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Hans Brinker

Hans Brinker - or - The Silver Skates

In 1865, Mary Mapes Dodge published a children's book set in Holland called Hans Brinker -or- The Silver Skates. The title character Hans Brinker click to
 hear is a very poor boy who lives with his sister, mother and disabled father; next to it is a storyline of a group of better-off boys from the same town who on a skating tour in the heart of Holland visit museums and famous places, giving Mrs Dodge an opportunity to tell about Holland, and she does that nicely.
Judging from the book, Mrs Dodge really read up on Dutch history and culture; there are a few typos in the historical names but most are correct. Unfortunately, the names of the Dutch characters in the story are a mess, and many of the common Dutch words are spelled incorrectly. For several of the characters I did not see right away what their correct Dutch names would be. I'm afraid that the person Mrs Dodge consulted on common names and words did not know much Dutch, was not familiar with Dutch spelling and probably had really bad handwriting (I was wondering what 'Voost' could be when I thought that Mrs Dodge may have read English-phonetic 'Yoost' as 'Voost' - in proper Dutch 'Joost' - Dutch J sounds like English Y in YES.)
I have two print editions of the book, an Airmont Classic from 1966, and a Tor Book from 1993. Both have about the same mistakes with Dutch. It's amazing that in 100 years no publisher has bothered to ask a native speaker of Dutch to look it over - or didn't care about Dutchmen's comments: I find it hard to believe that I would be the first to notice the problems. Maybe it's like the casting in 'Miracle on 34th Street' - "The Dutch are an insignificant part of our audience." - in the movie a little girl is brought to Santa Claus, and he is told she only speaks Dutch and doesn't understand English. Not a problem for polyglot Santa - but then the Dutch people in the audience will notice the little girl's thick American accent: to Dutchmen, it's not credible that she doesn't speak English. For the Dutch any illusion of reality is shattered. No, Virginia.

Contrary to popular thinking, it's not Hans Brinkers who puts his finger in the dike and saves the country: in the book that's a story told in a classroom in England, and the boy is not named. There is no story or actual event like it in Holland.

