CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 21-11-2021

Fiat was on a roll in the mid-1990s: after the records set by the Punto, the Bravo and Brava added another record: Fiat was the first - and to date is the only - brand to win the Car of the Year title two consecutive years in a row. And as the Punto won that title just like its predecessor, that was also the case with (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 14-11-2021

In the 1990s, Fiat was in a very different position than it is today. In 1993 and 1994 the brand introduced the successor to the very successful Uno in Europe: the Punto, also designed by Giugiaro. In 1995, the Punto, which was one of the trendsetters with its high taillights, was named Car of the Year. Fiat (...)

HERITAGE IN CAR DESIGN

| 09-11-2021

In many contemporary car designs, a lot of references to the brand's heritage can be found. Some of them are intended that way by the designers, others may not. In this section I describe the references I see, this time in the Opel Astra. In 1898 the sons of Adam Opel, the then deceased founder and namesake of (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 07-11-2021

In 1983 I saw the light of day, and that also goes for two very nice compact cars. One was the Fiat Uno, which became 1984's Car of the Year. The other was the Peugeot 205, which received just 4% less of the votes, resulting in a ten-place difference in this Top 50. The Peugeot continued to sell well much longer (...)


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Stilstand is vooruitgang (Standstill means progress)

Linguistics | 03-11-2021 | With free translation into English

Stop awhile
for this fourteen-line verse
about silence

(...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 31-10-2021

The 406 came onto the market in 1995 as the successor to the hugely successful, but by then somewhat outdated Peugeot 405. Especially in the shape of the side windows, the relationship with that model is clearly visible. Furthermore, the 406 is drawn a lot sharper and more dynamically than its predecessor. At its (...)

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-10-2021

October is the longest month of the year in the European Union (and some countries that are adapting to it). There are more months with 31 days, but due to the switch from summer time to winter time, the month of October lasts (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 24-10-2021

Robert Opron; a big name in the world of car design, responsible for beautiful and idiosyncratic designs such as that of the Citroëns SM, GS and CX and the Renault Fuego. For Renault's new "4 meter model", however, the assignment in the early 1980s was to appeal to the general public and above all (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 17-10-2021

A spacious interior - thanks to the car's angular styling - in a lightweight construction, complemented by a modern wheel suspension and brake discs all round, gave Fiat the title of Car of the Year for the 124 in 1966. By the time Fiat ended production of the 124 in favour of the 131, production of the model (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 10-10-2021

Aerodynamics was the magic word in the development of the Opel Kadett E (with the E indicating that it was the fifth generation Kadett). This resulted in a remarkably modern car - and the title Car of the Year 1985. Moreover, it is the most successful Opel in this Top 50. At the end of production, the (...)

HERITAGE IN CAR DESIGN

| 09-10-2021

In many contemporary car designs, a lot of references to the brand's heritage can be found. Some of them are intended that way by the designers, others may not. In this section I describe the references I see, for example in the Peugeot 308. As one of the oldest surviving car brands - the Société Anonyme des (...)


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Troonsafstand (Abdication)

Linguistics | 03-10-2021 | With free translation into English

De spinnen hebben hun netten uitgezet

één hele dikke kruisspin
– schildpaddenschildachtig achterlijf –
zit in het midden op haar troon

(...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 03-10-2021

While the second generation Escort was still a rear-wheel drive sedan, the third generation, which came on the market in 1980, was a completely different car: a front-wheel drive hatchback. Moreover, that car was no longer specifically developed for Europe, but the model was intended as a "world car". The third (...)

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-09-2021

Last month I wrote that I would come back to English harvest, Danish høst and the Norwegian innhøsting. Those words are related to herfst, the Dutch word for autumn. In fact, in Old English the word hærfest was used for (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 26-09-2021

The winner of the second Car of the Year award is also the highest scoring British car in this Top 50: The Austin 1800, initially sold in the Netherlands and Belgium under the name Balanza. Parent company BMC also sold the car as Morris 1800 and Wolseley 18/85. Due to its striking proportions, the car with (...)

ART PIECES

| 21-09-2021

People like to think in frameworks, structures and systems; that makes life a bit clearer. In reality, the boundaries of those frameworks (languages, art movements, school subjects, etc.) are often vaguer than we let ourselves (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 12-09-2021

To this day there are people who claim an Italian car already rusts in the brochure, but that really is something from a long time ago. In 1988, for example, the Fiat Tipo was the first car in its class to have all the sheet steel that came into contact with the outside air galvanized. The rear door (the hatch) was (...)

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-09-2021

Chances are you now have a Beatles song in your head (…all my troubles seemed so far away…) either in the original version or in one of the over 2000 cover versions (…now it looks as though they're here to stay…). However, I now stay at that first word, and wonder why it isn't yestern, like in German, or (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 12-09-2021

In the 1990s, one nice little car after another entered the European market. Among those, the 1996 Toyota Starlet was a somewhat boring presence. Toyota proved to be able to do differently, when showing the 1997 Funtime concept, the harbinger of a much fresher model. As early as 1999 this resulted in (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 05-09-2021

Large sedans have been an increasingly rare sight for years, but things were very different in the 1960s. Yet Renault chose to turn their grande routière into a hatchback. That choice was not only rewarded with the title Car of the Year 1965, but also with a production of more than (...)


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Omgaan (Dealing / Swing around)

Linguistics | 03-09-2021 | With free translation into English

Waarom zou je huilen bij verdriet

waarom die overgewaardeerde waterlanders
die voorspelbare vochtige ogen, tragische tranen

(...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 29-08-2021

In the Netherlands Peugeot advertised the 205 as a strong number and it certainly was. When Peugeot finally came up with a real successor in the form of the 206 after 15 years (the 106 and 306 were originally intended together as successors), the 205 was still quite successful. As the 25th place (...)

