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The Flying Dutchman and Other Folktales from the Netherlands

Meder Theo

Meder Theo, The Flying Dutchman and Other Folktales from the Netherlands, Westport, Connecticut, London, 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Theo Meder

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Exceptions include reproduction and performance in educational, not-for-profit settings.

The Flying Dutchman and Other Folktales from the Netherlands

Theo Meder

Illustrations by Minke Priester

World Folklore Series

Westport, Connecticut• London



Dutch History and Outlook

There is a rather small country in Western Europe that is not so much the land of the brave, as it is a home of the free.

Beyond its successes in fanning and fishing, it has been a nation of sober-minded dike-builders and seafarers, priests and ministers, traders and painters. The country is called the Netherlands, mainly because almost half of the land lies below sea level and needs to be protected by dunes and dikes. The other name for the country, Holland, [1] actually refers to the two most prosperous provinces (North Holland and South Holland) in the west. The Dutch share the problem of being partly below sea level with their southern neighbours the Belgians, and that's why both states are sometimes referred to as The Low Countries. Then there is the language that the Netherlands and Flanders (the northern part of Belgium) have in common; in this entire region, Dutch has become the standard language of the people. The one exception is the Frisians, in the north of the Netherlands, who speak Frisian, a language related to English as well as Dutch and German. The Frisians are probably the earliest inhabitants of the Netherlands and are not related to Germanic tribes that invaded the land later on, like the Batavians, Caninefates, and Angles, although their languages must have influenced each other. Celtic influence in the Netherlands has been speculated on but never proven.

The Netherlands is surrounded by three large and mighty nations: Germany to the east, France to the south, and England to the west. During the Middle Ages the Netherlands was never a sovereign state, but always consisted of a number of counties and duchies belonging to the German empire, the kingdom of France, Burgundy, or Spain. Oppression during the Spanish military occupation, from the sixteenth century onwards, was considered harsh and ultimately led to the Dutch rebellion for freedom. During this period the northern part of The Low Countries had turned Protestant and desperately longed for religious freedom; many Protestants from the south fled to the north to avoid the death penalty for being "heretics." Viceroy William of Orange (1533-1584) led the struggle of the northern Dutch provinces against Spain, but he never saw the end of it. The war lasted from 1568 to 1648, but William of Orange was killed by the French Catholic traitor Balthasar Gerards in Delft in 1584. Previously this war against Spain was called the Eightys Years War, but today it is seen as a fight for freedom, and the Dutch prefer to call it the Rebellion. After the Dutch provinces gained their freedom in 1648, more provinces joined the union.

The seventeenth century was the Dutch golden age – an era of seafaring, discoveries, colonization, and trade. In the east and the west the Netherlands founded colonies, for instance Indonesia, Surinam, and the Antilles. In 1602 the VOC (United East-Indian Company) was founded, and it made the nation rich through the trade in tea, coffee, tobacco, and all sorts of spices. It must be noted that during this time the Dutch were notorious slave traders as well, transporting many Africans to the plantations of the West Indies and the American mainland.

Until well into the eighteenth century, the Netherlands was governed by viceroys and state representatives in parliament. Sympathy was felt for the French Revolution of 1789, which turned France into a republic and propagated the ideals of "liberté, egalité et fratemité" ("freedom, equality, and brotherhood"). Soon after Napoleon Bonaparte took control of France, French troops occupied the Netherlands. The Netherlands became a kingdom for the first time, with Emperor Napoleon's brother Louis as king from 1806 onwards. After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, the Dutch Orangist party took power and installed William I of Orange, eldest son of viceroy William V, as king. The Netherlands has basically remained a kingdom since then (see chart, below). A united kingdom with Flanders only lasted fifteen years; in 1830 the Flemish separated from the Dutch.


Kings and queens of the Netherlands

      King Williarn 1(1815-1840)

      King Williarn 11 (1840-1849)

      King Williarn III (1849-1890)

      Queen Emma (1890-1898), regent for Wilhelmina

      Queen Wilhelrnina (1890-1948)

      Queen Juliana (1948-1980)

      Queen Beatrix (1980-today)

      King William-Alexander (heir to the throne)


Although the Netherlands managed to remain neutral during the First World War, the country was occupied by German troops in the Second World War (1940-1945). The bombing of the inner city of Rotterdam; the plundering of many Dutch resources; and the deportation and annihilation of many Jews, resistance fighters, homosexuals, and gypsies have left behind a lingering, silent resentment towards the Germans within the Dutch population. The Netherlands was liberated by mainly American and Canadian Allied troops. Every year the Dutch commemorate the war victims on May 4, and celebrate Liberation Day on May 5.

The former Dutch colony of Indonesia gained its independence in 1949, followed by Surinam in 1975. The Dutch Antilles are still part of the kingdom.

For a long time the Netherlands had eleven provinces: Friesland, Groningen, Drente, Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland, North Brabant, and Limburg. In the twentieth century the sea called Zuiderzee was turned into a lake called the IJsselmeer, by building a long dam between North Holland and Friesland (1932). Within the IJsselrneer, land has been reclaimed from the water, and it officially became the twelfth province in 1985, called Flevoland. The ancient island of Urk has now changed from the province of Overijssel to Flevoland.

