband has number 1, his father number 2, mother number 3, et cetera. … [Read more...]

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...]