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-08-2021

Augustus literally means "blessed, sanctified, exalted" – surely that's a nice name for a month (though of course the month is named after Emperor Augustus, also known as Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavian). In Middle Dutch this month was called (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 22-08-2021

Today you won't find a mid-range sedan with less than 110 horsepower, but in the 1960s 90 horsepower was already a lot; something for sporty sedans from brands like BMW and Alfa Romeo. Until in 1967 the Fiat 125 came onto the market. Because the Fiat was a lot cheaper, it was also called poor man's Alfa Romeo.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 15-08-2021

The 1985 Ford Scorpio (called Granada III in the UK and Ireland) looks like an extended Ford Sierra, and in fact it is. Still, the car was innovative enough to become Car of the Year 1986, partly because of the (for that time) extensive standard equipment. Only later came a sedan and station wagon of the Scorpio.

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-08-2021

What makes a word truly Dutch, thoroughly German or typically Frisian? Is it the origin of the word? Or is it how the word is used? I wondered about that when I delved into the word nieuwsgierig ("curious" or "inquisitive") for this piece, because that word in Frisian – nijsgjirrich – has more meanings than in all other languages.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 08-08-2021

The Fiat Panda took second place in 1981. When a successor finally came in 2003, that Panda became the Car of the Year 2004 with 281 points. That equals 48.4%, so the winning Panda is not in the Top 50. The original Panda is, as you can see. In other words, 2nd place in 1981 was a better score than winning in 2004.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Klein geluk (Little happiness)

Linguistics | 03-08-2021 | With free translation into English

een kopje koffie in de zon schaduw
een koolmees die steeds gaat en komt zwaluw
de hortensia’s vol blauwe bloemen witte
(...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 01-08-2021

At number 29 we find the second Polo in this Top 50: the model that came on the market in 2009. That is the only Polo to ever win the Car of the Year title. It beat the Toyota iQ in 2010 by 10 points or 1.7% of the maximum number of points per car per year. That way there are two cars from 2010 in the Top 50.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-07-2021

July is the seventh month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, but used to be the fifth month for the Romans. There's is nothing of that to be found in the name, because the month was later named after Gaius Julius Caesar, because he (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 25-07-2021

Contrary to what you might expect, Volkswagen has won the European Car of the Year title just four times. Three of those four victories the brand achieved in this century. The most recent win is from 2015, when the Passat was named Car of the Year for the first time.

ART PIECES

| 21-07-2021

A detailed painting of checkered bedding; that's not the kind of visual art I'm normally passionate about. The fact that something is very cleverly painted and that I admire the maker for his craftsmanship, doesn't mean that the work (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 18-07-2021

In 1963, the Rover 2000 became the first European 'Car of the Year'. The Rover P6 series was later expanded with the 2200 and 3500. The 2000 received 76 points - each jury member then had far fewer points to give than now. That is converted 58.5%, or 31st place in this Top 50.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 11-07-2021

The Opel Ascona came second in the 1982 Car of the Year election, but had already won Das Goldene Lenkrad, an important German car award, by the end of 1981. Undoubtedly more important for Opel was the fact that the Ascona was Germany's best-selling car for a while.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 04-07-2021

The Nissan Micra was the first Japanese car ever to win the European Car of the Year title. The only other Nissan that managed to do that was the Leaf. However, in 2011, it did not get enough votes to get into this Top 50, making the Micra the only Nissan in this list.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Waardebepaling (Valuation)

Linguistics | 03-07-2021 | With free translation into English

Een bosje bloemen zonder kaartje
eraan vergaat en laat niets na
dan een vaas met troebel water
(...)

'June' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-06-2021

In the month of June, spring turns into summer. This has everything to do with the position of the sun around the 21st of this month, which is also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun therefore plays an important role in determining when (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 27-06-2021

The Fiat Multipla is probably the smartest car ever to be nominated for the Car of the Year. In the 2000 election, the Multipla came in second, which of course should have been first place. Despite that second place, the Italian comes in 34th place in this Top 50, above many winners.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 20-06-2021

The Opel Kadett was the best-selling car in the Netherlands for generations. The Kadett appears twice in this Top 50; in this case it is the Kadett D from 1979. In the United Kingdom this angular model was sold by Vauxhall as Astra and that name was later given to the Opel brother as well. The number of Astras in this Top 50 thus comes to three.

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-06-2021

The words for father and mother are similar in many languages. A striking exception to this are Frisian heit en mem. Why? And has that always been the case?

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 13-06-2021

The Toyota iQ is the smallest car in this Top 50. The name iQ is of course a cleverly chosen reference to its biggest competitor: the smart, which was never nominated for the Car of the Year. Many iQs have not been sold, but there is an even more exclusive variant: the Aston Martin Cygnet.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 06-06-2021

In 2008, Mazda took second place with the 2, which gives the brand this only place in the Top 50. However, the title Car of the Year has never been awarded to the brand with the winged M. Looking back, perhaps unjustified, because the brand was sometimes quite ahead of its time, both in terms of design and technology.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Deistiche leafde (Daily love)

Linguistics | 03-06-2021 | With free translation into English

Sa as’t de plúster fan in hynsteblom net
sjochst op wyt papier, útsein troch syn skaad,
syn slachskaad, dy’t net slacht, neat krêftich
(...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 30-05-2021

The Volt is the only Chevrolet to be named Car of the Year and the only one to be ever nominated by the jury. That was not because this Chevrolet was also for sale as Opel Ampera, but because of the innovative technology: not a hybrid, but an electric car with a range extender.

