1. foreplay [noun] [het voorspel, de voorspelen]
It is now time to get a little bit more physical with the "love" theme. However, we all know that we need to cover foreplay first!
– "Een goed voorspel is het halve werk."
("Good foreplay is half the job.")
– "Sommige vrouwen beweren dat mannen liever het voorspel overslaan!"
("Some women claim that men would rather skip foreplay!")
The use of the word "liever" is very common to express a preference in choice. The superlative would be "het liefst" and is used to say that you prefer something the most.
– "Goed voorspel is een belangrijk onderdeel van de kunst der liefde."
("Good foreplay is an important part of the art of love.")
The word "der" is a remnant of the old-fashioned use of the second (possessive) case in Dutch (genetivus, like in German). It is only used in archaic and/or dramatic expressions but there are a few common expressions. See also ‘Extra’.
2. prelude, overture, prologue [noun] [het voorspel, de voorspelen]
("Many books have been written about the prelude to the second World War.")
– "Ouverture 1812 van Tchaikovsky is een bekend klassiek stuk."
("Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812 is a well known classical piece.")
"Den Haag" is not the only name for The Hague. Sometimes you may see the old fashioned version: " ‘s Gravenhage", which is short for "des graven hage" or – after a small reshuffle – "hage des graven", which literally translates to "hedge of the counts". Again you see here the (rare) use of the archaic second case in Dutch.
It may be useful to know that the word ‘voorspel’ does not only exist as a noun (as in dwotd 138) but also indicates the first person singular of the verb ‘voorspellen’ (to predict). In this case, however, the accent is on the second syllable. For example: “Voor vanavond voorspel ik een kort voorspel” (“For tonight, I predict a short foreplay”).