Nationale Borreldag

Today it is ‘Nationale Borreldag’ in the Netherlands. But of course we ‘borrel’ whenever we can, preferably catching some sunshine on an outdoor terrace. Along with the ‘borrel’ go ‘hapjes’: bites/snacks.

This photo (that I took last Monday on Amsterdam’s Schinkelhaven terrace) shows some of the popular options and has a funny spelling error. A ‘stengel’ is a ‘cane’ or ‘stalk’ (of a plant) and is used in the word ‘kaasstengel’ (a snack in the form of cheese (‘kaas’) flavoured sticks). A ‘tengel’ however is slang for a hand. So a mother could snap at her child: “En nu blijf je met je tengels van de kaasstengels af!”

For more info on ‘borrel’ check out Borrelpraat.

Borrelmenu op terras met drankjes en hapjes

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twaddle [noun] [bor-rel-praat] Iconspeaker_3

“Borrelpraat” is composed of “borrel” and “praat”. Traditionally,
“borrel” refers to a strong alcoholic drink, but it is also often used
to describe a drink with colleagues or friends to celebrate a certain
event (graduation, Christmas (the so-called “kerstborrel“),
or your birthday). “Praat” means “talk” or “story”. Hence, “borrelpraat”
refers to the conversations people have at a “borrel”. As you’ll all
understand, these conversations often lead nowhere but are very
enjoyable. The more alcohol is consumed, the more “borrelpraat” can be

– “Luister maar niet naar die borrelpraat; als je nuchter bent is het niet te volgen.”

(“You’d better not listen to that twaddle; if you’re sober it’s impossible to follow.”)Borrel_2

– “Moeten jullie nog werken of kunnen we gaan borrelen om het weekend te vieren?” 
(“Do you still have work to do or can we go and have a drink to celebrate the weekend?”)

– “Kom eens met ons borrelen.”
(“Join us for a informal drink.”)

– “Je gelooft die roddels toch niet; het is gewoon borrelpraat.”
(“You don’t believe that gossip, do you; it’s just twaddle.”)

Related words:
– Borrel: drink, informal reception [noun] [de borrel, de borrels].
– Borrelen: drink and talk [verb] [borrelde, geborreld].
– Praat: talk [noun] [no singular, de praat].


Christmas reception [noun] [de <kerst><borrel>, de kerstborrels]

The word “borrel” actually does not translate to reception precisely, but it comes close: a “borrel” is a very informal reception, held periodically at work, or to pleasantly conclude a business meeting or a seminar for example.
Of course there is a verb as well: “borrelen”, the activity of participating in a “borrel”.

The Dutch word for Christmas is “Kerstmis”, often abbreviated to “kerst”.

– “Dit jaar wordt de kerstborrel gehouden op 14 december.”
(“This year the Christmas reception is held on the 14th of December.”)

– “Ik ga niet meer naar de vrijdagmiddagborrel; hij komt mijn neus uit!”
(“I am not going to the Friday afternoon reception anymore; I am sick of it!” Literally: “…; it comes out of my nose!”)

– “Tijdens de borrel worden vaak belangrijke beslissingen genomen. Zoals: doen we nog een biertje, of niet?”
(“During a “borrel” quite often important decisions are made. Such as: should we have another beer or not?)” Literally:  “…: do we do another beer, or not?”)

– “De toespraak die Frank hield voorafgaand aan de borrel, duurde veel te lang!”
(“The speech that Frank held prior to the “borrel” was way too long!”)

Related words:
– “Vrijmibo”: abbreviation of “vrijdagmiddagborrel”.
– “Kerstmis”: Christmas.
– “Receptie”: reception.
– “Borrelhapjes”: specific Dutch snacks served during “borrels”, like pieces of cheese, or “bitterballen“.

“Vrijmibo’s” in progress can very well be observed every Friday in the several bars at the “Plein” in the city of The Hague, the Netherlands. The bars are crowded with employees from the several nearby ministeries. The number of suites and ties is quite high. In the summer season, on rare sunny days, the terraces start to fill up from three o’clock onwards.