Beach Zwin Zeeuws-Vlaanderen

Typically Zeeland

We are known for our sober realism. “Just do the normal thing, that’s wacky enough.” ('Doe ma hewoon, dan doe je á hek henoeg’). Life is the new tidal: it comes and goes, comes and goes. We take it as it comes, and so will you, in the arms of our sea, with your new sea legs.

rinse oysters

You’ll soon be picking up our customs, our idioms. Like “laet ma doe” (let it be). As it says: leave it alone. Mind you, we’re not always laid back. When needed, we can “buzze geven”, put our foot on the ‘gas’. You’ll see.

Expressions in Zeeland

Not that you should go ‘head over heels’ (kop over klôôten) to get things done. That’s just plain rash. Our Zeeuws dialect is close to Dutch, yes, but while many find it coarse to add a gasped ‘hé’ to close a sentence in mainstream Dutch, no-one minds the softer cajoling of our ‘eej’. 

Prepare babbelaars

The word ‘Hosternokke’ is one of our Top Ten favourite words. Few people will raise an eyebrow when it’s used away from the children. But it is an extreme bastardisation of a very rough Dutch exhortation to the Good Lord. Much like ‘fiddlesticks!’ in English is derived from a body function best left unspoken.  

Zeeland horse with foal

That’s Zeeland and language: soberly soften up a bad word to avoid offence, or sweeten it, and all is well. Telling someone they are druuzig is saying nicely they are impatient. And when you think you ask them if their head hasn’t caramelised (bin je noe hlad besuukert?) it’s not about their sugar spike at all, but if they might be losing it. That besuukert is another bastardisation, from a very dark place.

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