Kommer en kwel

all sorrow and misery
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[Dutch phrase
of the week]

Sloppenwijk Although 'kommer' and 'kwel' both exist as independent nouns, it is highly likely that you will never encounter them outside this expression. You can use "kommer en kwel" to describe a situation or state that is bad or miserable. How bad or miserable depends a bit on the context 🙂

– "Het Engelse team ligt uit het toernooi, maar het was heus niet alleen kommer en kwel." 
("The English team is out of the tournament, but really it wasn't all that bad." Note the use of "eruit liggen"; to be out of a competition after losing.)

– "Hoe was je vakantie, Zuid-Frankrijk toch?" – "Het was verschrikkelijk met die regen, echt kommer en kwel!" 
("How was your holiday, the south of France wasn't it?" – "It was terrible with all that rain, truly sorrow and misery!")

– "Overal is het kommer en kwel, mensen worden ontslagen, ze kunnen de hypotheek niet meer opbrengen en hun spaargeld wordt minder waard!" 
("The situation is really really bad everywhere, people are being fired, they can't afford the mortgage any longer and their savings decrease in value!" Note that "opbrengen" is more like "to raise" than "to afford" which is mostly translated as "zich veroorloven".)   

– "Na de aardbeving in Haïti was het niets dan kommer en kwel.
("After the earthquake in Haiti it was sorrow and misery all over the place.")

Related words:
– Kommer: sorrow, distress [noun] [de kommer, <no plural>]
– Kwel: seepage [noun] [de/het kwel, <no plural>]   
Ellende: misery, miserable situation [noun] [de ellende, de ellenden]. The plural is never used though.
– Verdriet: sorrow [noun] [het verdriet, <no plural>].
– Uitzichtloos: hopeless, futureless [adjective].