Voor spek en bonen

to count for nothing, to sit there for show, to be purely decorative Iconspeaker_3
[Dutch phrase of the week]
[voor spek en bo-nen]

Bonen When you are participating in or joining an activity and your participation has no significant impact or you don’t care about the outcome, then you can say you are in it “voor spek en bonen” (literally ‘for the bacon and the beans’). This phrase is typically used in conjunction with the verb “meedoen”: to participate.

Spek I heard this phrase yesterday when I was watching the popular Dutch reality show “Boer zoekt vrouw” (‘Farmer wants a wife’). Farmer Richard was supposed to choose from three women after spending some time with them on the farm. However, he had secretly met with one of them before their stay, thereby sealing the deal beforehand. The other women then complained that they had been part of the show “voor spek en bonen” only!

You also frequently here “voor de show” (‘just for show’).

– “We gaan zo poker spelen, doe je mee?” – “Nou vooruit, maar alleen voor spek en bonen.” 
(“We are about to play poker, will you join?” – “Hm. Ok! But I’m not playing for real…”)

– “Ga je me nu vertellen dat ik al die tijd voor spek en bonen meedoe? Daar ben ik mooi klaar mee!” 
(“Are you telling me that all this time my participation has count for nothing? A fine state of affairs, … not!”)

– “Mag ik met jullie mee voetballen?” – “Ok, je bent wel veel te klein, maar goed, dan doe je voor spek en bonen mee.” 
(“Can I play football/soccer with you guys?” – “Alright, you are in fact way too short, but ok, then you play just for show.”)

– “Ik waardeer het dat jullie me hebben uitgenodigd voor de vergadering, maar als ik niets mag zeggen, zit ik er dus gewoon voor spek en bonen bij! Dat lijkt me niet de bedoeling, of wel soms?!” 
(“I appreciate it that you have invited me for the meeting, but when I’m not allowed to say anything I’m basically here for decoration only! I don’t think that’s the way it is supposed to be, is it now?!”)

– “Voor de show”: just for show.

Related words:
Spek: pork, bacon [noun] [het spek].
Boon: bean [noun] [de boon, de bonen].
– Show: show [noun] [de show, de shows].