9 Dutch sayings that don’t make sense

We have a lot of sayings and proverbs in the Netherlands. Often it's not really clear what they are supposed to mean. That's why we'll explain it to you.

Wie a zegt moet ook b zeggen

The literal meaning would be ‘‘Who says a must also say b’’. The meaning of this is: once you start something, you have to finish it. 


Boontje komt om zijn loontje

If you would translate it to English, it would be ‘‘bean comes to his wages’’. That doesn’t make sense. It means when someone has done something bad, they will eventually get their deserved punishment for it. So it’s like ‘’what goes around, comes around’’. 


Wie zijn billen brandt, moet op de blaren zitten

This would literally translate to ‘‘Anyone who burns their butt, should sit on the blisters’’.

Meaning: those who make a mistake must experience the consequences.


De een zijn dood is een ander zijn brood

''One man's death is another man's bread.'' This means that some benefit from the misfortune of others.


Als je voor een dubbeltje geboren bent, word je nooit een kwartje

This literally means: ''If you were born for a dime, you will never become a quarter'' Meaning: no matter what you do, if you were born into the low class you will never become a part of the high class.

De aap komt uit de mouw

This would translate to ''the monkey is coming out of the sleeve''. Meaning: this saying originated in response to pranksters hiding "something" up their sleeves and that something eventually comes out of the sleeve. The true reason comes out. 


Van een mug een olifant maken

''Turning a mosquito into an elephant''. Meaning: turn something small into something big. 


Daar kraait geen haan naar

If you would translate it to English, it would be ''No rooster will crow about that''. Meaning: no one wants to pay attention to that.


Hij kan praten als Brugman

''He can talk like a Brugman''. Meaning: he can talk a lot and is great at convincing people. 

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