slice of bread, sandwich [noun] [de boterham, de boterhammen; ‘boo-tur-ham’]

A "boterham" is either a slice of bread, as part of a loaf of bread, or it is one folded slice of bread with some kind of filling. A "dubbele boterham" involves two slices and comes down to a sandwich. There is some ambiguity here: it is sometimes unclear if a "boterham" is composed of one or two slices of bread. So most Dutch people clarify by saying "enkele boterham" (single), "dubbele boterham" (double), or "sneetje", the latter if they don’t want the slice to be folded 🙂

Normal home made Dutch "boterhammen" are very modest compared to sandwiches that you’d buy somewhere (which in turn are very modest compared to for example U.S. sandwiches 🙂 ). Maybe it’s the Calvanistic influence!

– "Wil je een boterham of een sneetje met kaas?"
("Would you like a sandwich or a slice with cheese?")

– "Lunch jij op het werk of neem je boterhammen mee?"
("Do you have lunch at work or do you bring sandwiches?")

– "Ik doe meestal kaas op mijn boterham."
("I usually put cheese on my sandwich.")

– "De boterhamzakjes zijn op, wil jij nieuwe kopen?"
("We are out of sandwich bags, can you buy new ones?" Lit.: "The sandwich bags are finished…")

– "Zijn boterham verdienen met…": to earn a living with… Lit. "to earn a slice of bread with…"
– "Een dikke boterham verdienen.": to make good money. Lit. "to earn a fat/thick sandwich".
– "Een afgelikte boterham.": lit. a "licked off" sandwich, this is a person who has been "loved" by many others if you know what we mean. A bit like the "town bike".

Related words:
– "Belegde boterham": a sandwich, a slice of bread with filling.
– "(Brood)beleg": a filling, slices of ham/cheese, whatever you put on your sandwich.
– "Broodje": a bun, a roll.
– "Belegd broodje": bun/roll with a filling.
– "Smeren": to butter, to spread. See also 194. Peren for a different use of "smeren".

– "Ik zag twee beren broodjes smeren, o dat was een wonder…"
("I saw two bears preparing sandwiches, oh that was a miracle." First line of well-known Dutch children’s song.)