Nowadays some 16 million people live in the Netherlands, of which Amsterdam is the capital, while the government resides in The Hague. The two southern provinces, North Brabant and Limburg, are Catholic; the northern provinces are mainly Protestant. However, since the 1960s church attendance has been diminishing. In addition, as a result of the immigration of Turkish and Moroccan labourers and their families, a million Muslims now live in the Netherlands, especially in the four largest cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. Compared to other countries, the largest Dutch cities are still relatively small; in 2006, for instance, Amsterdam had only about 750,000 inhabitants.

In foreign countries the Dutch have the reputation of being cheap and stingy. Foreigners who speak a little Dutch say, "Kijken, kijken, niet kopen," which means, 'just looking, not buying." Certainly the Dutch are always on the lookout for bargains, and tradesmen are known to buy cheap and sell at considerable profit.

For several centuries the Dutch have also had a reputation for political and religious tolerance, as well as for liberality where trade, drugs, (homo)sexuality, euthanasia, and abortion are concerned. The Dutch are not particularly patriotic, militaristic, or proud of their own history or cultural heritage. Unlike, for instance, American culture, Dutch culture has few historical heroes; perhaps that's why the Americans invented Hans Brinker for the Dutch. The only outbursts of Dutch patriotism occur during matches of the Orange national soccer team.

Equality is highly valued in Dutch society; feelings of superiority are considered to be a vice, and so most of the time boss and employer, and even teacher and pupil, call each other by their first names. Being ordinary is a virtue. One of the most famous sayings in the Netherlands is, "Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg," meaning, "Act normal, that's crazy enough already." Another striking example of contemporary Dutch mentality is the need to be authentic, "gewoon jezelf zijn" (that is, just being yourself), not pretending to be someone else or playing some kind of role.

Finally, the Dutch have a vivid and straightforward sense of humor, as well as a flourishing culture of stand-up comedy, called "cabaret." Thanks to this sturdy and direct sense of humour, the Dutch are able to put things in (Dutch) perspective, ridiculing the unwise and unmasking the pompous.


Dutch Feasts, Dishes, Snacks, and Sweets

Many of the Dutch feast days (holidays) are international, such as Easter, Mother's

Day and Father's Day, Christmas, and New Year's. One of the rituals during Easter is the painting, hiding, and eating of eggs, especially when there are children around. A traditional snack eaten on New Year's eve is "oliebollen," crispy balls of dough, raisins, and currants, fried in oil and covered with powdered sugar. The end of the old year and the coming of a new one are celebrated with fireworks at midnight. A newly invented tradition is to take a bath in the cold North Sea at Scheveningen (or elsewhere) on New Year's morning.

Recently a tendency has arisen to take over American celebrations like Valentine's

Day and Halloween as well. Halloween is mainly celebrated amongst adolescents, who dress up in scary clothes, while the children's trick-or-treat routine more or less belongs to the newly restored feast of Saint Martin (November 11). In the evening children go from door to door with their Chinese lanterns to sing "Sinte Maarten" songs and collect candy.

Two typical Dutch and national festivals are Queen's Day and Saint Nicolas

("Sinterklaas"). Queen's Day is still celebrated on the birthday of the late Queen Juliana (April 30). Nowadays Queen Beatrix visits two cities in the Netherlands, which organize a festive program in her honour. All the inner cities array themselves in orange, and the main attractions are the flea markets, accompanied by (live) music, food, and drinks. A traditional liquor consumed on Queen's Day is "oranjebitter."

At the end of the twentieth century the Dutch began to fear that the international Father Christmas or Santa Claus was going to dominate and suppress their own feast of Saint Nicolas or Sinterklaas (December 5). After nationwide protests, the feast was restored to its former glory. It all starts in November, when Sinterklaas – dressed as a bishop – and his black servants – all called "Zwarte Piet" (i.e., Black Peter) – arrive in the Netherlands by steamboat from Spain. Welcomed by the mayor and many young children, Sinterklaas mounts his white horse, Amerigo, and along with all the Black Peters he goes to prepare for December 5, when he will give all the children (and most adults) in the Netherlands poems, sweets, and surprise gifts. It is said that on the eve of December 5 he rides over the roof tops, while the Black Peters descend through the chimneys to distribute the gifts. In order to please Sinterklaas, before they go to bed the children sing "Sint Nicolas" songs and leave their shoes near the chimney, often with a winter carrot and some water for Amerigo. Every once in a while there is discussion about the figure of Black Peter, because he particularly reminds us of our past involvement in black slavery; it has been argued that we should have Green, Orange, and Blue Peters as well, to avoid any suggestion of racism. The feast of

Sinterklaas has his own kind of sweets, including "speculaaspoppen" and "taaitaai" (both gingerbread figures), "pepernoten" and "kruidnoten" (gingerbread nuts), "suikerbeesten" (marzipan animals), chocolate mice and frogs with a soft marzipan filling, and chocolate letters.

Other regional festivities are "carnaval" (carnival, Mardi Gras) and the "Elf

Stedentocht" (Eleven Cities Tour). The real carnival is celebrated in the southern Catholic provinces of North Brabant and Limburg. It starts a few days before Ash Wednesday and Lent. In these days, the cities get carnivalesque names (for instance, 's-Hertogenbosch becomes Oeteldonk) and are ruled by carnival princes. People dress up as farmers, monks, pirates, etc., and every city hosts a procession with floats, often mocking local affairs and politics. Live music and a lot of dancing and beer drinking go on during carnival.