Mrs Dodge writes Correct (or More Likely) Dutch, Notes
Characters in The Story
Annie click to hear
Boekman click to hear 2 the doctor
Bouman click to hear also spelled as 'Bouwman'
Broom probably: Bram click to hear Washington Irving has a Dutch-American character 'Brom' - that English spelling is phonetically closer to Dutch Bram.
Carl a German and English name; Dutch form: Karel click to hear
Diedrich a German name; Dutch form Diederik click to hear or Dirk click to hear
Gretel a German name - more likely Dutch: Grietje click to
 hear or Greetje click to hear - I think there are really very few Dutch girls named 'Gretel.'
The fairy tale of the witch in the gingerbread house is Hans en Grietje click to hear 2 in Dutch, 'Hansel und Gretel' in German.
A strange footnote in the book says 'Carl, Gretel and Ludwig were named after German friends,' and gives the Dutch versions of the names. It doesn't make the story more realistic.
Hans click to hear Hans Brinker click to hear - Hansje click to hear 2
Hoogsvliet a much more likely name is: Hoogvliet click to hear
Huygen click to hear
Huygens click to hear 2
Huygen is a first name, Huygens is a family name, meaning 'son of Huygen'
Jacob click to hear 2
Janzoon Janszoon click to hear 2 ("Jan's son") I may be mistaken, but I think it's only used as a middle or last name
Kassy probably: Keessie click to
 hear - diminutive of Kees click to hear 2
Katy an English name; Dutch form: Kaatje click to hear
Kleef more likely: Van Kleef click to hear
Lambert click to hear
Laurens click to hear
Ludwig a German name - more likely: French Louis click to hear or Dutch Lodewijk click to hear
Mayken more likely: Maaike click to hear 2
Meitje more likely: Meisje click to hear ('girl') - were they thinking of German Mädchen? Maybe: Metje click to hear 2
Van Mounen click to hear an unlikely Dutch family name. It sounds unpleasant, and there is at present no-one by that name living in Holland. A more likely name: Van Manen click to hear 2
Poot click to hear 2 'animal leg'
Raff probably: Rolf click to hear
Rychie probably: Riekie click to hear 2 - diminutive of Riek click to hear from Hendrika click to hear 2 or Marieke click to hear
or maybe Rijkje click to hear 2 - a diminutive of Rijk click to hear or Marijke click to hear
Schimmelpenninck click to hear 2
Schummel click to hear 2 an unlikely Dutch family name, it sounds unpleasant, and there is at present no person by that name in Holland. Maybe: Schimmel click to hear 2
Voost probably: Joost click to hear (maybe Mrs Dodge misread bad-handwriting 'Yoost.' See note above) Washington Irving has a character named 'Yost.'
Voostenwalbert probably: Joost-Albert click to hear 2
Hear Dutch First and Last Names
Historical Personages
Admiraal van der
click to hear
Name of a tulip in the wild tulips speculation of 1637. I'd never heard of this admiral before - according to an article by Liesbeth Missel, curator of Wageningen University Library, Holland, 'admiral' (admiraal click to hear 2) and 'general' (generaal click to hear 2) in tulip names refers to coloring. Hear more Dutch tulip names.
Willem Beukles Willem Beukelsz. click to hear 2. Herring is gutted and immersed in brine for preservation: haring kaken click to hear. Dutch fishermen had discovered that the taste of the fish was greatly improved by leaving in the pancreas (alvleesklier click to hear) - its enzymes would do something beneficial to the fish meat. Traditionally ascribed to Willem Beukelsz. aka Willem Beukelszoon click to hear, ca 1400.
Boerhaave click to hear 18th Century medical doctor and researcher
Jacob Cats click to hear
'Vadertje Cats' click to hear 2 3
An early 17th Century diplomat and a rather moralistic poet, not a philosopher (Thank you, Alan Caron)
Laurens Janszoon Coster click to hear an early Dutch printer
Jan van Gorp click to hear 2 better known by the latinized version of his name: Goropius click to hear 2 - 17th Century linguist who claimed that Dutch was the mother of all languages.
Volgens Goropius spraken Adam en Eva Nederlands. click to hear 2 According to Goropius, Adam and Eve spoke Dutch.
Goropius zegt dat Adam en Eva Nederlands spraken. click to hear 2 Goropius says that Adam and Eve spoke Dutch.
"Adam en Eva spraken Nederlands in het Paradijs." click to hear "Adam and Eve spoke Dutch in Paradise."
"In het Paradijs spraken Adam en Eva Nederlands" click to hear 2 "In Paradise, Adam and Eve spoke Dutch."
Kanau Hesselaer Kenau Hasselaer click to hear also known as Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer click to hear 2 leader of the women of Haarlem during the siege by the Spanish army (1573)
Lucas van Leyden click to hear 16th Century painter, also known as Lucas Hugensz. click to hear 2
Harel de Moor Karel de Moor click to hear 2 - 17th Century painter
Paul Potter Paulus Potter click to hear 2 - 17th Century painter. His most famous painting: De Stier click to hear 2 ('The Bull') at Het Mauritshuis click to hear 2 in The Hague
Van Tromp Tromp click to hear 2 - family name of two 17th Century admirals, Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp click to hear 2 and Cornelis click to hear Tromp.
Wouvermans Philips Wouwerman click to hear 2 - 17th Century painter - also: Wouwermans click to hear
Hear the names of more Dutch painters: 170 - Vermeer - Rembrandt - Early Flemish and Dutch Painters
Place Names
Amsterdam click to hear the capital of Holland, though parliament meets in The Hague, and most government buildings and embassies are in that city too.
Blomendal Bloemendaal click to hear
Brabant click to hear Noord Brabant click to hear 2 is a province in the South of The Netherlands, and 'Brabant' is a province in Belgium (in the Middle Ages one duchy, dukedom)
Breede straat
Breestraat click to hear 2 'the wide street' - a common street name
Broek click to hear 2 There really is a town named 'Broek,' North of Amsterdam. In modern Dutch, 'broek' means 'pants, trousers,' but in 17th- and 18th-Century Dutch it also meant 'swamp.' It's often found in family names, like for instance Van den Broek click to hear and Westbroek click to hear. The old, Dutch name for Georgetown, Guyana was Stabroek click to hear ('swamp of stagnant water.')
Delft Haven Delfshaven click to hear 2 was the port (haven click to hear) of the city of Delft click to hear 2 - the Pilgrims left for America from Delfshaven - now part of the city of Rotterdam click to hear
Friesland click to hear 2 a province in the North of the country
Gouda click to hear also the name of a kind of cheese
Haarlem click to hear
Haarlemmermeer click to hear reclaimed in 1852 - the national airport Schiphol click to hear is in the old Haarlemmermeer
Halfweg click to hear 2 ('Midway') a small town halfway between Amsterdam and Haarlem
Heireen Gracht Herengracht click to hear 2 - a street and canal in Amsterdam. At the time that the book was written, this was spelled Heerengracht
Huis in't Bosch Huis ten Bosch click to hear 2 - royal palace in a forest near Den Haag click to hear 2 ('The Hague') - at present the queen's residence
Leyden click to hear Dutch spelling is: Leiden
het Mauritshuis click to hear 2 Museum in The Hague, named after prince Maurits click to hear 2 (Maurice, Morris)