'May' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-05-2021

The name of the month of May – like the names of all months – comes from the time of the Romans, who in turn were strongly influenced by the Greeks. The Greek word μαια (maia) originally meant mother and later midwife (μαιεια-maieia). A logical name, then, for a mother goddess, whom the Romans (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 23-05-2021

The most recent Peugeot to be Car of the Year is the 208. With 48.4% of the votes, however, it comes in 68th place. That makes the 3008 the most recent Peugeot in the Top 50. You would think that it would share that spot with the 5008 – in fact a kind of 3008 station wagon – but the latter didn't appear on the market until a year later. They were, hoewever, both facelifted in 2020.

ART PIECES

| 21-05-2021

Until recently I had never heard of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, also not under his birth name Axel Gallén. I suspect it was somewhere in 2018 that I saw a painting of a lake on Instagram that really appealed to me. The artist's name was underneath as a hashtag, so I decided to follow that.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 16-05-2021

The nicest Renault in this Top 50 – and perhaps the nicest Renault in general – is this Mégane, as far as I'm concerned. Especially the design of the two hatchbacks in the images is right up my alley. The sales figures prove that a car with an idiosyncratic design can be successful. Now that's a cheerful thought, right?

WEST GERMANIC

| 14-05-2021

Lemons, melons, pineapples, dates, bananas, cucumbers – they are all apples. At least, that was once the case, in the Germanic languages. And that explains a lot, for both the fruit lover and the Bible reader.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 09-05-2021

In 2008 Opel (or Vauxhall in the UK) introduced a car to replace both the Vectra and the Omega: the Insignia. Opel had already introduced that name a few years earlier on a concept car that already showed some of the design language of the new top model. With a length of 4.83 meters (and even 4.91 for the Sports Tourer), this is the largest Opel in the Top 50.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

3 mei (3rd of May)

Linguistics | 03-05-2021 | With free translation into English

Vandaag is het nog oorlog
zijn de doden nog niet herdacht
wordt de vrede nog niet gevierd

...

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 02-05-2021

At number 42 we find the most recent winner in the Top 50: the Volvo XC40. That is the only Volvo in the Top 50 and also the only Volvo ever to be European Car of the Year. The XC40 got the same percentage of the vote as the Fiesta, which ranks 43, but the XC40 took first place and more points than the Ford, which is why it is one place higher.

'April' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-04-2021

Today is King's Day (Koningsdag) in the Netherlands, on which we celebrate the birthday of our current king, Willem-Alexander. Such a national holiday in honour of the birthday of a member of the royal family has been there since 1885, while the Netherlands has been a kingdom under the same royal family since 1815. Before 1885, however, Waterlooday was the national holiday, (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 25-04-2021

Ford has long built very different models for different regions. Of course, that entails a lot of extra development costs, so Ford came up with the One Ford Strategy. The 2008 Fiesta was developed under that strategy, so it was sold in pretty the same form all over the world. In 2009, that Fiesta became 2nd in the European Car of the Year election.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 18-04-2021

The Clio is certainly not the last Renault in this list – Renault is, after all, one of the most successful brands in the Car of the Year election – but it is the smallest. The latter is partly because it's the Clio I that reaches the Top 50, and not one of its successors, which are all slightly larger. The 2006 Clio was also named Car of the Year, but by too small a percentage to make the Top 50.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 11-04-2021

The 2015 Astra is the most successful one to date; at least, when it comes to the scores in the Car of the Year election. In terms of market share, the current doesn't come close to the first Astra from 1991, let alone its predecessor Kadett. A new Astra is expected in 2022, for the first time not with GM technology, but with that of the new Peugeot 308 and DS 4. Would that turn the tide?

MY CLASSICS

| 10-04-2021

There are few family cars of which I can remember when I first saw them in the flesh, but I remember exactly where I was on my way home from school when I first saw a Ford Focus driving by. I recognized it from photos in car magazines, on which the design also impressed me.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 04-04-2021

The Ka is the smallest Ford in this Top 50 and it could not be otherwise, because it's the smallest model Ford has ever built. With the Ka, Ford introduced the sharp-lined design they called New Edge to consumers. With success, because the Ka's were sold like hot cakes. Kunst met een grote Ka ("Art with a captital K"), in Ford Netherlands' words.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Stille Zaterdag (Silent Saturday)

Linguistics | 03-04-2021 | With free translation into English

Een lange, stille sabbatdag
een pijnlijke pauze tussen Pesach en Pasen
een rustdag om te rouwen
...

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 28-03-2021

At number 47 is the first car in this Top 50 that actually won the title Car of the Year. The Peugeot 308 did so in 2014, thus scoring better than its predecessor, which was called 308 as well. As is the successor to the current 308, which has just been presented and will be launched later this year. Will that new 308 compete for the title Car of the Year 2022? We will see towards the end of this year...

'February' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-03-2021

It is March, and spring has just begun. In Dutch there are two words for this season: lente and voorjaar. This makes Dutch an exception. English springtime of course isn't a very different word from spring, and foarjier and Frühjahr are less common synonyms in Frisian and German than voorjaar is in Dutch. (...)

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 21-03-2021

Cinquecento is Italian for 500. That number is linked to several successful and iconic Fiats, from the Topolino of 1936 and the Nuova 500 of 1957 to its most modern interpretation. Like the latter, the Cinquecento came second in the Car of the Year election. Relatively speaking, however, the Cinquecento scored better, resulting in a 48th place in this Top 50.