The Eleven Cities Tour is traditional Frisian, and can only be organized during severe winters, when the ice is thick enough to successfully support this skating tour. The almost 200-kilometre (125-mile) long tour goes from Leeuwarden to Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, and Dokkum, then back to Leeuwarden again. In the second half of the twentieth century, only six ''Elfstedentochten'' could be organized (winners: 1954, Jeen van den Berg; 1956, no winner; 1963, Reinier Paping; 1985, Evert van Benthem; 1986, Evert van Benthem; and 1997, Henk Angenent). The "professionals" are allowed to start first, after which the "amateurs" may attempt to win a medal for completing the tour. Nowadays the "professionals" are able to finish within seven hours. Along the way, crowds and small orchestras cheer for the contestants. Favourite drinks during cold winter tours are hot chocolate and Frisian Beerenburg (gin with a herbal extract).

A traditional Dutch dish, favoured by young and old throughout the country, is

"pannenkoeken" (Dutch pancakes). They are baked in a frying pan and are much flatter and crispier than American pancakes. Following is a recipe.


Pannenkoeken (Dutch Pancakes)


      250 grammes (approx. 1 cup + 5 tsp) self-rising flour


      0.5 litre (approx. 2 cups) milk


      1 egg

      sugar or syrup (made of cane sugar)



      1. Put the flourin a bowl.

      2. Make a small hole in the middle, break the egg into it, and add 2 decilitre ( cup) milk. Add a pinch of salt.

      3. Mix to combine, gradually adding the rest of the milk, until the batter is smooth and without lumps.

      4. Melt butter in a frying pan over high heat.

      5. Pour approximately V2 cup batter into the frying pan for each pancake and fry on each side until brown.


Makes approximately 8 pancakes.

Serve the pancakes with sugar or syrup on top.

These pancakes are often rolled up and eaten with a knife and fork.

Special pancakes can be made by putting bacon or cheese in the pan before adding the batter.


Traditional Dutch dishes are heavy soups and stews, fit for hard-working farmers to nourish and warm the body. In most cases, the stews consist of vegetables mashed with potatoes, such as "boerenkool met worst" (kale hotchpotch with smoked sausage), "hutspot" (a stew of carrots, onions, potatoes, and bacon), "hachee" (potatoes, onions, and beef), and "zuurkool met worst" (sauerkraut and potatoes with smoked sausage). Traditionally, the soups are rich and nourishing as well, such as "erwtensoep" (pea soup), often served with rye bread and cheese. Modern Dutch society has grown accustomed to other cuisines as well, such as French, Indonesian, Italian, and Moroccan. Today we can also buy fast food at McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pizza Hut.

When Dutch people are abroad for too long, they start craving typical Dutch snacks and sweets. One of our favourite sweets is "drop" (a sweet or salty black licorice), which is difficult to obtain elsewhere. Peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles are favourite Dutch sandwich fillings. There is some Dutch fast food from our own "snack bars"; Dutch fries with mayonnaise, "kroketten," and "bitterballen" (the latter both meaty ragout snacks in a crispy fried layer). Raw (new or green) herring, sprinkled with bits of onion, is considered a delicacy by the Dutch; traditionally, it has been consumed by tilting one's head back and lowering the fish, with the tail between thumb and forefinger, into one's mouth.

Preferred drinks in the Netherlands are coffee, tea, milk, and buttermilk. The traditional alcoholic Dutch drinks are beer (with Heineken the most famous brand) and "jenever" (gin). The Dutch today have learned to appreciate wine as well. Youngsters drink a lot of soft drinks, and our adolescents have discovered the cocktail-like "breezers."


Dutch Narrative Culture

Like any other European country, the Netherlands has a rich narrative culture, in the past as well as in the present. Many of the traditional folktales, like fairy tales and legends, have been collected from oral tradition since the nineteenth century or are found in even older literature. Fairy tales like "Little Red Riding Hood," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "B~luebeard," and "Sleeping Beauty" are well known in the Netherlands, although here one might suspect literary influence from Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brothers (and more recently Walt Disney). That's the main reason why in the past Dutch folktale collectors hardly bothered to take these stories down from oral tradition. Most of the collectors were looking for "authentic" oral tales among the farmers and fishermen, who supposedly had lived in isolation from any literary culture for centuries. Apart from fairy tales, many legends have been recorded, about mermaids, giants, gnomes, witches, sorcerers, werewolves,

and hauntings. Particularly in the southern Catholic provinces, many legends about saints and holy objects (crucifixes, hosts, statues, and images) have been found as well.

