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Language, The Netherlands

The infinity of ´lekker´

For anyone who has spent a certain amount of time in the Netherlands or around Dutch people this won`t be the first time you have heard of the concept of `lekker´. Yet the translation of this word has always been a bit of a problem. Literally it means `tasty` and originally it was used in the context of food. However, the Dutch thought ¨Why should it have only one meaning, when it can mean so much more?¨.

And that is how the infinite universe of the ´L´ word  was founded, or at least that is what they say. Nowadays you shouldn`t be surprised to hear things like  ¨…lekker fietsen…¨ (tasty cycling) or ¨…lekker weertje¨ (tasty weather). In this context the word  can roughly be translated to `nice` or `agradable`. Something pleasant.

You can extend this meaning to basically any verb, even eating. When a Dutch person says ¨Lekker uit eten¨ (Tasty out for dinner) they are actually not referring to the food being tasty, but more the action of going out for dinner being something nice. `Lekker slapen´ (to sleep tastefully) or `Slaap lekker´ (Sleep tasty = sleep well) might be the most famous examples of the combination `Lekker + verb`.

`Lekker` can also be used when referring to people, which basically means someone is hot. ¨Meisje, je ziet er lekker uit¨ (Girl, you look tasty). (Warning: the use of this sentence or the use of lekker when referring to people is at own risk as it would be completely justified for a girl to punch you in the face after you have said this to her).

When among friends it`s safe to talk about someone else being hot and refer to that person as a tasty thing (´lekkerding´)

Lekker can also add a sarcastic tone to what you are saying. ¨Lekker belangrijk¨ (tasty important or nicely important?) is basically the Dutch way of saying ¨Nobody cares¨.

“Nobody Cares” in Dutch

When you want someone to go away you could say something like ¨Ga toch lekker ….¨ (Just go and tastefully  (insert verb) ) which is a way of saying ¨fuck off¨.
The phrase ´Lekker is dat´ (tasty is that) falls into this category aswell, which is  basically the sarcastic cousin of the phrase ¨Oh that´s nice!¨

¨I finally decided to waste 20 euros on an umbrella and then it stopped raining!¨ 
¨Lekker is dat¨ 

If someone is messing something up and you want to say something really Dutch, tell them they are ¨lekker bezig¨ (tastefully busy), yet another form of being `tastefully busy` can be used in a work environement when people (like for example your boss) ask you how things are going ¨Ja, lekker. Lekker druk.¨

What I probably like most about the word ´lekker´ is how much it reflects upon the Dutch culture. Dutch are very humble when it comes to expressing something nice. ´Lekker´ is not super-awesomely epic. It´s not the most euphoric feeling in the world, but it is good, it´s nice and most of all, it´s enough and many times it expresses the exact feeling you have without having to exaggerate it to make people believe you actually had a nice experience.

What funny uses of the word ´lekker´ have you foud? Leave a comment! 

 

Other examples of uses the word ´lekker´

“Landing tastily” at Schiphol Airport

 

 

Just do ´tastefully sustainable´ and everything will be alright

 

 

You have to tastefully continue like this (you have to keep going like this way)

 

Beautiful story, tastefully short (nice that it´s short)

 

 

“I am not sitting tasty in my skin” means I am not feeling well

Exchange, Panama, The Netherlands

The Nutella Syndrom

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The Nutella Syndrom: 

liking things that you used to hate in your homecountry,
just because it’s something you know and they remind you of home

Having been on an exchange I stumbled upon this odd sensation. It’s probably a very well-known feeling for exchange students and I am sure that we will all suffer from this at one point, some more than the others.

At home, before I went on an exchange, I was never much of a patriot. Maybe I was even the complete opposite of a patriot. I pretty much thought everything from my country sucked, and other countries did everything better. Yet being on an exchange, all those things I used to dislike, I now love!

For those who have no idea what I mean with the Nutella-syndrome, let me explain. About 2 years ago we hosted a girl from Italy. She had been in the Netherlands for 3 months already, and when she came to us, her former host mother told us that she was very picky about food, but she loved Nutella. So we bought her a ton of Nutella and I asked her jokingly ¨So does the Nutella here taste better than the Nutella in Italy?¨ Then she told me that back in Italy she never ate Nutella, but coming here to the Netherlands it was something she knew, something that reminded her of home, so she liked it!

Whenever I see a Heineken commercial I suddenly feel a very patriotic feeling and I just can’t help it to tell everybody that it’s from the Netherlands. It even happens with the beers that are ‘importada de Holanda’ (imported from Holland), but that I have honestly never heard of before, like Amsterdam, Hollandia, and Breda. And that while at home I never even drank beer.

It’s just these little things that remind me of home, that make me proud of where I am from. Apparently, the Netherlands won the Baseball World Cup in 2011, in Panama. I honestly didn`t even know we had a baseball team until my Panamanian classmates told me about it, but I take much pride in the fact that we beat Cuba (which according to my classmates is a very very good team). And as I was reading the history book of my sister, desperately trying to find some Dutch painter to say “Look this is from my country! MY COUNTRY!”.

 

Another example: Robin van Persie. Oh I used to hate him so much, I am not even sure why, but thanks to him, some people at least know the Netherlands is a country, and when I see his interviews he has the same accent I have, which makes me feel like I am not the only one that makes awkward mistakes trying to speak another language.

Somehow it`s oddly comforting to think that we both live abroad, but have the same history, walked the same streets, watched the same TV channels, speak the same language and most of all, shares a culture with you.

They say exchanges are about getting to know and love another country, but it’s also about getting to know and love your own country, and I think the Nutella Syndrom is a part of this*

And when I say “No soy gringa, soy Holandesa!” (“I am not American, I am Dutch”) I say it con orgullo (with pride)!

 

*note: after going back home I experienced RNS, Reversed Nutella Syndrom, when you start missing the things you hated the most about your exchange year.