Glossary

Dictionary of terms widely used by the Dutch.

NB: this section is under construction.

AOW

Algemene Ouderdomswet, “General penion law”. This term is also commonly used in reference to the old-age pension itself.

AOW-leeftijd

The retirement age. Initially it was 65 years, but was later set to gradually increase.

Details

Buienradar

Literally “shower radar”. Dutch national weather service that monitors and predicts precipitation with high accuracy.

cao

Collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst, collective labour agreement. Document stipulating terms applicable to (almost) every employee in the company. Such an agreement is common with mid-size to large companies with many employees.

gemeente

Municipality, district, borough. The smallest administrative division in the Netherlands.

This word is also often used to denote the local city/town hall.

Details: What is a gemeente?

gemeentehuis (raadhuis, stadhuis)

gft

groente-, fruit- en tuinafval: vegetable, fruit and garden waste, a.k.a. organic waste.

iDEAL

National Dutch online payment system. Every significant bank in the Netherlands provides integration with iDEAL.

kliko

Originally name of a waste container manufacturer Kliko (which stands for Klinkenberg en Koster), nowadays turned into a common name for household waste containers.

Koninginnedag

Literally “Queens’s Day”.

The birthday of the ruling queen. Last occurred in 2013, is currently replaced by the King's Day since the King Willem Alexander is on the throne.

Koninginnenacht

Literally “Queens’s Night”.

The night preceding the Queen's Day.

Koningsdag

Literally “King’s Day”.

The birthday of the Dutch King Willem Alexander, a public holiday celebrated annually on April 27th (April 26th, should the 27th fall on a Sunday).

Koningsnacht

Literally “King’s Night”.

The night preceding the King's Day.

NS

Short for Nederlandse Spoorwegen. Dutch Railways, a government-owned passenger service operator.

The railway infrastructure (railways, switches and so on) is managed by another government-controlled body, ProRail.

NS Business Card

pakjesavond

Literally “package evening”. The evening of 5 December, on which children (and sometimes adults, too) get presents from Sinterklaas.

Prinsjesdag

Literally “Little Prince’s Day”.

The day when the ruling monarch of the Netherlands is addressing the general public with a throne speech. Also the day when the budget policy for the coming year is announced. Happens annually on the third Tuesday of September.

Sinterklaas (Sint-Nicolaas, Saint Nicholas)

Saint Nicholas, a Dutch version of Santa Claus. As the legend has it, he permanently lives in Spain but comes to the Netherlands every year to give presents to children on the 5th of December.

Sinterklaas is travelling with a number of aides called Black Pete.

super

Abbreviated form of supermarkt, supermarket.

Zwarte Piet (Black Pete)

Literally “Black Pete”, a companion to Sinterklaas and, lately, a source of disagreement in Dutch society because of his blackface appearance.

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