The Collecting of folktales in the Netherlands started some time after the Brothers

Grimm published their Kinder und Hausmdrchen in Germany in the early nineteenth century. At first Dutch scholars thought fairy tales were too insignificant to study. Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, local folklorists collected tales in their own regions, especially where the local language and culture were supposed to be threatened by more dominant ones: Flanders, Limburg, and Friesland. At the end of

the nineteenth century philologist and folklorist Gerrit Jacob Boekenoogen (1868-1930) took up the task of collecting folktales on a national scale. He used the same methods the Brothers Grimm had: He went looking for tales in archives and old books and asked people from all over the country to send him letters with folktales and folksongs, originating from oral tradition. In this way he obtained a lot of unique material. One of his correspondents proved to be a true fieldworker; rural physician Cornelis Bakker (1863-1933) from Broek in Waterland (North Holland) interviewed many of his patients – mainly dairy farmers, farm hands, milkmen, and fishermen – with remarkable results. One of Bakker' s best storytellers was local dairy farmer Dirk Schuurman (1839-1908), who had several tales in his repertoire that have never

been found since in the Netherlands, such as "The Taming of the Shrew" (belonging to an ancient and intemational tradition that had inspired William Shakespeare as well).

Unfortunately, for many years Boekenoogen's collection remained unpublished (until the twenty-first century), and his life's work did not result in any serious academic incorporation of the study of folklore in the Netherlands. Over the years, only a handful of scholars took an interest in Dutch folk narrative, and fieldwork and collecting tales were left to local folklorists again. In the 1960s and 1970s the documentation and research institute that is today called the Meertens Instituut (part of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences) started a program to collect folktales on a national scale again. The main objective was to obtain legends and folk beliefs from all over the country, to facilitate the drawing of folkloristic maps. After a while,

more than twenty collectors were allowed to take down fairy tales and jokes, too. Altogether they collected some 30,000 folktales, more than half of which were

collected by one man, the Frisian collector and assistant minister Adam Aukes Jaarsma (1914-1991). Well after World War II, Jaarsma was still able to find storytellers, like the Frisian mole catcher and smallholder Anders Bijma (1890-1977), who were able to tell the traditional fairy tales from the oral tradition.

In 2006 the Meertens Instituut created a professional centre for preserving, collecting, and researching Dutch folktales, called DOC Volksverhaal (Documentation and Research Centre for Folktales). Among other things, the DOC Volksverhaal is responsible for maintaining a Dutch Folktale Database,

with more than 35,000 narratives in it (

A frequently asked question is, "Are there any typically Dutch folktales?" The honest answer is no, not really. The Netherlands is a small country, right at the intersection of Germanic and Romance culture, and folktales from both cultures can be found here in abundance. Furthermore, Dutch society is receptive to many stories. In fact, almost all folktales by nature consist of international narrative material; there are no boundaries for good stories, and that's why folklorists are able to make international catalogues of folktales.

Of course, in a way a tale is typically a Dutch tale when told in the Dutch or Frisian language or in some Dutch dialect; language is an important marker of identity. In quite a lot of Dutch folktales I find some kind of social comment, expressing sympathy for the underdog, the common man, and the principle of equality and liberty, as well as distrust towards authority and heroism. Maybe one could say that typical of many Dutch tales is that they are about farmers and fishermen, about cows and pigs, about polders (land recovered from water) and – above all – about water, water, and even more water. This is hot surprising for a country near the sea, with many lakes, rivers, brooks, canals, and ditches – with more names for waterways than the English language can provide. (We think that there is a difference between a "kanaal," a "singel," and a "gracht," yet they are all called a "canal" in English.)

So isn't that story of Hans Brinker, the famous boy with his finger in the dike, a Dutch story par excellence? No, it isn't. The tale was invented by the American writer Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) and was told in her children's novel Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, dating from 1865. By the way, Hans Brinker is the hero of the novel, but not the boy with his finger in the dike. This boy only appears in a story read in school, and he remains anonymous. Although Dodge claims the legend is known by everyone in the Netherlands, it was completely unknown over here before she wrote it down. With all the water and the dikes and the flooding, the story could have been Dutch, if the boy weren't such an American type of hero. As mentioned previously, the Dutch don't like heroes that much. Nevertheless, I gave the story a place in this book ("Hansie Brinkers of Spaarndam") because whether we like it or not, the boy has become a Dutch icon, thanks to the many American tourists who visited our country after World War II. We even erected a little statue of Hans Brinker" in Spaarndam in 1950 to please the tourists. ("Dedicated to our youth, to honor the boy who symbolizes the perpetual struggle of Holland against the water.")

As examples of genuine Dutch tales about water, flooding, and drowning, I have included legends such as "Here Is the Time," "The Mermaid of Westenschouwen," "The Mermaid of Edam," "Childrensdike," ''The Herring in the Bucket," and "The Fall of Tidde Wlllnenga." All of these Dutch legends are a bit gloomy, as legends should be, for there is seldom a happy ending in legends. All somehow deal with the topics of destiny, fate, doom, and misfortune, and the acknowledgement that man is powerless against these forces. Furthermore, the legends confirm that the water and the sea can give and take, and that every once in a while there is room for a small miracle. Hardly any heroes can be found in Dutch legends, but victims can be found in abundance. If the victims are innocent, we sympathize. If the Victims are guilty ... serves them right! Incidentally, the legend of "The Flying Dutchman" isn't originally Dutch either, because the tale started as a literary tradition in England.

There are two exceptions in this book to my statement that there are no "authentic Dutch tales"; the tale of the apple-catching test ("The Soldier of Barrahuis") and the urban legend "The Wandering Comforter" are probably originally Dutch. At least, it looks like the centre of origin was the Netherlands.