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-03-2021

At the sight of the word knibbel, in the Dutch part of my brain, the phrase "knibbel knabbel knuisje" comes up, or the word beknibbelen, but that's not what this piece is about. At the sight of the same word, the Frisian part of my brain is suddenly very aware of the feeling in the joints halfway through my legs, and meanwhile translates the word knibbel into knie (knee). Amazing, that brain.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 14-03-2021

Number 49 in the Car of the Year Top 50 is again a car that came second in the election concerned and thus keeps a number of winners out of the Top 50: the 1994 Volkswagen Polo. This brings us another step closer to the biggest winner ever in the history of the Car of the Year.

MY CLASSICS

| 09-03-2021

Geneva, 1968: The 55 Coupé designed by Michelotti is premiered at DAF. At the same time, Michelotti shows the Siluro on his own stand. This coupé, a fully functioning one-off on the technical basis of the DAF 55, is a convincing showpiece of the master, and not only because of its progressive design.

CAR OF THE YEAR TOP 50

| 07-03-2021

In the new Car of the Year Top 50 series , I list the fifty biggest winners of the European election. Starting at number 50, the Lancia Y10, each week one step closer to the biggest winner ever in Car of the Year history.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Blokkades (Blockades)

Linguistics | 03-03-2021 | With free translation into English

de apen en beren
of leeuwen en beren
of wat voor spoken
je ook maar ziet
...

Photo of a car with the logo of the election.

CAR OF THE YEAR 2021

| 01-03-2021

The Toyota Yaris is the European Car of the Year 2021. That was announced earlier today via a livestream from Geneva. How did the other six nominees fare? And does that somewhat match my prediction from yesterday?

Photos of cars, the logo of the election and a question mark.

CAR OF THE YEAR 2021

| 28-02-2021

The European Car of the Year 2021 will be announced tomorrow. Exciting...! As every year, a shortlist has been drawn up of seven cars that have a chance to win the coveted title. Could I predict the outcome on the basis of some statistics (and a little common sense)?

'February' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-02-2021

I don't know about you, but if I have to link a month to winter, December is the first that comes to mind. But the first two months of the year are really the heart of winter. For example, most editions of the Elfstedentocht were held in February - just sayin'. And although it hasn't been an annual phenomenon for a while, when I think of winter, I think of snow. Hence this 3x9: February, winter, snow.

Logos and text.

NEW ACCOUNTS

| 23-02-2021

The fact that I'm just as enthusiastic about cars as I am about language and visual art, off course doesn’t mean that that applies to everyone. In fact, for most this will not be the case. Therefore, in addition to my general account, I have created three specific Instagram accounts.

Bronze hands with forearms on granite block.

ART PIECES

| 21-02-2021

There is little visual art that is as personal, autobiographical and psychoanalytic as the work of Louise Bourgeois. That makes much of her work intriguing, but also complicated. The Welcoming Hands is a welcome exception to that and it's not without reason that work that made me immerse myself in the life and work of Bourgeois.

Drawing, handwritten text and photocopies in a lined notebook.

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-02-2021

One of the special aspects of being multilingual, is that you can think in one language and speak (almost) simultaneously in the other language. I grew up speaking Dutch, but I always speak Frisian with my wife. And so it is that the other day I thought "ik ben moe" (I am tired)and said "ik bin wurch", or rather the "Forest Frisian" variant "ik bin warch", with a schwa between the r and ch.

Orange sheet metal with a badge consisting of the letters GT and a chequered flag.

MY CLASSICS

| 09-02-2021

When you enter the top floor at the DAF Museum – the passenger car floor – there's a long, double row of production cars. At the end of that corridor, you can see a bright orange model, with striking lines across the doors. When you get closer, it turns out to be a sporty coupé. But without an engine, accelerator and brake pedal. What is the story behind this car?


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Relatief (Relative)

Linguistics | 03-02-2021 | With free translation into English

Wat is belangrijk, doet ertoe,
is essentieel?

Streep steeds het minst
relevante weg
...

'three' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 27-01-2021

As I announced on the first day of this year, every month on the 27th I put three words in nine Germanic languages next to each other in the section 3x9. So, this also goes for today. In my enthusiasm, I immediately deviate from that, by choosing six words times nine this week. To really get going, so to say.

Painted head of a woman.

ART PIECES

| 21-01-2021

Some artists don't have time going for them and therefore fall into oblivion. That was true for a while for Caravaggio, as far as I'm concerned it still applies to Bas Jan Ader and is without a doubt also the case for the Swedish artist Anders Zorn. In 1891-1892 he made two oil paintings and an etching entitled Omnibus, which beautifully illustrate what I appreciate in his work.

Portrait of a woman with words related to 'puissant'.

WEST GERMANIC

| 15-01-2021

Each language has its own vocabulary. Many words can be translated, but there are also very useful expressions of which you wonder why other languages don't have them. On the other hand, there are words with such a specific meaning that it's surprising they still exist. The word puissant, for example.

A silver-grey and orange coupé seen diagonally from behind.

MY CLASSICS

| 09-01-2021

In addition to the production models, the DAF Museum houses two very special designs by Michelotti: the 40 GT and Siluro. Both deserve and will get their own place in My classics. When reading up for that, I came across so many beautiful designs, I had to mention them. So I wrote this special on Daf coupés.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Nieuwjaarsdag (New Year's Day)

Linguistics | 03-01-2021 | With free translation into English

de zon schijnt
in de verte wat regen
maar ook een regenboog:

...

'January' in nine languages.

THREE TIMES NINE

| 01-01-2021

Welcome to this new section! From now on, on the 27th (3x9 ...) of every month, I will put three words in nine Germanic languages next to each. To get this new year off to a good start, I'm not going to wait until the 27th this time, but will kick off the series today with the words January, new and New Year.

