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...]

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...]