Dutch narrative culture does not only consist of traditional fairy tales and legends. There are modern jokes and urban or contemporary legends, too. In Dutch the latter genre is called "broodje-aapverhaal" (monkey-burger story), after the title of the first Dutch book published on the subject by Ethel Portnoy (1927-2004). Because modern jokes and legends are as much a part of our cultural heritage as the traditional genres, I was compelled to include them as well. I even added some stories that came to the Netherlands with immigrants from Surinam, the Antilles, and Turkey. After all, our present-day society has become a multicultural one.

Currently the Dutch make jokes about these same immigrants, and the different immigrant groups make jokes about each other as well. The Dutch don't make jokes about their British or French neighbours, only about the Belgians and the Germans. The jokes about the Belgians are reasonably friendly; the Belgians are only supposed to be a bit backward. In the jokes about the Germans ancient hostilities can be found: The Germans are perceived as militaristic, loud, rude, and humourless. New trends in humour are imported from the United States, just as easily as the contemporary legends are. We have our share of dumb blonde jokes – and the wave of lawyer jokes is likely yet to come (as soon as our lawyers take over the American vulture culture).

I would like to add a warning here: This collection contains a wide range of tales, but not every story may be suitable for every reader. Therefore educators and parents should always review any particular story before sharing it with children.

The order in which the folktales are presented here is mainly inspired by the folktale catalogues of Uther (2004), Van der Kooi (1984), Sinninghe (1943), and Brunvand (1994); see "Sources and Further Reading."


Contemporary Dutch Diversity and Dynamics

Many tourists come to the Netherlands expecting to see Dutch stereotypes like wooden shoes, tulips, and Gouda cheese. Of course, if they visit the right tourist traps, they will actually see these things. In reality, few farmers wear wooden shoes any more. The tulip is not an indigenous Dutch flower; we imported the bulbs from the Turks who – in their turn – obtained them from the East. Dutch strengths were importing, cultivating, and selling again. We still like to manufacture and eat Gouda cheese, but the transport is by truck, boat, and plane, not the funny-dressed men the tourists see at the "cheese market" in Gouda.

Surely the Netherlands is a country of windmills, bicycles, painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer, and the so-called Deltawerken. The old pittoresk windmills, once used for grinding, pumping, and sawing, have become protected monuments. Every new windmill we build is slim and white and very high and for the production of electricity only. The Deltawerken is an ingenious twentieth-century project of dams, dikes, dunes, and sluices to keep the North Sea out. Most flooding nowadays occurs not when there is a break in the dike, but when rivers take too much rain and meltwater to our delta. How about that, Hans Brinker?

The Netherlands is a country with modern art and architecture as well. Not only were Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh born in the Netherlands, but also Jeroen Bosch, with his gruesome "End of Days" paintings, and Karel Appel, with his abstract compositions. In Dutch society the use of soft drugs like marijuana and hashish has been legalized, as well as prostitution, same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. On the other hand, firearms are hard to come by – Dutch citizens are more concerned about violence than about (adult) love and sex, so to speak.

Dutch society is diverse and dynamic, and these same features can be found in Dutch culture and narratives. Actually, it is impossible to speak of the Dutch culture, because there are so many different groups with their own (sub)cultures and their own narrative repertoires. Men tell different tales than women, seniors tell different stories than adolescents, Christians tell different tales than Muslims, businessmen tell different stories than goths, Antilleans tell different tales than Turks, and so on. Looking for features, values, and narratives that all Dutch have in common will – of course – lead to generalizations.

For a long time the Dutch were barely aware of our shared values and own identity. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the sense that Western culture was being threatened grew, and we started contemplating who we were and what we stood for. Along with a growing consciousness of our own moral values, roots, and identity, interest in Dutch historical and cultural riches increased, leading to the conviction that our own intangible heritage (like narrative culture) should be cherished and preserved.

Although it may be hard to believe, there is no ever-present fear of flooding in the

Netherlands these days. We hardly give a thought to the fact that most of us live below sea level – we don't feel threatened by it. This is probably the best way to avoid eternal depression. Our history and narrative culture prove that we are not constantly on the brink of drowning, but – on the contrary – have managed to keep our feet dry most of the time.

[1]. Probably from "Holt-land," which means woodland.

Sources and Further Reading

Aarme, A, and S. Thompson,: The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography. Helsinki, 1964. (FFC 184).

Bakas, A,, and H. van Wolde. Gluren bij de buren. Humor en diversiteit. Lelystad, 1997.

Blécourt, W. de. Volksverhalen uit Nederlands Limburg. Utrecht and Antwerp, 1981.

––. Volksverhalen uit Noord-Brabant. Utrecht and Antwerp, 1980.

Boekenoogen, G. J. "Nederlandsche sprookjes en vertelsels." Volkskunde 15 (1903): 114-115.

––. "Nederlandsche sprookjes en vertelsels." Volkskunde 17 (1905): 103-106.

Brunvand, J. H. The Baby Train and Other Lusty Urban Legends. New York, 1994.

Burger, P. De wraak van de kangoeroe. Amsterdam, 1993.

Cohen, J. Nederlandse Volksverhalen. Zutphen, 1952.

Damen, John. "De sage van de Witte Wieven." Kampioen 118, no. 1 (January 2003): 62-64.