Painting of brightly shining rising sun with the text 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' over it.

And there's more new...

| 01-01-2021

Happy New Year! I wish you a beautiful, healthy, hopeful and cheerful year. An activity that cheeres me up, is working on this site and I hope you enjoy visiting it. To make those visits even more pleasant, I have implemented a few innovations. Click on "Read on" below, and I'll tell you what's new.

White geometric patterns against a black background.

ART PIECES

| 27-12-2020

It takes a few minutes for something to happen. Then there's a slight electric buzz and the engines turn slowly left and right a few times, as if they are warming up. That takes a while. Then the speed of rotation is increased and a sound is created (...)

Dark grey roadster with light reflection on the sheet metal.

MY CLASSICS

| 20-12-2020

>Last year, it already passed as a Coupé, but basically the BMW Z4 is of course designed as a roadster. This open version is generally seen as the nicest of the two, and if I had to choose one, I would go for that one too. And then for the original from 2002, of course.

Birthday cake with burning candles

WEST GERMANIC

| 12-12-2020

"Wanneer ben jij jarig?" In Dutch, this is a very normal question. Yet it is something very special and something uniquely Dutch. You will never be asked that question in another language, for the simple reason that the word "jarig" doesn't exist in other languages, not even in languages closely related to Dutch.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

YOLO, zegt Prediker (YOLO, says Preacher)

Linguistics | 03-12-2020 | With free translation into English

Naakt ben je geboren
dus alles wat je hebt is winst

Er is een tijd voor alles
maar niets daarvan heeft zin

Probeer de wind te vangen
...

Abstracted painting of a chicken

WEST GERMANIC

| 21-11-2020

Every weekday morning I make the four workday assignments of beterspellen.nl during breakfast. Recently, one of the exercises was about the spelling of the word kakofonie (cacophony), including the option 'kakelfonie' ('cacklephony'). That contraction of kakelen (cackle) and kakofonie made me think: would there be a relationship between those two words? It wouldn't surprise me.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Geketend (Chained)

Linguistics | 03-11-2020 | With free translation into English

Mijn gedachten gaan in het rond
Ik denk in cirkels, of een andere gesloten vorm

Elk nieuw idee heb ik al eerder verzonnen
...




Painting with a man on a wooden cross and three other men putting the cross upright

ART PIECES

| 31-10-2020

Rome… If you want to get saturated with visual art, that is of course an ultimate place. And saturated I was, when we arrived at Piazza del Popolo to see two Caravaggio's. I wasn't expecting that much of it anymore; when you're saturated, even the greatest masterpieces lose their impact. Or don't they?

Light blue wall with text behind Prime Minister Rutte

WEST GERMANIC

| 09-10-2020

Alleen samen krijgen we corona onder controle (Only together can we get corona under control). It is perhaps the most famous Dutch slogan of the moment. And there's already a lot to be said about the first two words of that slogan alone, especially if you include the West Germanic family members German, English and Frisian. Because samen you get further. Or should I write zamen ?


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Lege lijnen (Empty lines)

Linguistics | 03-10-2020 | With free translation into English

Een blocnote vol met writer’s block
Lege lijnen, waartussen woordeloos wit
Een pen improductief op het papier
Geen stijlfiguur of diepgang hier
...

Black letters on a white staircase

WEST GERMANIC

| 02-10-2020

“Nederlands is mijn goedste vak” (Dutch is my goodest subject) produces 'about 514' results on Google. Apparently quite a lot of people find that funny, and I think that has to do with the fact that 'goedste' ('goodest') is so obviously an error. However, linguistics doesn't think in terms of 'language errors'. Why do we say good – better – best, and not good – gooder – goodest ?

greyish blue car, viewed from above

MY CLASSICS

| 25-09-2020

When I put my article about the Renault Mégane Scénic online in February, I didn't think that seven months later I would still be writing about midi MPVs. Where does my – perhaps a bit excessive – interest in those practical family cars come from? I can best explain that on the basis of the Citroën Xanae.

Painting with upright surfaces in red and brown tones

ART PIECES

| 21-08-2020

What causes that a work of art affects you, moves you? That question is difficult to answer anyway, but the more abstract the work of art, the more difficult it becomes: after all, without a recognizable representation, not much is left than colour and composition. Or is it?

Two black musical instruments

WEST GERMANIC

| 11-09-2020

A while ago I read Queen guitarist Brian May's book about his Red Special (a must for guitar enthusiasts) and after reading the word guitar many times, I suddenly wondered why there is a 'u' in that word. After all, you don't hear it in the pronunciation. And in Dutch we also write it without: gitaar.

Chalk drawing of a man with a shovel

WEST GERMANIC

| 04-09-2020

The holidays are over, so we're back to work. Or as the Germans say: an die Arbeit. We also know that word, arbeid, in Dutch, but it's becoming less common. What's up with that? And is that also the case in English with the word labour?


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Big Mac

Linguistics | 03-09-2020 | With free translation into English

Nu ik hier alleen zit
Zonder jou
...

Pastry with the logo of this website and one burning candle on it

On to more...

| 30-08-2020

Exercise successful. When I put this site online, I agreed with myself that I had to keep it up for at least a year. That was exactly a year ago, so that goal has been achieved. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop now; on the contrary. So now is the time for a look ahead, and especially for retrospectives and lists, because that's what you do at the turn of a year.

Red car, diagonally from the front

MY CLASSICS

| 28-08-2020

There are many advantages to MPVs. However, the concept also has disadvantages, which often have to do with the higher height of those types of cars. For example: a higher weight, more air resistance and higher consumption. The Audi engineers decided to do something about it and outdid themselves.

