Nieuws - 7 april 2011

Double Dutch? Multiple Dutch


After living for some time in the Netherlands, I am astonished by the number of different dialects this very small flat country has. I mean, in a vast country like Indonesia with its varied reliefs, it is pretty normal to find out that the village just over the mountain has a different language than yours. But you wouldn't expect it in the Netherlands. And yet...

My biggest astonishment is related to saying goodbye when you leave the cashier in the supermarket, step out of the bus or part from your Dutch friends. I was first introduced to 'Doei' and 'Tot ziens', which are widely used throughout the country. When I spent some time in Den Bosch, I felt the need to switch to 'Houdoe' as I left the famous Jan de Groot bakery, not having succeeded in finishing even a single Bossche bol. But when you are in Brabant, 'Hoedoe' is the magic word. Then I visited a relative in Hegelsom, (a small village in Horst-Sevenum, Limburg, for your information) where the locals parted by saying 'Hoije' or something like that - I'm not sure how to spell it. Then when I started to study in Wageningen, I was surprised by 'Aijus'. You may have guessed it, that's goodbye for the people of Gelderland, especially in the area from Wageningen to Doetinchem, or so my cousin who lives in Westervoort told me. So there are a lot of new Dutch words for us to learn, what with all the Goodbyes and all the place names. The Netherlands has more to offer than only 'Doei' and the famous names of Amsterdam, Rotterdam etc. And now I'm waiting for a beautiful spring weekend to visit a friend in Heerenveen and find out how people in Friesland greet - and take leave of - each other.
Theresia Maturbongs (Indonesia), MSc student Environmental Sciences