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Posted by on Jan 1, 2007 in At TMV | 5 comments

Double Dutch

An interesting article at the BBC about The Netherlands.

An ongoing battle over language in The Netherlands is being fuelled by the country’s New Year’s word lists.

The Little Green Book, or Het Groene Boekje, the official Dutch spelling guide, was published this year.

But it is being boycotted by public broadcasters, who say it is too silly for words.

Instead, the Dutch media has published its own Little White Book with a list of new words that they want to add to the Dutch language, unofficially.

Want examples?

It is mostly the big newspapers who come up with new words, like – “blowverbodbord” – a notice stating that it is illegal to consume soft drugs in the immediate area…

Another new word is “handweigeraar” – or hand refuser, coined after an imam refused to shake hands with the right-wing former Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.

The signs mentioned above are very effective:

Collectors around the world buy “blowverbodborden” for $100 (£51, 75 euros) a piece.

Now that’s Dutch humor.

Geraldine Coughlan goes on to explain that schools, the government and our official news agency have to abide by the Little Green Book, but that broadcasters and newspapers will abide by the Little White Book: “it’s their way of boycotting The Little Green Book”.

Two kinds of Dutch… It’s confusing enough for us, the Dutch, let alone for foreigners. My advice: don’t try to make sense of it.

Is there anybody who still wonders why we the Dutch want to be able to use marijuana whenever, wherever?