In this video, Yolande Hisgen (Direct Dutch) talks about Dutch icon Annie MG Schmidt. Her books and poems are great for learning Dutch idiom and lots of new words. Besides this, her work is great fun and reading her books will teach you something about 20th century Dutch culture as well!
Almost all Dutch natives grew up with Mrs Schmidt, i.e. her stories, her songs, her poems, her television series, her feature films, her plays and her musicals. And when you’re learning Dutch, you can always count on Annie M.G. Schmidt to help you out. There is more to her than just the “Jip en Janneke” stories.
Who is Annie M.G. Schmidt? And why is she so important to the Dutch culture? Her full name, of course, is Anna Maria Geertruida Schmidt. She was born in Zeeland in 1911 and she died in Amsterdam in 1995.
Annie M.G. Schmidt became famous with her children books: Jip en Janneke, Pluk van de Petteflet, Minoes, Ibbeltje en Abeltje and her children poems: Dikkertje Dap, Het Beertje Pippeloentje en Het schaap Veronica.
The first book a new learner of Dutch should buy is “Ziezo”. It is a true treasure trove of rhymes and stories, containing 347 children’s rhymes and marvellous illustrations. The short but sweet title “Ziezo” means, “There you are”, and even after only a few Dutch lessons, you’ll be able to find words and phrases that you’ll recognise.
In “Ziezo”, on page 28, you’ll find the Dutch song-of-songs, an icon of Dutch culture. Everybody knows it by heart. Bring up the title “Dikkertje Dap” in conversation and your average Dutchie (male or female of any age) will spontaneously start singing or reciting the verse. It is a poem about the daring little boy called “Dikkertje Dap” and his amazing adventure with a kind giraffe in Artis Zoo. The name “Dikkertje” suggests that he is far from skinny (“dik” means “thick” or “stout”) and “Dap” is the first syllable of “dapper” (meaning courageous or brave). In other words, it’s about a child whom the Dutch consider to be “the real deal”.
This poem can help you to practice the present tense, the past tense. You’ll also learn how to tell the time and how to do your ABCs, as well as all kinds of handy phrases for daily use.
Dikkertje Dap with lyrics
In this video you can listen to ‘Dikkertje Dap’ (with lyrics). This version of the well known poem is the official title song for the movie Dikkertje Dap. It is sung by Dutch singer Kenny B. and actor Martijn Fischer.
If you would like to learn more about Annie MG Schmidt, make sure to check out this article by Ruud Hisgen (Direct Dutch Institute).