Forced to walk face down in rainy Amsterdam you sometimes come across something nice. ‘Vertaling’ is derived from the verb ‘vertalen’ which is based on the noun ‘taal’ (language).
The act of changing (from one language to the other) is caught in the prefix ‘ver’ that often indicates a resulting change of state when used in a verb. Examples: ‘verhuizen’ (to move house), ‘vernieuwen’ (to renew), or the very applicable ‘verregenen’ (being spoiled by rain) e.g. ‘De bruiloft is helemaal verregend.’

Een vertaling van de ene taal naar de andere

Photo taken on Spui – Amsterdam

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Welkom in de buurt

My new neighbour still has some work to do before moving in, but he already received his ‘Welcome to the neighbourhood’ package (filled with potentially useful or useless local promotions).
In Dutch one says ‘Welkom in de buurt’ and this explains the common mistake Dutch people make when translating to English (and welcoming you “in” their home).
The company behind this package is ‘Buurtkadoos’: neighbourhood presents. Note that the correct spelling of ‘present’ is not ‘kado’ but ‘cadeau’ (from French) however in this case it is ‘pun intended’: doos also means ‘box’ and one speaks of ‘de Buurtka-doos‘.

Welkom in de buurt met Buurtkadoos


Photo taken in Sander’s stairwell – Amsterdam

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The prefix ‘loei’ means ‘very’, e.g. ‘loeihard’ (very loud/hard) and is derived from the verb ‘loeien’ in its obsolete meaning of ‘hard tekeergaan’ (which means someting like ‘to carry on with force’ however is mostly used in the translation of ‘to rant/rave’, to storm). Nowadays the verb ‘loeien’ has two common meanings:
– to howl/whine/wail (wind, siren);
– to moo (cow). (The sound a cow makes (‘a moo’) however is a ‘boe’ in Dutch.)
So now it is obvious what inspired the owners of the ‘Yoghurt Barn’ in Amsterdam to call their product ‘loeilekker’.

Note that ‘loei’ is a general prefix however you will mostly encounter the following examples: loeihard, loeizwaar, loeiheet/warm, loeisterk. In the photo ‘loeilekker’ is written as two words. The reason may be to emphasize the pun, or to make it easier to read (as ‘loeilekker’ is not a common usage of ‘loei’). It should however be written as one word.

Yoghurt Barn in de Pijp met de slogan 'loei lekker'

Photo taken on Eerste van der Helststraat – Amsterdam

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A ‘minibieb’ is the Dutch version of a ‘little free library’. The noun ‘bieb’ is a colloquialism for ‘bibliotheek’ (‘library’) and is the default in spoken informal Dutch, for example:
“Wat ben je aan het doen?” – “Ik ben aan het studeren in de bieb.”

‘Minibiebs’ are becoming more popular in Dutch cities. The sign in the photo reads: ‘Gratis lenen of ruilen’: borrow for free, or swap.

Een minibieb in Amsterdam Minibieb: Gratis lenen of ruilen

Photo taken on Pieter Lastmankade – Amsterdam

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Gebed zonder end

When something is taking (or expected to take) lots of effort and time without any result, the Dutch may call it a ‘gebed zonder end’ (‘an endless prayer’). Sometimes it’s used to say that it is not even worth trying, e.g. “Ik wil mijn fitnessabonnement opzeggen, maar ja, dat wordt natuurlijk weer een gebed zonder end!”
Note that ‘end’ is a synonym for ‘eind’ (or ‘einde’). See DWOTD Eind for more information on how to use it.

De steeg 'Gebed zonder End' in Amsterdam

Photo taken on Grimburgwal – Amsterdam

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