M and N

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

M is for Molen.

Me in front of the Windmills at Kinderdijk
Me in front of the Windmills at Kinderdijk

Molen means mill. The most common mill in the Netherlands would be the windmill.

A few weeks ago I put up my post for the letter d and I told you about the dikes that kept the water out of the Netherlands. Well, the dikes would not work very well if they didn’t have the windmills to push the water away from the land.

There are windmills everywhere and there is also a National Windmill day.

The windmills are also used for grinding grain into flour and in some places they use mills to make “jenever” which is a Dutch gin.

Windmills are so important that they are often used as a symbol of the Netherlands, along with wooden shoes and tulips.

N is for Nee.

no_no_no_nooooo_office

As I’m sure you can guess from the image above, nee means no.

Nee is pronounced NAY, and it is probably the most useful word to know in Dutch.  A lot of words sound different depending on where you are in the Netherlands because people have different accents. For example, many people from Amsterdam have a hard time understanding people from Limburg because the southern accent is so strong. But one word that remains the same in all the accents is Nee.

Since it’s so easy to say tourist and visitors can easily pick it up and use it without sounding that foreign. Most of the Dutch can speak or understand English, but they like it when people try to speak Dutch even when they don’t know many words. So when tourists and visitors say nee instead of no, it makes the people here very happy.

Before I came to the Netherlands, nee was the only word I knew because of the comedian Seth Meyers and his experiences in the Netherlands:

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