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  • Marie Tseng

See What the Dutch Say: Culture Values Expressed in Daily Language

Without an understanding of the historical and social roots of a culture, one can never hope to grasp its subtleties. My good friends Jussara N P De Souza, Juanita Wijnands, Fernando Lanzer together with Alette Vonk, have spend the last two years researching the roots and impact of popular Dutch expressions.


'See what the Dutch say' takes us on an exploration of "Deep Dutch Culture" in a fun and informative way. The structure of the book makes it easy to browse both for people who just want to use it for stimulating conversations as well as those who want thoughtful insights into Dutch culture.

Here is a little insight, from the authors themselves, into the book that will be released first as an E-book in October 2020.


"Our aim with our book is to create a deeper understanding of the Dutch people and culture. We imagine our readers to be visitors, foreigners, businesspeople, immigrants, expats, all of them interested in understanding the Dutch better than they do. And hopefully the Dutch will be interested in the book as a mirror to look into and see perceive what other people see and find ‘funny’, awkward, difficult and polite or impolite about their culture.

We have selected Dutch expressions that explain and highlight typical Dutch habits and behavior, and their underlying values. We have translated them into English and have used wonderful photographs to make the emotional connection. ….to get the message across.

In this ‘sound and visual-bite’ age that we live in, text and words, alone are not enough to get a message across, not enough to have a real impact. It is pictures and images that catch the imagination and have an immediate impact nowadays. So much so that it galvanizes people into action, rightly or wrongly. Often, they scratch only a superficial level of a situation, not the deeper layers of a given culture and context.

Perceptions translate into images, which translate into values and beliefs of a group. They are intrinsically linked to the ‘webs of meaning and knowledge ’of these cultural groups. In this extremely volatile period of the world that we are living in, it is more than ever important to understand the deeper meaning behind these images.

Getting to know another people and understanding their logic and their deeper drivers in life, is always a confusing, fascinating and also long journey. This book offers a small and delightful shortcut. Very accessible images actually provide for deeper meaning and understanding. The book is both fun and profound, both insightful and very easy to read."

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