Dekker, T., J. van der Kooi, and T. Meder. Van Aladdin tot Zwaan Kleef Aan. Lexicon van sprookjes: ontstaan, ontwikkeling, variaties. Nijmegen, 1997.

Dutch Folktale Database. Available at

Franke, S. Legenden langs de Noordzee. Zutphen, 1934.

Jong, E. de, and P. Klaasse. Sagen en Legenden van de Lage Landen. Bussum, 1980.

Jong, E. de, and H. Sleutelaar. Sprookjes van de Lage Landen. Amsterdam, 1996.

Koman, Ruben A Bèèh ... ! Groot Dordts volksverhalenboek. Bedum, 2005.

––. Dalfser Muggen. Volksverhalen uit een Overijsselse gemeente. Bedum, 2006.

Kooi, J. van der. Van Janmaanje en Keudeldoemke. Groninger Sprookjesboek. Groningen, 2003. a – a

––. Volksverhalen in Friesland. Lectuur en mondelinge overlevering. Een typencatalogus. Groningen, 1984.

Meder, T. De magische vlucht. Nederlandse volksverhalen uit de collectie van het Meertens Instituut. Amsterdam, 2000.

––. Vertelcultuur in Waterland. De volksverhalen uit de Collectie Bakker (ca. 1900). Amsterdam, 2001.

Meder, T., and C. Hendriks. Vertelcultuur in Nederland. Volksverhalen uit de Collectie Boekenoogen (ca. 1900). Amsterdam, 2005.

Meder, T., and M. van Dijk. Doe open Zimzim. Verhalen en liedjes uit de Utrechtse wijk Lombok. Amsterdam, 2000.

Meder, T., and E. Venbrux. "Authenticity as an Analytic Concept in Folkloristics: A Case of Collecting Folktales in Friesland." Etnofoor 17, nos. 1-2 (2004): 199-214.

––. "Vertelcultuur." In Volkscultuur. Een inleiding in de Nederlandse etnologie. Edited by T. Dekker, H. Roodenburg, and G. Rooijakkers, 282-336. Nijmegen, 2000.

Poortinga, Y. De foet fan de reinbôge. Fryskefolksforhalen. Baarn, 1979.

Portnoy, E. Broodje Aap. 10th ed. Amsterdam, 1992.

Sinninghe, J. R. W. Katalog der niederländischen Märchen-, Ursprungssagen-, Sagen und Legendenvarianten. Helsinki, 1943.

––. Spokerijen in Amsterdam en Amstelland. Zaltbommel, 1975.

––. Spokerijen in de Zaanstreek en Waterland. Zaltbommel, 1975.

––. Volkssprookjes uit Nederland en Vlaanderen. Den Haag, 1978.

Sliggers, B. Volksverhalen uit Noord- en Zuid-Holland. Utrecht and Antwerp, 1980.

Stuiveling, G., ed. Esopet. Amsterdam, 1965.

Uther, H.-J. Types of International Folktales. A Classification and Bibliography, Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Helsinki, 2004. (FFC 284-286)

Venbrux, E., and T. Meder. "Anders Bijma's Folktale Repertoire and Its Collectors." Fabula 40, nos. 3/4 (1999): 259-277.



"Adam's Fault," 234

Adelaide, 147

Africa, 13

"After Creation," 235

Ajax, 231 .

Albert, 110-112

Alkmaar, 28, 63

Alphen aan de Rijn, 161

America, x, xi, xiii, xviii, xix, 143

Amerigo, xiii

Amersfoort, 100

Amsterdam, xii, 81-83,95, 100, 117-119, 129, 143, 148, 165, 166, 167, 169, 209-210, 212, 216, 231

Anansi (the Spider), 13-16, photo sec.

Angel, 54-57, 67, 217

Angenent, Henk, xiii

Anna, 27, 81-83

Antilles, x, xi, xix, xx, 13, 16

Apollo, 83

Appel, Karel, xix

Apple-catching test, xviii, 84-85

Arends, Gerrit Arends, 11

Arkemheen polder, 129

Arnhem, 26,40, 67, 199,247

Ash Wednesday, xiii


Australia, 147

Baarn, 239

Baarschers, H., 129


Baked beans, 158

Bakker, Cornelis, xvi, xvii, 75, 77, 80, 124, 126, 128, 212


Barrahuis, 84-85

"Basilisk of Utrecht, The," 138-139

Batavia, 117-119

Batavians, ix

"Bauke the Skater," 222-223

Bean, 12

Bears, 3, 38-39, 166, photo sec.

Beathenberg, 159

Beatrix, Queen, xi, xiii

"Beauty and the Beast," 37

Beekveldt, Herman, 166

Beerenburg, xiv

Beetle, 14


Belgian, ix, xix, 177-178, 181

Belgium, ix

Benthem, Evert van, xiii

Berg, Jeen van den, xiii

Bergeik, 108

Berkenbosch,Rinke, 144

"Bertha and the Seven Monkeys," 27-28

Betje, 58-59

"Bewitched Mill, The," 125-126

"Bewitched Ship, The," 123-124

Bible, 143

Bicycle, xix, 166, 168

"Bicycle," 161

Biesbosch, 134'

Bijma, Alle, 215

Bijma, Anders, xvii, 6, 19, 215

"Biology Practical," 167

Bird, 58-59

Bitterbal, xv

Black licorice. See Drop

Black Peter. See Zwarte Piet

"Blasphemy," 70

"Blind Spinster, The," 190

"Bluebeard," xvi, 19, photo sec.