de Noordzee click to hear 2 'the North Sea' - Dutchmen do not call the body of water between Holland and the British Isles an 'ocean.'
Rapenburg click to hear 2 a street and canal in Leyden
Saardam Zaandam click to hear - where Czar Peter the Great was a shipbuilder's apprentice, nowadays called Zaanstad click to hear
Washington Irving calls it 'Saardam' too.
St. Bavon Sint Bavo click to hear a church in Haarlem click to hear named after Saint Bavo
Utrecht click to hear a large town in the center of the country
Vleit Vliet click to hear - a common name for small streams
the Y, the Eye het IJ click to hear - a body of water near Amsterdam.
It is NOT pronounced like English 'eye,' as Mrs Dodge says. There is no sound in English like Dutch IJ click to hear - If a Dutchman says IJ you wouldn't think he means 'eye.' Listen to Dutch: hij click to hear ('he') - zij click to hear 2 ('she') - mijl click to hear ('mile') - de Rijn click to hear 2 ('the river Rhine.') To me, the AI in these Dutch words sounds like English 'eye:' maïs click to hear 2 ('maize, (Indian) corn') - Thai click to hear - Braille click to hear >>
Zuiderzee click to hear Closed off in 1932, now called het IJsselmeer click to hear
Zwanenburg click to hear 2
Hear Dutch Place Names
Dutch Words
aanspreker click to hear a kind of town crier, announcing deaths to friends and relatives of the deceased
blixin bliksem click to hear 'lightning'
buiten plasten buitenplaatsen click to hear 2 'second homes outside the city, for leisure'
Dame Brinker There is a Dutch word (de) dame click to hear meaning 'a woman who is respected.' A speaker addressing an audience will start with "Dames en Heren," click to hear 2 ('ladies and gentlemen.') But 'Dame' is not a title in Dutch. Maybe Mrs Dodge meant to use the archaic English address when she wrote 'Dame Brinker,' but I do suspect she thought it was correct Dutch.
In a Modern Dutch book, Mrs Brinker would be called Mevrouw Brinker click to hear 2 or her full name (first and last name) would be given, but in the 19th Century she might have been called Juffrouw Brinker click to hear 2 ('Miss' - see note under jufvrouw.)
Juffrouw Brinker click to hear 2 - Mevrouw Brinker click to hear
donder click to hear 'thunder' - onweer click to hear 'thunderstorm:' thunder + lightning
goede gunst! click to hear 2 'Good grief!' - The D in 'goede' is often softened to a Y-sound - Dutch J.)
hoezza! a strange mixture of hoera click to hear 2 and hoezee click to hear 2 - both meaning 'hurrah,' though 'hoezee' is by now a bit old-fashioned.
jongvrowe jonkvrouw click to hear 'a young or unmarried noble lady'
jufvrouw juffrouw click to hear 2 3 Traditionally, in the 20th Century, this was the Dutch word for 'Miss,' an unmarried woman, but it is rarely used anymore, only female teachers at elementary schools are still called 'juffrouw.' The general respectful address for women is now mevrouw click to hear 2 3 ('Ma'am' and 'Mrs' - see note under Dame Brinker.) There is no Dutch equivalent for Ms. I have been told, and Mrs Dodge also says so, that in the 19th Century, only women of the upper layer of society were called 'Mevrouw,' and that other women, married or unmarried, were called 'Juffrouw.'
kanaals kanalen click to hear 'canals, ship channels' - singular: (het) kanaal click to hear. The Dutch word for city canal is (de) gracht click to hear
kermis click to hear 'a fair' - from French kermesse
klompen click to hear 'clogs, wooden shoes' - singular: (de) klomp click to hear
krits kris click to hear Indonesian dagger or short sword. Malay Words in Dutch
kwartje click to hear a quarter, 25-cent coin
luigaard luiaard click to hear 2 3 - 1. 'a lazy person' 2. 'a sloth.'
meester click to hear 'master' - a schoolteacher or an accomplished person.
mine gott! correct: mijn god! click to hear 2 OMG! (Gott is German)
mijnheer (meneer) click to hear 'Mr' and 'Sir'- the correct plural is: heren click to hear
ophaalbrug click to hear 2 'drawbridge' (note that P and H are pronounced separately - plural: -bruggen click to hear
pakschuyt pakschuit click to hear 2 see note under 'trekschuit.'
polders click to hear the new, reclaimed land - singular: (de) polder click to hear 2
ruine ruïne click to hear 'ruin' - the two dots on top of the I are called (het) trema click to hear and indicate a syllable break before the letter with the trema. >> Here, the sound is U-I click to hear 2 - which is very different from UI click to hear - compare sounds: ruïne click to hear - duinen click to hear ('dunes') - bruine click to hear ('brown') - puin click to hear ('rubble')
schipper click to hear 2 'skipper'
sluicer sluiswachter click to hear 2 an official in charge of a sluice
spoorweg click to hear 2 'railroad'
stadhuis click to hear 2 'city hall' (the stress in the Dutch word varies)
stiver stuiver click to hear 2 a nickel, 5-cent coin
stoomboot click to hear 'steamship'
trekschuit click to hear a horse-drawn barge. 17th and 18th Century Holland had a network of ship channels for those barges. It was like a railroad system.
According to Mrs Dodge, the trekschuit transported people, and the pakschuit transported goods ('packages.') The book writes trekschuit correctly, but in the next line pakschuyt with Y - careless?
tulpen click to hear 'tulips' - singular: (de) tulp click to hear - names of heirloom tulips
tweegevegt tweegevecht click to hear 2 'duel' - no longer much used - Dutch duel click to hear 2
voetspoelen The correct Dutch phrase is 'de voeten spoelen,'  literally 'rinsing the feet' - a euphemism for drowning. Its victims were bound together and thrown overboard into the sea. In a dictionary I found
'de overwonnenen de voeten spoelen' click to hear 2
- consign the vanquished to the deep.
A somewhat milder shipboard punishment or disciplinary measure was to 'keelhaul,' kielhalen click to hear 2 - dragging a condemned person through the water under the keel, which could result in death by drowning. (Thank you Timothy Dickinson)
vrouw click to hear 'woman' and 'wife' - see note under 'jufvrouw'
wartaal click to hear 2 'gibberish'
zommerhuis zomerhuis click to hear 2 'summer residence'
'the Dutch mile' Mrs Dodge writes: 'The Dutch mile is more than four times as long as ours.' That would be about 7.4 kilometers. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up in my old 'Van Dale' Dutch dictionary. It says the German mile is 7.4 km, and the Dutch mile is 5.5 km. Around 1800 the metric system was introduced in Holland.
Governor Robles The story about Spanish Governor Robles is total nonsense. In the 11th or 12th Century, Waterschappen click to hear ('water boards') developed, far before Burgundian (ca 1350) and later Spanish (ca 1450) foreign rulers came to Holland. The people living close to the sea organized to manage the water and worked out a taxes and payment system. Some see it as an early, limited form of democracy (of course pioneered by Greeks much earlier.)
Dutch Harvest Song Mrs Dodge quotes a 'harvest song that is quite popular there' (in Holland) - but I doubt it is Dutch at all:
Yanker didee, dudel down
Didee dudel lawnter
Yankee viver, voover, vown
Botermelk und Tawnter!

