Being Dutch – Part 8: Lekkerrrrrrrrrrr

Whilst the Dutchie and I were watching Masterchef Holland last week, I got extremely excited when one of the challenges was to guess the 16 ingredients in… wait for it…

BITTERBALLEN!!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! In fact, I was so crazily enthusiastic I actually went and got a pen and paper to join in the game! Sadly… they turned out to be non-traditional fish bitterballen with a fancy coating. I was truly disappointed that I couldn’t play! 😦

The episode wasn’t a complete washout though, because on sight of the aforementioned bitterballen  – one of the contestants, Rosah, did the “lekker” hand sign which launched the Dutchie and I into hysterics!! (There’s a story to explain… below.)

If you don’t know the word lekker: it means delicious, tasty, yummy. The Dutch LOVE this word and use it at every possible opportunity. The word is now so popular it’s now used outside the realm of food, pretty much anything can be lekker! There’s also a funny Dutch hand sign to accompany it: you raise your hand to ear level with your palm pointing towards your face and wave it back and forward a couple of times… whilst saying the word lekkerrrrrrrrrrr (roll that r!!)

Let’s see Rosah from Masterchef do it:

Lekker hand position 1 ;-)

Lekker hand position 1 😉

Lekker hand position 2

Lekker hand position 2

Lekker hand position 3… then back to position 1. Repeat as many times as necessary whilst saying the word LEKKER.

Lekker hand position 3… then back to position 1. Repeat as many times as necessary whilst saying the word LEKKER.

Anyway, the reason for the giggle-fit: rewind 3 years and the Dutchie has just moved to England. We’re in a trendy pub Winchester (with a bit of a hangover from the night before) and he’s meeting a group of my close friends for the first time. We order some well-needed pub grub and he’s off: being his charming self and getting on with all my friends as I knew he would. (Bit annoying really! He gets on with EVERYONE!) 30 mins in, the food arrives and the Dutchie looks like all his Christmases have come at once!! Gotta love English pub grub!

We’re happily chomping away on our hangover-curing delights when the Dutchie locks eyes with my friend’s 2 year old son, raises his hand to his ear, does the hand sign and booms “lekkerrrrrrrrrrrrr” in his extremely-loud-and-heavily-Dutch-accented voice. The boy ponders it for a millisecond, but no… he bursts out crying at the top of his lungs.

The whole pub goes silent, except for our table who have all fallen off our chairs laughing!! What the FUCK was that!?!

The poor Dutchie had assumed it was a universal sign! Nope, a freaky-deaky Dutch sign nonetheless!

He’s now known as the official child-scarer in our circle of friends.

Hayley x

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23 comments

  1. I’m Dutch, and I know that the hand signal for ‘lekker’ can have very different meanings in different parts of the world. I think it is in Greece, for example, that it’s used to express a personal warning to another. Somewhat like: “If you don’t stop that, I will slap you.” It will obviously not be accompanied by a happy, smiling face, like Rosah’s (see pictures above)

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  2. I haven’t managed to make kids cry with this, but I’ve gotten a few “what the hell was that?!” reactions.
    I’m a Dutchie in Essex, and while my Dutch accent has left the building (locals don’t realise I am not a in fact British) I occasionally start a sentence in Dutch instead of English without realising. Now THAT gets you some interesting reactions!

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  3. Being n Afrikaner from South Africa most of the word sounds familiar.One nono word here is the dutch word for cat. some word we use are lekker, pannekoek,wafels met stroop en dan beskuit. Beskuit is something like dry bread biscits. Directly in english it mean you shit yourself.. Hare was (washing your hair) directly means waxing your hair.

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  4. In Spain it announces you ir for a spanking, I once witnessed a Canadian in a Spanish restaurant using it when he felt like paying his compliments to the chef. Imagine the confusion …

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  5. Lekker is a typical South African word too, and we use it for pretty much anything. “I had such a lekker sleep” lol. I’ve been to The Netherlands about 6 times now, the first time I stayed for 10 months but never knew about the hand sign until now 🙂

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  6. When you want to say: I am not well, you say: I don’t feel very lekker. When you feel very good, you say: I am kiplekker (chickengood, haha)

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    1. I think that is something you say when leaving your friends. I think it is commonly used in Amsterdam. This is not a word used in Rotterdam, where I came from. Kind of means see you….

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    2. Yes. 23 years ago visiting relatives in Amsterdam. Means “Hi” .
      Also “ram tikken”. “Ik tik op ram” People in Amsterdam “tap on the window of friends while going round to the kitchen entrance. (Please excuse bad grammar/spelling).

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  7. Reading your blog and laughing my ass off. I never knew this was not universal! Lekker is used a lot, but I do keep wondering when your blog about “gezelligheid” will premier. It’ll be a challenge to explain that to non-Dutchies! 🙂 Good blog!

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  8. This made me laugh…never thought this was a typical Dutch gesture and I have lived in the UK for 15 years. Luckily I do not use it often I think haha!

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