[de ver-ras-sing, de ver-ras-sing-en] 

3203922211_0d55195a4f_zSurprise, the DWOTD is back 🙂 After 2,5 months of chasing building constructors I have almost shooed the last one away (but not without delivering what was agreed 😉 ). And I realized that one shouldn’t wait with starting one’s new life until all external issues have been resolved. So the DWOTD is back. Time to start practicing your Dutch again!!
(Photo: Michelle Tribe ( – some rights reserved.)

‘Verrassing’ is often misspelled. Don’t forget: two r’s, and two s’s 🙂

“Ver-ras-sing!” – “Nou, jongens toch, dit had mamma echt niet verwacht!” 
(“Sur-prise!!” – “Guys! No! Your mother really had not expected this!”)

“Wat een ontzettend leuke verrassing zeg; dit had ik nooit durven dromen!” 
(“What an incredibly nice surprise; I could never had dreamed this would happen!”)

“Toen ze in het hotel aankwamen, wachtte hen een heel onaangename verrassing: hun kamer bleek niet meer beschikbaar te zijn.” 
(“When they arrived at the hotel they were unpleasantly surprised: (it turned out) their room was no longer available.” Lit. “… a very unpleasant surprise awaited them…)

“Je gaat me toch niet vertellen dat dit een verrassing voor je is! We hebben al diverse malen aangegeven dat je prestaties onder de maat zijn. Sorry, maar dan rest ons niets anders dan je te ontslaan.” 
(“Surely you are not going to tell me that this comes as a surprise to you! Several times we have indicated that your performance is below standard. We’re sorry, but there’s nothing left for us to do than to fire you.” Lit.: “…that your achievements are below standard.” Note the use of “er rest [reflexive pronoun] niets anders dan…”: there’s nothing left to do to for [object pronoun] than…”)

“Ik vind dit niet echt een leuke verrassing moet ik eerlijk bekennen. We hadden iets totaal anders afgesproken!” 
(“To be honest I have to admit I do not (really) find this a nice surprise. We agreed on something completely different!”)

“Je weet dat je vader niet van verrassingen houdt, dus hou het alsjeblieft een beetje bescheiden.” 
(“You know your father doesn’t like surprises, so please keep it a bit modest.”)

– “Die zag ik (niet) aankomen”: I saw (did not see) that one coming / I knew (had no idea) that was going to happen.

Related words:
– Verrassen: to surprise [verb] [verraste, verrast].
– Onverwacht: unexpected(ly) [adjective/adverb].
– Verwachten: to expect [verb] [verwachtte, verwacht].

– “Ik had dit wel verwacht. Was het voor jou wel een verrassing dan?”
(“I kind of expected this. Are you saying you were surprised?” Lit. “Was it a surprise to you (then)?”)

Surprise: surprise [noun] [de surprise, de surprises]. Typically only used in the context of the Sinterklaas tradition. Check out the post on Surprise for more information.
– Surpriseparty: surprise party [noun] [de surpriseparty, de surpriseparty’s]. Literally this would be a ‘verrassingsfeestje’ however it is not really a part of our culture, so we both imported the custom and and the word 🙂


surprise Iconspeaker_3
[noun] Surprise
[de sur-pri-se, de sur-pri-ses]

The Dutch "surprise" (pronounced "sur-pree-zuh") is nearly only used in the context of Sinterklaas. Unless you're a "kakker" and speak with a hot "aardappel" in your mouth…then you may want to use "surprise" as a synonym for the far more common "verrassing" (surprise)…and if you really want to overdo it, you can use the French "quelle surprise" 🙂

See Extra for more info on the Dutch tradition of "surprises".

– "Heb jij je surprise al klaar? Zondag is het pakjesavond!" 
("Do you have your Sinterklaas surprise ready yet? It's Sinterklaas' evening of presents on Sunday!")

– "Ik heb echt een onnozele surprise gemaakt voor Frank…dat zal hij echt niet leuk vinden :-)" 
("I really made a silly Sinterklaas surprise for Frank…he's really not going to like it :-)")

– "Mijn beste kerel! Mieters jou hier te treffen, wat een surprise!" 
("Old chap! How swell to meet you here, what a surprise!" Lit.: "My best man!…")

– "Grote ogen opzetten": to be surprised, to be dazed. Lit.: "to put on big eyes".
– "Nou breekt mijn klomp!": I'll be damned! Lit.: "Now my wooden shoe breaks!"

– "Heb jij deze surprise gemaakt?? Nou breekt mijn klomp! Hij is geweldig!!"
("Did you make this Sinterklaas surprise?? I'll be damned! It's great!!")

Related words:
Pakjesavond: Sinterklaas' evening of presents [noun] [de pakjesavond, de pakjesavonden].
– Stomverbaasd: dumbfounded, flabbergasted [adjective].
– Verrassing: surprise [noun] [de verrassing, de verrassingen].

– "Met die stevige wind is het geen verrassing dat de gevoelstemperatuur erg laag ligt."
("With that strong wind, it's no surprise that it feels like temperatures are very low.")

During Sinterklaas time, it's kind of a tradition to have a "surprise-avond" (lit.: surprise night). The "surprise-avond" may coincide with "pakjesavond", but this is not mandatory. A few weeks (sometimes months) before "surprise-avond" there's the crucial part of "lootjes trekken", where all participants draw the name of another participant. It is of the utmost importance not to reveal the name you have drawn, although many try to find out the names that others have drawn. The objective is then to create a "surprise" for the person you've drawn, which consists of three elements: 1. a hand-made object (constructed by using materials like paper, cardboard boxes, toilet paper roles, etc.) 2. a Sinterklaas poem, and 3. a small, funny present. During "lootjes trekken" often a maximum amount is agreed upon, which may be spent on the "surprise". The created object, poem and/or present must preferably apply to a characteristic feature of the recipient. Finally, at the "surprise-avond" everybody opens/unpacks/dismantles the "surprise" that has been created for him/her, reads the poem out loud, and guesses the name of the creator. Because the quality of the "surprises" may vary, a "surprise-avond" may include feelings of both pleasant surprise and serious disappointment, as well as the consumption of alcoholic beverages 🙂