You probably know some traditional Dutch names, like Peter, Piet, Karel, Henk en Truus. But did you that you can use some traditional Dutch names to describe a character trait or situation? Give yourself a well deserved break from the dry grammar and give a fun twist to your Dutch conversation.
Who doesn't know the name Piet? If you are familiar with the Sinterklaas tradition, you'll know that Piet brings Dutch children presents every year. But this name is also used to describe someone who is very focused on details. Pietje-precies is a perfectionist!
2. Een houten klaas
A guy named Klaas made of wood? Imagine being made out of wood. What would be very hard to do? Right: dancing. Houten klaas is not the king or queen of the dancefloor. But hey, as long as he enjoys it, it's okay right?
3. Een hoge piet
Here's Piet again, but this time he is a big shot! "Een hoge piet" (or pief, you can choose) is someone with an important, well-payed job, usually in a big company.
And talking about important, well-payed jobs at big companies... Truus is a (bit old fashioned) women's name. An excuustruus is a woman who is only tolerated in an important, high position to avoid the appearance of sexism. Hopefully we won't need this word anymore in the near future!
5. De ware jacob(a)
Maybe you have found him/her already or maybe you are still looking. Well, they say you'll find your true Jacob(a) when you least expect it.
6. De sjaak zijn
Ah, Sjaak. A quirky, old fashioned name. But in the figurative sense you would rather not be him. It means you are the one who has to take the blow.
7. Gekke Henkie
Another person we'd rather not be. The Dutch make it really clear by saying: "Ik ben gekke henkie niet". Gekke henkie is someone who gives in very easily and doesn't stand up for himself. So, if someone tries to sell you something overpriced or if your partner always lets you cook ánd do the dishes, you can just make clear that you are not crazy Henk.
8. Jan en alleman
Ok, this one is a bit different than the others, because Jan en alleman doesn't represent one person. Quite the contrary: it means iedereen (everyone). So, if Jan en alleman is invited to a party, it's not exclusive at all.
9. Joost mag het weten
Joost is a common Dutch boy's name. And apparently Joost is smart, because he seems to know everything. So, if you don't know the answer to a question you can just say that "Joost may know." What are we eating tonight? - Joost mag het weten. Why didn't you do your homework? - Joost mag het weten. Is there life on other planets? - Joost mag het weten! Handy right? And something most Dutch people don't know: Joost is an old-fashioned name for the devil.
10. Nieuwsgierig aagje
Finally another girls name! It would've been a bit too ironic if "excuustruus" was the only one. Een nieuwsgierig (curious) aagje is someone who wants to know everything and asks a lot of questions.
We've know discussed 10 names with an extra meaning in Dutch, but there are way more. Think of Brave Hendrik (someone who always acts well or too well behaved), vrolijke frans (always happy) or the more exotic don juan (a charmer).
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Jan met de pet
A common person, people in general