Painting with a stylized red tree against a blue background

ART PIECES

| 21-08-2020

There are a lot of visual artworks I appreciate because they are cleverly made, but what I especially hope to find in a museum is work that moves me. In 2009 I experienced this in a new way with the painting Evening; The red tree (1908-1910) by Piet Mondrian.

Diary in which the word 'summer holiday' is written in Dutch

WEST GERMANIC

| 14-08-2020

Last week I described the origin of words such as vakantie, vacant, vacancy and vacature from Latin and came, via German Ferien, to the word vacatiegeld. That's where I pick up the thread today.

Diary in which the word 'holiday' is written in Dutch

WEST GERMANIC

| 07-08-2020

Since I got my first school diary at the age of 12, I have written the word vacation in a diary many times. But why are these free periods called vakantie in Dutch? And what do English vacancy and German Vakanz have to do with that?


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Onvertaalbaar

Linguistics | 03-08-2020 | With free translation into English

This very moment
is onvertaalbaar mooi

Dampkringels nevelen op uit mijn koffie –
kahve – qahwa, zwartgebrande arabica,
...

Orange car seen from the front, with two sketches to the right

MY CLASSICS

| 31-07-2020

Designing a compact Multi Purpose Vehicle requires a lot of creativity from the designers. That's why many midi MPVs from the late 1990s appeal to me so much. And if you commission Italian designers to be creative, there's a lot to expect!

oil paint and colored tape on canvas

ART PIECES

| 23-07-2020

However wonderful it can be to think, talk or write about visual arts, nothing beats looking at it, of course. In real life, well-lit, right in front of the canvas, paper, marble, steel, bronze, etc. Discover where I prefer to do this.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Haan

Linguistics | 03-07-2020

Zomerse zondagochtend
Hele nacht het raam open

Begint om zes uur ’s ochtends
een haan te kraaien
...


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Een rib

Linguistics | 03+3-06-2020

Niet verwonderlijk
dat Adam graag een rib afstond.

En dan niet omdat ribben
weer aan kunnen groeien.
...

Logo as speedometer with highway in the background

Blog in corona time

| 21-05-2020

The last few weeks I have not posted any articles about cars here, and less about linguistics. Due to the corona outbreak, I'm currently working a lot at my computer, so in my spare time I'm happy to get away from the screen. That is why I largely refrain from making contributions for this blog for a while.

Red-white-blue flags on flagpoles

WEST GERMANIC

| 05-04-2020

Today is National Remembrance Day in the Netherlands. This country was liberated 75 years ago and the dead have been commemorated on 4 May since 1946. But what does that actually mean, commemorate? Why do we call it that?


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Pollen

Linguistics | 03-05-2020

Pollen, pollen, pollen

Daar gaat m'n neus niet van...


POETRY ON DAY THREE TEN

Rare tijden

Linguistics | 10-04-2020 - with free translation

Ook in rare tijden

hebben zestig minuten elk zestig seconden
herhaalt een etmaal dat vierentwintig maal
...


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Over de datum

Linguistics | 03-04-2020 - with free translation

Vandaag
heb ik zin in taal
maar ik taal niet naar zinnen
regels wil ik
...

Three times an A-Class seen on the front, with below it a red A-Class seen as three-quarter rear view

MY CLASSICS

| 20-03-2020

In 1997 Mercedes-Benz introduced a groundbreaking new car, especially for a traditional brand like Mercedes. I already thought the 1993 Study-A was a very nice car, but when I read about the concept of the A-Class, I was really triggered.

butter, Frisian rye bread and Frisian Clove Cheese on a wooden board

WEST GERMANIC

| 13-03-2020

Last week I wrote that the Frisian sentence Bûter, brea en griene tsiis is often used to underline the similarity between Frisian and English. I made a few comments and ended with a few questions. In this piece I'm going to answer those questions.

butter, Frisian rye bread and Frisian Clove Cheese on a wooden board

WEST GERMANIC

| 07-03-2020

Language cannot be viewed separately from history. This is especially true if the language has become part of a story, such as with the Frisian sentence Bûter, brea en griene tsiis, wa't dat net sizze kin, is gjin oprjochte Fries.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

In contrast

Linguistics | 03-03-2020 - with free translation

Vandaag ben ik oranje
want jij bent blauw

Ultramarijn, cyaan
Mariablauw, Yves Klein
...

Blauwe en gele auto

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 02-03-2020 | Update 08-03-2020

Today has been announced which car may call itself the Car of the Year 2020. In this mini series I counted down to that moment by discussing a nominee every day. How right was I? And above all… what car has won?

Light grey, red and dark grey car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 01-03-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With one day left, today it's the turn of the Toyota Corolla.

Red car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 29-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With two days left, today it's the turn of the Tesla Model 3.

Orange car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 28-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With three days left, today it's the turn of the Renault Clio.

White and blue car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 27-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With four days left, today it's the turn of the Porsche Taycan.

Blue and yellow car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 26-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With five days left, today it's the turn of the Peugeot 208.

Blue and grey car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 25-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With six days left, today it's the turn of the Ford Puma.

Blue and white car

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 24-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With seven days left, today it's the turn of the BMW 1 Series.

Man hands cup to other man

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 23-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. Today I give some background information about the election: how it works, what kind of Dutch touch it has and what trends and preferences I have noticed.

Photos of cars, the election logo and a question mark

CAR OF THE YEAR 2020

| 22-02-2020

On March 2nd the Car of the Year 2020 will be announced. From the day after tomorrow I'll count down to that moment. Today I tell what I like about the election and why I have decided to devote a mini series to it.

