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Word of the day: smoorverliefd (head over heels)

No, I am not smitten, besotted or infatuated at this particular moment. ‘Ik ben niet SMOORVERLIEFD.’ It was Jet who suggested this word, or to be more truthful, the mere word VERLIEFD (in love). 


What do you think? Is VERLIEFD a lovely word? I don’t think so. VERLIEFDHEID (infatuation) is madness, GEKTE. Total madness. The Dutch poet Hans Andreus (1926-1977) called this temporary obsession with the other: ‘kleine waanzin’ (minor insanity).

In the fifties Andreus wrote a cycle of poems about VERLIEFDHEID (infatuation) which he called ‘Sonnetten van de kleine waanzin’ (Sonnets of minor madness). I must confess that this slender book won my heart. It gave me my passion for poetry when I was in my teens. As a tribute to Andreus, I’ll quote one of the loveliest poems about love I know. But not just yet. Patience. I’ll end my post with this poem.

VERLIEFD is the participle derived from the verb ‘verlieven’ (to fall in love) which is no longer in use. And ‘verlieven’ is connected with another word that is out of use: ‘lieven’ (to love). We now say VERLIEFD WORDEN (literally: ‘become enloved’).

When someone is SMOORVERLIEFD, the poor thing is smothered by an intense and short-lived passion. The verb SMOREN means to suffocate or to choke. Realistic reflection of how you feel when addicted to another person: choking to death.

Has being VERLIEFD anything to do with LIEFDE (love)? No, I don’t think so. Infatuation is the condition of being carried away by unreasoned emotions. In short: madness. LIEFDE (love) is akin to friendship.

VERLIEFDHEID passes the best-before date after a maximum of eighteen months but usually much earlier. LIEFDE has no use-by date. It grows and it grows and it grows in silence and peace.

Our female aldermen for culture Marjolein de Jong was present at the first night of the new feature film SMOORVERLIEFD which was released the other week. It carries the subtitle VERLIEFD WORDEN was nog nooit zo sexy (Falling in love has never been so sexy).

Marjolein liked the film very much and she is proud that it was filmed in the streets of The Hague. So these are reasons to go and see it.

The movie SMOORVERLIEFD is a comedy about the chaotic love life of a merry mother and her three daughters. Originally it was a Belgian film made in 2010. The script was written by Hilde Van Mieghem… Hilde… Hilde… Yes Hilde…

Once, long ago I was in love with Hilde Van Mieghem. In the eighties. I saw her in the film ‘Blonde Dolly’ which was also shot mainly in The Hague. She played the character of a mysterious Hague prostitute. It was not a very good film, yet at the end of it I was smitten. Later I saw this talented actress in various theatre plays. But by then I had fallen out of love.

Hilde Van Mieghem is a lovely actress from Flanders. Was it her voice, her Flemish accent? Her smile? No, I fell for her pitch black eyes. But that was over twenty years ago.

Anyway, back to reality. Tomorrow’s destination is Terneuzen, a small port in the south of Zeeland where the legend of the Flying Dutchman was born. Close to the Belgian border. I’ll tell you more about the place and the legend when I get back.

Falling in love? VERLIEFD WORDEN. No, nay, nevermore, quoth the raven, nevermore. Good weekend one and all. Thanks Jet. Thanks to you I was reminded of Hilde (what a lovely name).

Facebook friends: I hope you enjoy this poem by Hans Andreus. I translated it especially for you.

Je bent zo

Je bent zo
dan ik,

niet meer of

zo mooi

ik zou je 

anders dan
anders willen.

From: Hans Andreus, ‘Vertel hoeveel ik van je hou’, Amsterdam, 1998.

You are so

You are so

not more or

so lovely
someone else,

I’d never wish 
you to be

unlike your 
usual self.