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 Since the 1960s, most kruideniers have been replaced by supermarkets.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...]

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 some 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...]