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Preview article: Five Dutch spring sayings

By Ruud Hisgen (Direct Dutch)

Yes, spring has sprung and ‘Nothing is so beautiful as spring, when weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush’ wrote the British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1899). But this spring came with a lot of surprises in the Netherlands. April 2021 brought us sun, snow, hail, storm, thunder and lightning and chilly weather. All these have passed by now. And we welcome May.

As you know, the Dutch are obsessed by the weather (see Ruud Hisgens previous article: 7 Dutch expressions about the weather) and that’s why you should be able to join the discussion. Use any opportunity to show that you’re weatherwise in Dutch and use these expressions freely. Learn them by heart.

  1. Maart roert zijn staart [March has a sting in its tail]

The first month of spring is March. Spring begins at the end of the third month of the year. Around the 21st of March. And usually the weather is still very ‘wisselvallig’ [unstable, changeable].

  1. April doet wat hij wil [April does what it wants to do]

This saying means more or less what the poet T.S. Eliot wrote in the opening of his stunning poem The Waste Land (1922): ‘April is the cruellest month’. But the Dutch will also say:

‘Aprilletje zoet heeft nog wel eens een witte hoed’. A little rhyme which means: ‘Little April sweet sometimes has a white hat”. The white hat is a metaphor for snowfall.

You can read the full article on I am Expat on 4 May 2021