Van hier tot Tokio

From here to Timbuktu Iconspeaker_3
[Dutch phrase of the week]

I have heard people say "from here to Timbuktu" but I am not sure whether it is used in exactly the same way… In any case: you can use the informal expression "van hier tot Tokio" ("from here
to Tokyo") when you want to say that something is very long, or covers
a long distance. Sometimes you might hear it used to refer to large

– "Wat ben je laat!"- "Ja, er stond een rij bij de Albert Heijn van hier tot Tokio!" 
("You are late!"- "Yeah, there was a really long queue/line at Albert Heijn!")

– "Het is bizar hoeveel fietsen er staan bij Amsterdam Centraal; rij aan rij van hier tot Tokio!" 
("It is bizar how many bicycles are stalled at Amsterdam Central; row after row from here to Timbuktu!")

– "Als ik jou was zou ik nog even wachten, er staat een file op de A13 van hier tot Tokio." 
("I would wait a bit if I were you, there is a huge traffic jam on the A13.")

Related words:

"Verweggistan": an unknown country very far away. Composed of "ver weg"
("far away") and the suffix -istan (to make it sound like other far way
countries ending in -istan ๐Ÿ™‚ ).
– "Kilometers lang": kilometres long.

5 thoughts on “Van hier tot Tokio

  1. hi
    I have noticed that many of the dutch work of the day examples involve a man called frank. who is he?

  2. Hi Will,
    a sharp observation ๐Ÿ™‚
    We use the name Frank for the character archetype “annoying colleague”… The character is not based on a real life person…

  3. The Timbuktu in “From here to Timbuktu” does
    connote great distance but also implies that
    the “other end” is a remote, inaccessible,
    and probably exotic place. A trip from here
    to Timbuktu means either a detour forced
    one to go FAR off the usual/obvious route,
    or the purpose was to go to somewhere far
    away, hard to reach, maybe a bit strange.
    As for a ridiculously long queue, it might
    be said to be “a mile long” — unless it
    really WAS a mile long; then we might be at
    a loss for words. ๐Ÿ™‚

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