Have you been learning Dutch, and have you ever wondered how you could sound far more Dutch? The solution could be simple. You just have to know what the Dutch volkssport (the national sport) is. Once you know how to do it, you’ll notice how easy it is to relate with other people.
Sure… Dutch people like biking and skating, but… there is one other thing you could consider as a typical sport, if not an art… Most Dutch people are quite good at it. Did you already guess it? The name of this noble sport is klagen, complaining.
You must have noticed that Dutch people love to complain a lot. Het weer (the weather) is always a great topic. If you live in Amsterdam, you’ll hear many complaints about massatoerisme. And unless you have been living under a rock for a while, you must have noticed that one subject tends to be number one… Everything has to do with inflatie, lack of money and high prices.
That is why it might be a good idea to discover how you could complain in Dutch as well… Because once again, if you do, you will sound far more Dutch.
Let’s start with some simple words… inflatie is inflation, of course. Geld in Dutch means money. The beauty of geld is that you can use the same word in Germany as well; you just need to use a softer g.
A simple question is: hoeveel kost het? How much does it cost? You can see that the Dutch people seem to have the same negative mindset as English-speaking people. If you say how much, you already assume it is much, a lot… The same thing is true for Dutch… veel means much or many.
Here is another funny thing…. Did you know that kosten (cost) only exists in plural? Although you have the word cost in English, kost does not exist as cost or expense. Dutch people assume that if there is a cost, there is always more than one. You can check it for yourself… You pay one bill, and soon enough, you need to pay another one… It never stops!
On top of this, kosten looks almost similar to another word: kotsen… Can you see this subtle difference? Kosten is to cost, and kotsen is to vomit… It seems that every time you know what the kosten (costs) are, kotsen (vomiting) is a very logical natural reaction!
Duur in Dutch means expensive. It may look a bit like dear in English, and duur in Dutch also means duration. De duur van een film is the duration of a film, and now it is easy to associate it with expensive… Just imagine that if something is duur, there is a longer duration before you can buy something! Now it makes perfect sense, right?
Here is another typical Dutch way of asking for a price. You can say hoeveel kost het? And… quite often you’ll also hear: hoe duur is het? How expensive is it? One thing is certain… No matter what the price is, it is always expensive!
By the way, if you want to stress that something is really expensive, you can also use peperduur, pepper expensive… It must be a typical old expression that made perfect sense a long time ago because if you liked to have some pepper in a faraway past, you needed to travel really far!
Other more vulgar expressions are tyfusduur, typhoid expensive and a bit more gentle: reteduur. Reet is a vulgar word for ass, so somehow, in Dutch, een reet must be quite valuable.
Here are some other handy expressions you could use if you like to complain about money… Ik betaal me blauw literally means: I pay myself blue. If you look blue, it is often a sign of illness, and… blue also happens to be the color of the envelopes of the Dutch tax office.
Het kost handen vol geld means: it costs hands full of money, and if you like to complain fiercely, this one is even better: het kost klauwen vol geld, it costs claws full of money. Klauwen vol geld is quite visual, don’t you think?
When you speak English, you would probably say: money does not grow on trees. If Dutch people look for money, they will not start to look for a tree, but they would scratch their back while feeling disappointed that nothing is there… In Dutch, you would say: money does not grow on my back, het geld groeit niet op mijn rug.
Some Dutch words that most people really love are gratis & goedkoop. Goedkoop literally means goodbuy or goodpurchase, and soon enough, you’ll notice that for this, Dutch people have only one criterion… Excellent quality and exquisite customer service do not matter. It just needs to be cheap!
Although goedkoop tends to be positive, like in English, it can also have a negative meaning. Een goedkoop concept lacks creativity and originality, and even other people can be goedkoop. Sometimes it could mean that you look trashy.
Last but not least, a pearl of ultimate Dutch wisdom. Goedkoop is duurkoop. Could you guess what it means? Literally, it means cheapbuy is expensivebuy… and often, there is a lot of truth in it.
Quite often, if you buy cheap, it will break, and you need to buy it again. The sad thing is that you might end up paying a higher price than the expensive item… It clearly shows that goedkoop and duur can be relative labels as well.
Does your language have peculiar expressions about money as well? Do you also complain a lot about high prices? Please share your thoughts here!
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