Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 9 September 2009

9th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Dutch royal couple welcomed in ‘New Amsterdam’
Wednesday’s dailies lead with large photographs of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcoming Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima to New York to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch trading post New Amsterdam.

Clinton officially greeted the Dutch royal couple on the US aircraft carrier Intrepid with the words: “Thanks to the Dutch, New York is a beacon of freedom and diversity.”

American English influenced by Dutch
Trouw highlights the Dutch influence on American English. “Without realising it, Americans speak a bit of Dutch. Their language has been peppered with Dutch words for centuries.”

A book written by Nicoline van der Sijs - which will be presented in New York tomorrow by Dutch Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk - has three Dutch-English words in its title: Yankees, cookies en dollars, de invloed van het Nederlands op Noord-Amerikaanse talen (Yankees, Cookies and Dollars, the Influence of Dutch on the North American Vernacular).

In her book, Van der Sijs writes while the origin of Yankee has long been disputed  - some argued that its origin came from a Cherokee word meaning coward, while others believe it was a French mispronunciation of Anglais (French for English) – its most logical source lies in the common Dutch names Jan and Kees.

Since many of the first European inhabitants of North America were named Jan and Kees “Their British rivals derisively referred to them as Jan-Kees's.” In English pronunciation this would be Yankees.

Dutch was the dominant language in the far-away colony for but a short period: from 1624 until 1664. Nonetheless, Van der Sijs found 246 American words with recognisable Dutch roots – most of them are still used. Other words are cookie, from the Dutch word koekje, bakoven (baking oven) which they brought to North America with them so that they could make their traditional treat for guests, and daalder, a Dutch coin, which used to be known as daler.

Senior Games held in Zeeland
AD reports Senior Games, which are being held in the province of Zeeland this week. More than 2,000 athletes aged 50 and above from 33 countries will compete in 22 categories of sport. The newspaper asks several athletes about how they keep fit.

Roger Gentilhomme from the US state of Massachusetts is 100 and will be competing in tennis. He calls himself a “latecomer” since he only began to play the game when he was 67.

He recovered from a brain tumour in 1987 and has shrunk ten centimetres over the years. He regularly plays in the Senior Games but considers himself the only really old person. “The others are kids who aren’t even 80.”

He said the secret of living to an old age is to remain interested in things. And don’t let things get to you. “If something irritates you, then say it.”

Seventy-six-year old Joop Ruiter from Rotterdam set a Dutch Seniors record by running 100 metres in less than 16 seconds. The reporter asked him at the end of the race how he felt. The response: “Let me get my breath.”

Ministers  to block credit cards after blunder
De Telegraaf reports that the recent publication of the expense claims of Dutch ministers has led Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Health Minister Ab Klink to block their credit cards.

The authorities forgot to delete their card numbers and dates when publishing the ministers’ expense claims, making it easy for criminals to use their cards.

AD columnist Hugo Borst writes he was “shocked” by the expenses claimed by Dutch politicians: “What a bunch of amateurs if you compare them to English politicians. Most of them are satisfied with expense claims of less than EUR 200 per month.”

Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica

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