surprise Iconspeaker_3
[noun] Surprise
[de sur-pri-se, de sur-pri-ses]

The Dutch "surprise" (pronounced "sur-pree-zuh") is nearly only used in the context of Sinterklaas. Unless you're a "kakker" and speak with a hot "aardappel" in your mouth…then you may want to use "surprise" as a synonym for the far more common "verrassing" (surprise)…and if you really want to overdo it, you can use the French "quelle surprise" 🙂

See Extra for more info on the Dutch tradition of "surprises".

– "Heb jij je surprise al klaar? Zondag is het pakjesavond!" 
("Do you have your Sinterklaas surprise ready yet? It's Sinterklaas' evening of presents on Sunday!")

– "Ik heb echt een onnozele surprise gemaakt voor Frank…dat zal hij echt niet leuk vinden :-)" 
("I really made a silly Sinterklaas surprise for Frank…he's really not going to like it :-)")

– "Mijn beste kerel! Mieters jou hier te treffen, wat een surprise!" 
("Old chap! How swell to meet you here, what a surprise!" Lit.: "My best man!…")

– "Grote ogen opzetten": to be surprised, to be dazed. Lit.: "to put on big eyes".
– "Nou breekt mijn klomp!": I'll be damned! Lit.: "Now my wooden shoe breaks!"

– "Heb jij deze surprise gemaakt?? Nou breekt mijn klomp! Hij is geweldig!!"
("Did you make this Sinterklaas surprise?? I'll be damned! It's great!!")

Related words:
Pakjesavond: Sinterklaas' evening of presents [noun] [de pakjesavond, de pakjesavonden].
– Stomverbaasd: dumbfounded, flabbergasted [adjective].
– Verrassing: surprise [noun] [de verrassing, de verrassingen].

– "Met die stevige wind is het geen verrassing dat de gevoelstemperatuur erg laag ligt."
("With that strong wind, it's no surprise that it feels like temperatures are very low.")

During Sinterklaas time, it's kind of a tradition to have a "surprise-avond" (lit.: surprise night). The "surprise-avond" may coincide with "pakjesavond", but this is not mandatory. A few weeks (sometimes months) before "surprise-avond" there's the crucial part of "lootjes trekken", where all participants draw the name of another participant. It is of the utmost importance not to reveal the name you have drawn, although many try to find out the names that others have drawn. The objective is then to create a "surprise" for the person you've drawn, which consists of three elements: 1. a hand-made object (constructed by using materials like paper, cardboard boxes, toilet paper roles, etc.) 2. a Sinterklaas poem, and 3. a small, funny present. During "lootjes trekken" often a maximum amount is agreed upon, which may be spent on the "surprise". The created object, poem and/or present must preferably apply to a characteristic feature of the recipient. Finally, at the "surprise-avond" everybody opens/unpacks/dismantles the "surprise" that has been created for him/her, reads the poem out loud, and guesses the name of the creator. Because the quality of the "surprises" may vary, a "surprise-avond" may include feelings of both pleasant surprise and serious disappointment, as well as the consumption of alcoholic beverages 🙂

2 thoughts on “Surprise

  1. In America we call Surprise-Avond “Secret Santa” although it’s just small presents, no poems 🙂

  2. Actually, ‘Sinterklaas’ is not Santa or related to christmas. (You can read more at the Sinterklaas wiki page linked above).
    Our ‘pakjesavond’ is on december 5th and after that we go into christmas mode.

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