Renault Mégane Scénic

MY CLASSICS

| 21-02-2020

When Renault launched the Mégane Scénic in 1996, it was a hit: the right model at the right time. That, of course, is what every company wants when launching a new product. How did Renault pull that off?

robertdouw.nl

Renewed website

| 19-02-2020

After a few months of experience, I decided it was time for a thorough renewal of this website. The goal: to make the site more beautiful, more user-friendly and more future-proof. Do you want to know what I have changed to achieve that and / or how everything works on this site? Then read on.

#

WEST GERMANIC

| 14-02-2020

‘Slaap, kindje, slaap / daar buiten loopt een schaap.’ It is a well-known Dutch lullaby, and not immediately high-quality poetry. Yet those two sentences are more interesting than they seem at first sight, especially if you look beyond the Dutch language borders.

Bertone Lancia Kayak

MY CLASSICS

| 07-02-2020

The history of the Bertone Lancia Kayak could be called a vanitas triptych: it is a story of illustrious history, great beauty, and its transience - and that times three.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

maar nee, blijft leeg

Linguistics | 03-02-2020 - with free translation

heel hard proberen te her-
inneren hoe jij
jouw lach, bewegingen, zo eigen
motoriek, hoe jij
...

Schapen

WEST GERMANIC

| 31-01-2020

The singular form of 'sheep' - that doesn't sound strange in English, nor does it in Frisian when you say it inkelfâld fan 'skiep'. But in Dutch, het enkelvoud van schaap does sound puzzling, and German speakers will also frown when you talk about 'Schaf' in der Einzahl. What's going on here?

Peugeot 406 Coupé

MY CLASSICS

| 24-01-2020

If you've been following this blog from the beginning, you're probably starting to form a picture of my car preferences: Peugeot, Pininfarina, fairly everyday cars that have something a bit unusual, from the 1990s. If there is one car that meets that profile, it is the Peugeot 406 Coupé.

Grazing cattle

WEST GERMANIC

| 17-01-2020

Have you ever considered that grass resembles grazing? Or have you ever noticed that the Dutch grazen is an exceptional word? The same applies to Frisian gers and gerskje. And how green exactly is the grass on the other side of the West Germanic fence?

Alfa Romeo GTV en Spider

MT CLASSICS

| 10-01-2020

Coupés became popular again in the 1990s. But Alfa Romeo, pre-eminently the brand of sporty and beautiful cars, did not offer a coupé. This changed in 1995 with the introduction of the beautiful GTV and Spider.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Zal je nooit vergeten

Linguistics | 03-01-2020 - with free translation

'k Zal een straat naar je noemen
Een wijk, een streek, een stad
En een schip dat ik doop met jouw hart
...

Coupé Fiat

MY CLASSICS

| 27-12-2019

As a child I thought the Coupé Fiat was designed by Pininfarina. After all, that name was on the side of the car. I later found out that a Fiat designer was responsible for the design, and that only made it more interesting.

Place-name sign and book fragment

WEST GERMANIC

| 20-12-2019

Near Buitenpost, between Leeuwarden and Groningen, lies the hamlet Lutkepost. As with several towns in Friesland, the place-name is also in Frisian on the place-name sign: Lytsepost. Lutke didn't say much to me, but lytse díd sound familiar. All of a sudden all kinds of puzzle pieces fell into place.

Volvo S40 and V40

MY CLASSICS

| 13-12-2019

To conclude my Daf quadrangle we travel to Born in Limburg one more time, for the cars I reckon to be the last Daf offspring: the Volvo S40 and V40. Apart from their relationship with Daf, I also would have included them in My classics, because in my opinion they're classics in several respects.

'Broek' of a kooikerhondje

WEST GERMANIC

| 06-12-2019

When I was 12, a classmate handed in a book report about 'Kruistocht in spijkerbroek' (Crusade in jeans) to our Dutch teacher. On the front of the report it said "Kruistocht in een spijkerbroek" (Crusade in a pair of jeans), which I thought was a funny mistake. Only later did I find out that it wasn't such a strange mistake at all, and that I was the one who hadn't quite understood it.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

In miel

Linguistics | 03-12-2019 - with free translation

Yn ‘e greide rinne de kei
Se gerskje, skite, piskje in miel
En wylst se weidzje lâns de Wâldwei
Sjoch ik hoe’t Ljouwert útwreidet
...

Daf P900

MY CLASSICS

| 30-11-2019 | Update 08-12-2019

In part 1 I told that as a child I didn't really like the Volvo 343 and that the car was developed in turbulent times. In this sequel you can read how BMW influenced the design process and why the P900 came onto the market as Volvo 343. I also answer the question why the 343 is nevertheless one of my classics.

Volvo 343

MY CLASSICS

| 29-11-2019

This mini series in honour of Daf is starting to become somewhat strange. The car in the previous part was never taken into production. This part is more about a project than one specific model. Or a model, but not one of my favorites. Then why is it still one of my classics?

Fryslân Hjoed

WEST GERMANIC

| 22-11-2019

When learning a new word in a different language, I often look for something familiar in that word. Thus when I saw the Frisian word hjoed, which means today, I made the link with the Dutch word heden. Which also looks a lot like the German word heute. And of course the English word... er... today?

Daf P300

MY CLASSICS

| 15-11-2019

With four episodes about my classics from the Daf factories, I celebrate that 60 years ago that the first Daf passenger car came onto the market. Two weeks ago I wrote about the Daf 55 and what preceded it. Now it's the turn of the all-new second generation Daf 33. Unfortunately, that car was never taken into production.