Boekenoogen, Gerrit Jacob, xvi-xvii, 3, 4, 9, 12, 21, 26, 28, 37, 39, 40, 60, 63, 83, 99, 100, 114, 116, 127, 129, 131, 186, 189, 193, 199, 200, 202, 208, 216, 218, 219, 220, 221, 242

Boelenslaan, 6, 215

Boerenkool met worst, xiv

Boestert, Raymond den, 16

Bolsward, xiii

Boogaard, J., 157

Bosch, Jeroen, xix

"Boulder of Amersfoort, The," 100

Boulder-pullers, 100

Brarrunert, 113-114

Brandenburg, E., 148

"Bread Turned to Stone," 69

Bree, Elise de, 164, 234

Brinker, Hans, xii, xviii, xix, 102-103

Broek in Waterland, xvi, 75, 77,212

Broodje-aapverhaal, xviii


Bruning, Jacobes Andereas, 189

Brunvand, Jan Harold, xix

Burger, Peter, 144, 154

Burgh, 105-106

Burgundy, ix

Butler, 232

Cabbage, 173

Calon, Laurens, 164

Canada, xi

Caninefates, ix

Cape of Good Hope, 117

Cappelle, A. M. van, 40

Carnaval, xiii, 96

Cat, 125-126, 127, 134-135, 190


"Cat Fair, The" 127

Cat on the cradle, 134-135

Catholic, ix, xii, xiii, xvi, 107

Celts, ix


"Changeling, The," 109

"Childrensdike," xviii, 134-135

China, 123-124, 153

"Chinese Food," 153

Chinese orange, 123

"Chocolate House, The," 20-21

Chocolate letters, xiii

Chocolates, 169

Christmas, xii, 70, 145

"Cinderella," xvi

"Circus Bear," 166

Citroen 2 CV, 148

"Clever Dog, A," 228

Coffee, 49-50, 52-53

Cohen, Josef, 139, 195

"Cold as Ice," 163


Cologne, 41, 44, 51, 53, 120, 122

Contemporary Dutch society, xix-xx

Contemporary legends. See Urban legends

Cornelis, Mrs., 208

Cow, 178, 196,205-208,214

Credit card, stolen, 162

Daendels, Herman Willem, 118, 119

Dalfsen, 224-226


Danes, 105

Decken, Willem van der, 119

Dekker, Eduard Douwes, 247

Deenik, mrs., 193,218

Delft, ix

Deltawerken, xix

Devil,89,90-91, 117-118, 120-122, 131,

217, photo sec.


Dijkstra, Bonne, 173

Dike, ix, xviii, xix, 102-103, 132, 134, 137

"Dirty Rotten Trick, The," 155

Disney, Walt, xvi

"Dividing Nuts in the Churchyard," 217

DOC Volksverhaal, xvii

Doctor, 233

Dog, 10,55-56, 74-75, 228-229,

240-242, 248

"Dog and the Sparrow, The," 10

Dokkum, xiii, 69, 89

Dollard, 136, 137

Dongen, Jeske van, 229

Dongen, Luuk van, 229

Donkey, 6, 211, 236

Dordrecht, 134, 194-195

Dourie, Admiral, 118

Drachten, 133, 203, 204

Drente, xi, 4, 60, 99, 113, 114, 168, 226

Driebergen, 21, 37, 39, 116

Drop, xv

Duivelsberg, 108

Dumb blonde jokes, xix, 179

Dutch, ix, xvii, 15, 165, 177

"Dutch," 143

Dutch food, xii-xvi

Dwarf, 38-39, 41-53, 108

Dykstra, Waling, 210

EarnewaId, 222

Easter, xii

East India, 118

Edam, mermaid of, 107, photo sec.

Eenrum, 4

Egypt, 235

Eighty-Years War, ix

Eindhoven, 229

Elf Stedentocht, xiii

Ellert, 113-114

Ellertsveld, 113

Elsje, 20-21

Emma, Queen, xi

Emmen, 168

England, ix, xviii, xix, 118, 119

English, ix, 143,232

"English Lord, The," 232

Epe, 174

Erwtensoep, xiv

Esopet, 7

Eversteijn, Nadia, 236

"Evil Stepmother, The," 58-60

Ezinge, 11

Fairies, 27-28, 36

Fairy tales, xvi, xvii

"Fall of Tidde Winnenga, The," xviii, 137

False teeth, 156-157

"Farmer and the Lawyer, The," 203

Father Christmas. See Santa Claus

February, 97

Ferwerda, M.A., 83

Finns, 181

Firemen, 225

Fish, 3, 156, 168

"Fisher and His Wife, The," 53

"Fishing in the Mist," 168

"Fishing Trip, The," 156

Flanders, ix, x, xvi

Flevoland, xi

Flying Dutchman, The, xviii, 117-119,

photo sec.

