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i don’t know much about being dutch.

August 8, 2015

I’m a Dutch-American, born here in America. My great-grandparents came from The Netherlands, except for one great-grandpa, who was born in South Africa. His parents were born in The Netherlands. He and they fled South Africa and came to America during the Boer War.

The language was not passed down to me. The only Dutch relative I remember speaking Dutch was one great-grandmother. She died while I was in high school. I don’t know why the language wasn’t passed down, and I am bothered by this. I’d really like to be naturally bilingual.

Besides not knowing how to speak Dutch, I don’t know much at all about Dutch culture, or about The Netherlands. For the longest time, I thought “Holland” and “The Netherlands” referred to the same place.


This helpful video taught me a lot, and explains the difference between Holland and the Netherlands.

Now I know at least a little bit more about the place where my ancestors came from, and what to call it.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2015 12:46 AM

    I love this movie!!! I also put it on my blog ( this month because August is all about the Netherlands πŸ™‚

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      August 10, 2015 11:46 PM

      Rockhopper, I like your penguin picture and name. Thanks for your comment. I did not know August is all about The Netherlands. I have much to learn.

      • August 11, 2015 12:37 AM

        thank you and sorry, i should had be more precise – it’s only on my blog πŸ™‚ On my blog, I change places every month, and post new pictures everyday πŸ™‚

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      August 10, 2015 11:52 PM

      Actually, I think I found that video on your blog, if I remember correctly.

  2. August 8, 2015 9:37 AM

    We are very similar in the fact that we are both Dutch, but born American. But in my case, I was the first kid in my family line (from both sides) to be born in America. My parents moved to the states in the early 1980s. I grew up with everything being Dutch. If you have any questions you would like to know, feel free to contact me! P.S, I liked that video! Many people get confused, but they know who we are anyways πŸ˜‰

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      August 10, 2015 11:51 PM

      I am guessing you learned the Dutch language, and are therefore quite fortunate. It is a challenging language to learn. Similar to German, but harder, it seems. I think this way of Spanish and French, with French being harder to learn.

      I’m not sure what to ask of this time. Hmmm.. There has been one thing troubling me for years though. Why is it I have not seen any Dutch restaurants in the States? What is Dutch cuisine like? I certainly wonder about that.

      I also wonder if there is traditional Dutch music. If so, would it be similar to German polkas? I like to listen to some international music (though not polkas, be they German, or German-influenced Mexican polkas..I wrote a blog about that form of music).

      Thanks very much for your comment.

      • August 10, 2015 11:56 PM

        On the topic of cuisine; people in the Netherlands eat many different types of food. Because of the Dutch trade, there are many spices used that are retrieved from Indonesia, and also Suriname and The Caribbean. Close by my house. We have a Belgian/French restaurant that serves delicious cuisine, but is very portioned (as is almost all European food).
        Music: Traditional music such as classical music is very common to The Netherlands. There is a very famous traveling composer and musician named Andre Rieu who is from Maastricht, the Netherlands. He plays typical Dutch songs that many grow up learning.
        Side note: though Dutch is hard to learn because it’s phonetics are so different from English, it isn’t impossible! πŸ™‚

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      August 14, 2015 12:02 AM

      What I meant was.. are there any kinds of food, certain dishes, that are traditionally Dutch? For example, Scandinavians eat lutefisk, Jews eat latkes, etc. I’m wondering what traditional Dutch food is like.

      It’s cool how some spices from former Dutch colonies are used in Dutch cooking.

      I’m a little bit familiar with Andre Rieu. Some years back he was quite famous here in America and on TV a lot.

      I am wondering if there is any kind of Dutch folk music, and what instruments are used?

      The Irish play Celtic music, using their own form of bagpipes, called uillieann pipes, as well as fiddles, bodhrans (hand drums), etc.

      I wonder if there are instruments that are traditionally Dutch?

      Yes, you’re right, Dutch phonics are definitely different! Even Germans have some difficulty learning Dutch. But, it’s not one of the hardest languages in the world, such as Arabic or Mandarin Chinese.

      I don’t think I’ll be learning Dutch though. I don’t have any use for it here in Idaho. I should learn Spanish, I suppose. It is the second most commonly spoken language in America. But I can’t afford Spanish classes, so I will skip that.

      Ok then, thanks for your comments!

  3. Dan V permalink
    August 12, 2015 12:37 AM

    I also have dutch ancestry, however because of an adoption in the line it cannot be proven. We don’t know who the real father of my dad was though my actual physical traits do show a strong dutch line anyways. He was officially adopted by a man with Dutch ancestry and his mother was the daughter of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. So we have been stuck with a hard to pronounce Dutch last name of which though we are proud of it, most people cannot spell it at all.
    I have met alot of Dutch when going on vacation as they used to frequent Puerto Vallarta often in the early 2000s and I learned much of their culture from them. They are very passionate although uninhibited people. They pour 100% passion into the things they do, and yet completely know how to relax. Although they practically share the same language I find the Dutch more culturally inclined and definitely less rude then Germans. Interestingly after watching that video, the Spanish call the Netherlands “Holanda” and refer to the Dutch as “Holandeses”. Spain having once ruled the Netherlands. There is also “Paises bajos” (low countries or Netherlands) but the official name is “Holanda” .
    We went to Holland a couple years ago while on a trip through Europe. We were only there for two days and only got to see Amsterdam. I am not into the drug culture, though we stayed near the red light district and it was fun to walk through it was not my thing. However we went to a Soccer game while in Amsterdam and watched Ajax play. It was awesome cheering on the team alongside the Dutch. We also took a long bicycle ride out into the country that really let us see more of what the Netherlands are really like.

    • tomschronicles permalink*
      August 13, 2015 11:51 PM

      I also have a difficult to pronounce last name. Almost no one gets it right. I can hardly say it correctly myself. It’s not like we say our own last names very often.

      You have an interesting family story!

      Maybe most Dutch people are passionate and yet able to relax, as you describe. There’s a region in The Netherlands, which, as an online Dutch friend told me, is quite different from much of the rest of the country, and the people are different too. The region is called Gronnigen. Not sure if I’m spelling that right.

      I was informed the Gronnigens tend to be more conservative, uptight, and unpleasant than other Dutch folks.

      My dad is from a Dutch community in CA and my mom is from a Dutch community in the Midwest. Both of them come from conservative backgrounds, uptight relatives, a prideful, “if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much” attitude.

      Neither of my parents fit into the Dutch-American communities they were from. I guess that is one reason why they liked each other.

      But we are still uptight and worry a lot. Wish I was more passionate and happy and also laid back and relaxed like the Dutch folks you describe!

      Cool you got to check out The Netherlands while on a trip. I’m not into the drug thing either but Amsterdam would still be quite interesting to visit. Good idea to go to a soccer game.

      Maybe I will be able to visit the country of my ancestors someday.

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