Presents

WEST GERMANIC

| 08-11-2019

Verassen (to turn into ashes) instead of verrassen (to surprise); it is a spelling mistake that I regularly encounter as a Dutch teacher. If I then clearly pronounce it as ver-assen, everyone understands that that was not the intention. But ver-rassen also doesn't sound right and a bit, well ... racist?

Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Mondriaan, Ader

ART PIECES

| 05-11-2019

My top three of Dutch visual artists consists of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Mondriaan and Ader; you can choose which two should finish joint. They all belonged to the avant-garde of their time. The work of all four fits in with the respective spirits of the times, but in their time, they all went their own way.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Dingen

Linguistics | 03-11-2019 - with free translation

Er zijn van die dingen
Van die dingen
Dingen

Daar breek je je kop over
...

Daf 55

MY CLASSICS

| 01-11-2019

It's 60 years ago this year that the Daf 600 launched. A year earlier, that car had attracted huge crowds of people at the AutoRAI (Amsterdam Motor Show), partly due to a groundbreaking piece of in-house developed technology. To celebrate that, I will discuss four of my classics from the Daf factories in four episodes in a row, starting with the Daf 55.

Handboor

WEST GERMANIC

| 25-10-2019

I had noticed that the English word boring (annoying, dull) is similar to the Dutch boren (making a hole with a drill), but it seemed far-fetched to me those two words would really be related. Until I heard of a company name with the word boring as a joke.

Peugeot 405

MY CLASSICS

| 18-10-2019

In my year of birth, design teams in France and Italy started developing the car that became the European Car of the Year in 1988, with the highest number of points ever. By the time I found out about that, I already had many other memories of that model, the Peugeot 405.

Krentjebrij

WEST GERMANIC

| 11-10-2019

In Dutch, and I think also in Frisian, the most important information in a sentence is usually as far to the right as possible. With gortepap and sûpengroatenbrij, it is the pap or brij that matters, the rest is additional information. And so I have now arrived at the most important part.

Citroën C6

MY CLASSICS

| 04-10-2019

With many car models, I doubt whether I will include them in this section – there must be something for me to tell about it, of course. But there's one car of which it was immediately clear to me that I had to include it. Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps the most beautiful car ever: the Citroën C6.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Ontstaan

Linguistics | 03-10-2019 - with free translation

Op de derde dag kreeg ik de geest
En schiep een gedicht
Een vers creëerde ik, een ingeving
...

Griesmeelpap

WEST GERMANIC

| 27-09-2019

Two weeks ago I wrote about the sûpe in sûpengroattenbrij. Now I'm going to look at the groatten, of in English the groats. Those words appear to be part of an entire web of words with more or less similar meanings.

robertdouw.nl

Stay informed

| 21-09-2019, update: 19-02-2020

From now on robertdouw.nl can also be followed via RSS. That means that anyone who subscribes to my RSS feed in an RSS reader automatically receives a message when I post something new on my blog. Do you use RSS? Then click on the RSS icon in the menu (click on the 'hamburger' at the top left of the page) and the rest should go by itself!

Peugeot 206

MY CLASSICS

| 20-09-2019

In 1997, on vacation in England, I bought an issue of AutoExpress. The only thing I can still remember of the contents of that magazine, is a small picture that was attached to a letter to the editor. It was a spy photo from a previous publication, of a Peugeot that I did not yet know of: the 206.

Gortepap

WEST GERMANIC

| 13-09-2019

When I first heard the word sûpengroattenbrij, I immediately thought it was a nice word. It has a nice meter and it sounds so wonderfully Frisian. The word is Frisian of course, but the dish isn't necessarily. As a child I already knew that under the name gortepap.

Renault Clio

MY CLASSICS

| 06-09-2019

A sympathetic little French diesel car, that's what my first car had to be. A small Peugeot - a 106 or 206 - for example, but I eventually went for a Clio. And only when I did have a Clio, it became one of my classics. You won't find a car that's much more sympathetic than the Clio II, I think.


POETRY ON DAY THREE

Ader

Linguistics | 03-09-2019 - with free translation

Als de hemel Gronings grijs is
doe ik de gordijnen dicht
Saaie alledaagsheid zoek ik niet
Laat de nacht maar vallen
...

Bas Jan Ader

ART PIECES

| 30-08-2019

The first artist I discuss in this section doesn't really fit in - and that is typical of him. With Bas Jan Ader's work it wasn't love at first sight for me. Yet he is now one of the artists whose work interests me the most.

De herkomst van het woord koffie

WEST GERMANIC

| 30-08-2019

There are these moments when very common words suddenly strike you. The word suddenly seems strange to you, or it reminds you of another word and it makes you wonder if they would be related. For example, I recently read the phrase in stede van . I have never come across this expression in contemporary Dutch.

Children's drawing of a Peugeot 405

MY CLASSICS

| 30-08-2019

If there is one museum in the Netherlands every car enthusiast should visit, it's the Louwman Museum in The Hague. The journey through time I made there a while ago, made me think: which cars would I choose if I could assemble my own collection? That's how I came up with the idea for My classics.

robertdouw.nl

What can you expect?

| 30-08-2019

On this new website I intend to post a new article at least once a week. If you want to know what to expect, read on quickly. (Although, of course, you could also take your time. I would even like it if you did.)

About robertdouw.nl

Robert Douw (1983) makes this blog out of hobby. As a child he already drew cars and kept a record of all model changes. Later he also became interested in visual arts and (the Dutch) language; in both he obtained his teaching qualification. He lives and works with great pleasure in the Dutch province Friesland.