Mrs Dodge says 'no linguist could translate it' - but I doubt that it is Dutch. The common Dutch word for 'buttermilk' is not Botermelk but karnemelk click to hear - and 'und' is German. 'Lawnter' and 'Tawnter' don't look or sound like any Dutch words I know, and 'Doodle' is written as 'Dudel' in German, and as 'doedel' click to hear in Dutch (doedelzak click to hear 'bagpipes.')
related: Netherland / Neitherlander

Dutch family names website

'Dutch' First and Last Names - Place Names in Holland and Belgium - Maps of The Netherlands
17th Century Sailors and Ships - Old New York
Dutch Names from Books - Operation Market Garden - The Diary of Anne Frank
Early Flemish Painters - Vermeer's World - Rembrandt

The Real Hansje Brinker

[a ship scuttled to close off an opening breach in a levee]
Particam Pictures, Amsterdam, 1953
In early 1953, the combination of a very high tide and a full day of high winds from exactly the wrong direction caused widespread flooding in Southwestern Holland. 1854 People died. The water kept rising after the tide was expected to turn - it must have been very frightening.
de watersnoodramp click to hear 2 3 ('the disastrous flood, the flood disaster')
In several places, dikes collapsed when large amounts of water came over and washed away the dike on the landside. A levee called the Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk click to hear 2 in the city of Ouderkerk aan de IJssel click to hear 2 (see arrow in map) was weakening, threatening inundation of densely populated areas near Rotterdam. Authorities were considering blowing up a church tower to strengthen the levee with its debris, when Skipper Arie Evegroen click to hear offered to sail his river barge De Twee Gebroeders click to hear ('The Two Brothers') in front of the weak spot. He sank it there and averted a major disaster. Most books and websites say Mr Evegroen was ordered to surrender his ship, but 'De Deltawerken' (by Hilde de Haan and Ids Haagsma, Waltman, Delft 1984) quotes 'the father of the Delta Protection Plan' Johan van Veen click to
hear praising Mr Evegroen for sacrificing his ship, and I think that's more credible.

After the disaster a grand plan was developed that drastically shortened the coastline, so it was much easier to strengthen and maintain the dikes exposed to the sea. ‑>>
Het Deltaplan click to hear 2 ('The Delta Protection Plan')
De Deltawerken click to hear ('The Delta Protection Works')

Map of The 1953 Flood Disaster

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Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2