Dat is een pak van mijn hart

that’s a huge relief, that’s a load off my mind
[Dutch phrase of the week]
[dat is een pak van mijn hart] 

In the phrase ‘dat is een pak van mijn hart’ the noun ‘pak’ refers to a heavy load or burden that is ‘lifted off the heart’. The latter implies that it regards concerns or worries as opposed to physical burden. The phrase is used when something happens that is a huge relief.

Other possessive pronouns than ‘mijn’ can be used and you may also hear “het is een pak van mijn hart” or the shortened “pak van mijn hart”.

“Dat we het huis eindelijk verkocht lijken te hebben, is een pak van mijn hart.” 
(“It is a huge relief (to me) that it finally seems we have sold the house.”)

“De operatie is geslaagd, uw man maakt het goed en we denken dat hij na een dag of twee wel naar huis mag.” – “O dokter, dat is een pak van mijn hart, dankuwel!” 
(“The surgery went well, your husband is doing fine and we think that he’ll be allowed to go home within a day or two.” – “Oh doctor, that is such a relief, thank you very much!”)

“Hallo, ik ben goed aangekomen hoor!” – “O kind, dat is een pak van mijn hart, we waren zo ongerust toen je maar niet belde!” 
(“Hello, I’ve arrived safe and sound, all went well!” – “O my dear, that is a huge relief, we were so worried when you just wouldn’t call!” Lit. “Oh child, …” The adverb ‘hoor’ is difficult to translate, it’s there to take away potentially existing doubt.)

“En, bent u opgelucht?” – “Pak van mijn hart, kan niet anders zeggen, pak van mijn hart, ik dacht dat het nooit meer goed zou komen.” 
(“So, are your relieved?” – “So relieved, no other way to say it, so relieved, I thought it would never be okay again.”)

Related words:
– Pak: parcel/package, pack/bunch, load/burden [noun] [het pak, de pakken].
– Opgelucht: relieved [adjective].
– Opgelucht ademhalen: to heave a sigh of relief [verb] [haalde adem, ademgehaald].
– Opluchting: relief [noun] [de opluchting, de opluchtingen].
Blij: happy, glad [adjective].
– Spanning: stress, tension, suspense [noun] [de spanning, de spanningen].

5 thoughts on “Dat is een pak van mijn hart

  1. any idea what those clay upside down cones things are used for in the picture at the top of you blog. next the fruits and vegetables, onions. to keep cheese in?Thanks for this interesting page, grew up with these curious expressions, both my parents are dutch, and are very old, so they got the old tongue happening. say that in dutch!

    • Hi John – actually I don’t know what they are used for; the picture is of a small restaurant and shop on Prinsengracht (Amsterdam) specialized in (nomadic) Algerian food (http://www.rainarai.nl). I’ll ask next time I’m there 🙂

  2. There is a similar expression in English: that’s a load off my mind, which means that’s a huge relief. The difference is obviously that in Dutch, you say a load off my heart, whereas we say a load off my mind.

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