Yes… it sounds like a cliché… love makes the world go round… but? Who cares? Love is the most important thing in life, right? It is universal…. but… love might be a little bit different in Dutch… There are at least 5 surprises and even Dutch people are not always aware of it! So, if you like to know more about Dutch love, then keep on reading….
1 Unfortunately you cannot really make love
Liefde is the Dutch word for for love and making love is a very joyful activity in English. Let’s make love could be the beginning of a wild adventure. But… if you say: laten we liefde maken, then Dutch people don’t know what to do… They might think that you need to open your heart chakra, or spread out loving energy to the rest of the universe and no one would ever think of taking out their clothes….
We maken liefde just does not make sense in Dutch… It really leaves people clueless… If you like, you could say: we bedrijven de liefde, which sounds like: to execute love… If you know that bedrijf means company in Dutch, then probably you’ll immediately understand that it really sounds weird….
So… what to say if you like to make love right now… One sentence is very simple and pragmatic, although not that romantic… it simply is: het is tijd voor seks! (it is time for…)
2 The real meaning of lief
One of the words that you hear often in Dutch is lief... This word comes directly from liefde and if you like then in first instance you can translate it with cute or lovable…
But… if you dig just a little bit deeper, then there is much more to discover! Lief is everything that ignites in sense of love within you, so therefore, many things can be lief…
If you like cats then een kat is lief. If a polar bear touches your heart, then you say de ijsbeer is lief… And… it does not stop here…
Jij lacht lief means you laugh / smile in such a way that I feel love inside of me… Jij praat lief means the way that you talk makes me feel love!
The combinations that you can make are virtually endless… so here is the scientific proof that Dutch people are much more open to love than you could ever imagine 🙂
3 If you do lief, it does not necessarily mean that you have sex!
Lief in Dutch is something that you could do as well, but… be careful here…. Yes… it might mean that you finally give your partner the neck massage that he / she really deserves or that you cover someone with millions of kisses… That is just one aspect of it…
Lief doen in general just means that you are kind, gentle or nice in most cases. Sure… it is something that you only use with people that you feel an affection for. Ben jij lief tegen je schoonmoeder? Are you nice and gentle with your mother in law? It just means that you can have a polite and gentle conversation with her… That you don’t show any form of sarcasm what so ever and if possible, that you talk to her, straight from your heart…
You can also use it with pets… Mijn kat doet niet lief could mean that your cat scratches you or doesn’t want to you 🙁
So yes… do eens lief could mean: give me some sex or romance… But… in most cases it only means: be nice to me!
4 If you call yourself a lover then decide first whether it should involve sex or not…
In English you can be a cat lover, a lover of fast cars, new shoes and you can be a great lover in bed… It is all the same word… Probably you already know that ik hou van jou means I love you and therefore you can also say: ik hou van stroopwafels if you like stroopwafels… But… once again… if you call a lover then you need to pay attention…
If you just like things or food then you can call een liefhebber (or liefhebster for women)… You can say: ik ben een kattenliefhebber (cat lover) or wijnliefhebber (wine lover). And… if you want to undress and jump into a bed, then everything changes… now all of a sudden you call yourself minnaar (for men) or minnares (for women)
So therefore if you visit the home of a Dutch friend never say that you are een kattenminnaar because then they will throw you out of their home and call the police 🙂
5 Love sometimes stinks in Dutch
What is the most lovable thing according to many people? It is a baby…. and… what is something that a baby does without feeling any form of shame or inhibition? Exactly… farting and pooping!
No wonder that when Dutch people see a baby they might yell: wat een poepie (what a poopie) or: wat een scheet! Therefore poepie & scheet are acceptable words for darling…
Yes… a poepie or a scheet stinks and therefore somehow it is disgusting…. but… there is a beautiful aspect about it…. the love could be very profound… if people call you scheet it means that they love you, even if you stink… Therefore jij bent een scheet could be the ultimate declaration of love in Dutch… if Dutch people keep on loving you no matter how bad you smell, then that means something… it could mean that you found true love, once and for all 🙂
Last but not least….
What is your experience with Dutch love? If you like, you can share it here!
Ulpiaon 10 Feb 2019