It’s almost summer in Dutchland… Niets nieuws onder de zon (nothing new under the sun).Now that we’re expecting sunny skies again, people will open up and become more approachable. Use this opportunity to practise the Dutch that you have been cramming during the long winter nights.
Number one in the top five of Dutch conversation topics is the fickle weather. Breek het ijs(break the ice) by making a remark about the weather. Any remark will do. Try it out. Ruud Hisgen discusses a few expressions that can come in handy.
1. Mooi weertje, vandaag (lovely weather eh)
These three words will do the trick come rain or shine (weer of geen weer). You could vary them: “lekker weertje, vandaag”. When it is pissing it down, you can use the phrase ironically: “mooi weertje, vandaag”. If you want to sound more serious: “bah, slecht weer, vandaag”.
Notice that the diminutive disappears the moment you start using negative words like slecht (bad), vreselijk, afschuwelijk (terrible). A curt, “rotweer hè?” is quite to the point.
The weather is treated as some kind of religion.
2. Na regen komt zonneschijn(after rain, the sun will shine)
When the rain is coming down in buckets (het regent pijpenstelen = it’s raining pipe stems), you could continue the conversation with an optimistic remark by saying, “achter de wolken schijnt de zon” (behind the clouds the sun will shine) or the above expression.
Note that this expression can also be used when a colleague has just confessed to you that their relationship ended the night before. Or when they fell down the stairs and broke their leg, arm or worse.
3. Het is fris voor de tijd van het jaar (nippy for the time of the year)
In Holland, there is no one holier than the weatherman. And yet, most people treat him or her with due suspicion. So are they staunch believers or rather impious? The answer is a little bit of both.
The weather is treated as some kind of religion. Much attention is devoted to the many broadcasts on the internet, television, radio or reports in the papers, and they are treated as essential food for a weather conversation.
These reports could be seen as sermons. “Het weerbericht zat er weer goed naast” (the forecast was completely off the mark again). The opposite is usually passed over in silence.
Read the complete article on I am Expat!