Eigen schuld, dikke bult

it’s your own fault, you had it coming, serves you right
[Dutch phrase of the week]
[ei-gen schuld, dik-ke bult] 

This phrase is used teasingly and says that the person whose own fault it is should have known better, or simply had it coming.

The noun ‘bult’ probably means ‘hunch’ (as in hunchback). The ‘Van Dale Groot Uitdrukkingen woordenboek’ hints that this may date back to superstition saying that hunchbacks were to blame themselves for having a hunchback. In the meaning of ‘hunch’, we also use the word ‘bochel’ and ‘hunchback’ then becomes ‘gebochelde’ (e.g. ‘De gebochelde van de Notre Dame’).

“Ik ben misselijk!” – “Eigen schuld, dikke bult! Dan had je maar niet vijf haringen en drie moorkoppen moeten eten!” 
(“I am sick to my stomach!” – “That’s your own fault! (Then) You shouldn’t have eaten five herrings and three ‘moorkoppen’!” My aunt, who likes food, once ate five herrings followed by three ‘moorkoppen’ and wondered why she was sick to her stomach.)

“O jee, ik ga mijn trein missen, nu kom ik te laat voor die vergadering! Wil jij me naar het werk brengen met de auto? Pleeeease??” – “Ja daaag! Dan had je vanochtend maar niet moeten blijven liggen; eigen schuld, dikke bult!” 
(“O dear, I’m going to miss my train, now I’ll be late for that meeting! Can you drive me to work? Pleeease??” – “No way! You had this coming! You should have gotten up this morning instead of staying in bed!” Literally: “Can you take me to work by car?…” – “Yes bye!! Then you shouldn’t have remained lying…” When begging for help or a favour we often use a prolonged and slightly higher pitched ‘pleeease’ 🙂 )

“Els is bij me weggegaan, hoe moet ik nu verder?? Ik kan niet zonder haar!” – “Eigen schuld, dikke bult gozer! Je bent meerdere keren vreemdgegaan; wat verwacht je nou?!” 
(“Els left me, what do I do now?? I can’t live without her!” – “It’s your own fault man, you had it coming! You have cheated on her multiple times; what did you expect (was going to happen)?!” Lit.: “Els has left me, how must I continue?? I can’t without her!”)

– “Het is je eigen stomme schuld”: similar to ‘eigen schuld, dikke bult’. Lit.: ‘it is your own stupid fault’.
– “Boontje komt om zijn loontje”: serves you right!
– “Lekker puh!“: na na na na na!

Related words:
– Schuld: fault, debt, guilt [noun] [de schuld, de schulden].
– Bult: lump, hunch, hump [noun] [de bult, de bulten].

– “Ik heb mijn hoofd gestoten en nu heb ik een bult!”
(“I hit my head and now I’ve got a bump!”)

– Bochel: hunch, hump [noun] [de bochel, de bochels].
– Gebochelde: hunchback [noun] [de gebochelde, de gebochelden].

6 thoughts on “Eigen schuld, dikke bult

  1. Sander, I’m wondering in these days of political correctness and inter-ethnic sensitivities have there been any moves over there to rename “moorkoppen” to something less, err, controversial?

    I ask this as somebody who once stood on a street corner with mouth agape in astonishment as Zwarte Piet trundled along on Sinterklaas-avond… 🙁

    • Hi Chris,
      I’m not aware of voices demanding an alternative name, although – as you can see by hovering with your mouse over the ‘moorkop’ image – some people do find it a politically incorrect term. More information on the naming origin can be found here:
      (although I couldn’t say it is a true story or not…)

      A similar case that has actually led to renaming, is one of my favourite childhood treats: the ‘negerzoen’ (chocolate-coated-marshmallow-like treat). Although this name is definitely debatable, as a child I never had any such connotation. They are now called ‘Buys zoenen’ with ‘Buys’ the producing brand (http://www.buyszoenen.nl).

      I understand (and appreciate) that outside the Netherlands people may frown on the concept of ‘Zwarte Piet’ but as a child I only remember the excitement of the presents, and de ‘Zwarte Pieten’ throwing candy into the classroom and through the letterbox. Actually only in recent years this has become a real debate.

  2. Oh yes, I fully agree with your last paragraph.

    Even more so since in Belgium once I had to explain to two female friends why it was probably not acceptable to say they were renting their house to a family of “negers” – something that would land you in court in the UK probably. But, they really didn’t see anything wrong with it, their intent being descriptive rather than racist.

    As with your ‘negerzoen’ as a child I enjoyed “Black Jacks” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Jack_%28confectionery%29

    At that time they even came individually wrapped with a picture of a gollywog on it 🙁

    I think they are now called something else, thank goodness. Still, that was at the time when there was a “comedy” (I use the term loosely) programme on the TV which had the scenario of people living next to a black family as its premise: “My N****r Next Door” or something (I exaggerate the title for effect). And also the egregious “Black and White Minstrel Show” which featured popular old-time songs performed by “blacked-up” performers (a la Zwarte Piet).

    We have come a long way since then!

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