Fockesz, Barend, 117-119



"Fox and the Wolf, The," 4

France, ix, xix, 29, 162

Franeker, xiii

French Revolution, x

Friesland, xi, xiii, xvi, 6, 19,69, 85, 91, 101, 104, 132-133, 173, 177, 181, 188, 190, 203, 204, 210, 215, 216, 223

Frisian, ix, xiv, xvii, 69, 119, 204

"Frog, The," 40

"Frog King or Iron Henry," 40

Fullemans, A. W., 109

Gait, 225

Galien, Pieter Tjeerds van der, 89

Garijp, 85

Gat, Het, 107

Gelderland, xi, 12, 26, 40, 67, 70, 112, 152, 154, 174, 199, 247, 253

Gerards, Balthasar, ix

German, ix, xix, 116, 166, 181

Germanic culture, ix, xvii

Germany, ix, xi, xvi, 115, 120

Ghost, 114, 115-116, 185

Giant, xvi

"Gift of the Ghost, The," 185

"Gifts of the Little People, The," 185

Ginger, 125

Gnome, xvi, 108, 109

Goat, 7, 173

God, 53, 54, 57, 67, 70, 102, 143, 159-160, 234, 235

Godless woman, 131, photo sec.

Goes, 157

Gogh, Vincent van, xix

Goirie, 164

Good Will Hunting, 164

Gouda, xix, 160

"Granddad on the Run," 146

Gravenzande, 's-, 185

Grimm, Jacob, xvi

Grimm, Wilhelm, xvi

Grimme, Moniek, 130

Groningen (province), xi, 4, 11, 78, 136, 137, 177, 181, 235

Grootebroek, 148

Grote Houtstraat, 107


Guards, the two, 174, photo sec.

"Guardian Angel," 159-160

Gypsy, xi, 109

Haarlem, 103, 107, 193, 218, 226

Hachee, xiv

Hague, The, xi, xii, 9

Hall, Cato P. E. de, 242

Halloween, xiii

"Hannes and the Statue of Saint

Anthony," 205-208

"Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates," xviii, 103

"Hansel and Gretel," 21

"Hansie Brinkers of Spaarndam," xviii, 102-103

Harlingen, xiii

Have, Ben van der, 161

Hazekamp, J.O., 4

Haunting, 115-116

Heel, A.W.H. van, 108

Heineken, xv

Helder, Den, 189

Hell's Angels, 150

Helmond, 57

Hendrik, 110-111

"Here Is the Time," xviii, 104


Heroes, xii, xviii, 103

Herring, xv, 136

"Herring in the Bucket, The," xviii, 136

Hersbach, Cor, 185

Hertogenbosch, 's-, xiii

Hill of Lochem, 110

Hilvarenbeek, 146

Hilversum, 145, 221

Hindeloopen, xiii

History, Dutch, ix-xii

"History of Old-Bovetje, The," 8

"Hitchhiker, The," 145

Holland, ix

Hoonhorst, 226

Horses, 4, 74-75, 187-188, 191-192, 201-202

"House with the Heads," 81-83

"How the People Learned to Eat

Potatoes," 101

Hunter, 13-15

Hutspot, xiv

"I Am So ... ," 204

IJlst, xiii

IJsselmeer, xi

"In Chains," 149

Indonesia, x, xi, 119

"Inquisitive Farmer, The," 108

"Insoluble Sum, The," 164

Iraq, 231

Irma, 29,36

"It Was Night," 239

Italy, 146

Jaarsma, Dam, xvii, 6, 19, 69, 85, 89, 91, 101, 133, 173, 188, 190, 203, 204

"Jack of Clubs Gets Jenever," 128

Jakarta, 119

James, 232

Jan(tje), 58-60, 61-63, 156, 196-199, 213-215, 227

"Jan and Trintje," 213

Jan-Willem, 225

"Jan with the Magic Pot," 196

"Jan Without Fear," 115-116

January, 97

"Japanese Stonecutter, The," 243-247

Jenever, xvi, 128

Jeurink-Hofsteenge, L. H., 168

Jews, xi, 196-197

J ohanna, 110-112

Joke, xvii, xviii, xix, 150, 157, 158

Juliana, Queen, xi, xiii

Junius, S. H., 26, 199

Kaatje, 62

Kale hotchpotch. See Boerenkool met worst

Kangaroo, 147

"Kangaroo Jack," 147

"Kangaroo Robs Athlete Paralympics," 147

Karlsruhe, 159

Kattenberg, 108

Kees, 156, 200

Keizersgracht, 81, 83

Kieviet, C.J., 127

Kinderdijk, 135

Kinder- und Hausmiirchen, xvi

Kings, x, xi, 15, 22, 26, 54-57, 76-77, 79-80, 101, 243-245

"Knollen en Citroenen," 186

Kobus-V an der Zee, Geeske, 69, 91, 101, 188, 190

Koffiestraatje, 224

Kooi, Jurjen van der, xix, 91, 204

Kooij, Heleen, 239

Koot, Ploris, 248

Kossen-Bakker, Neeke, 104

Krakatau, 118

Kroket, xv

Krommenie, 99, 114, 152

Kroonvogel, De, 117-118

Kruidnoten, xiii

Kuiper, 118, 119

Kuipers-Veenstra, Bontje, 204

Kwakel, De, 153

Laan, Klaas ter, 78, 136, 137

Ladiges, Willem, 167

Lake Purmer, 107

Langendijk, 123

Langeslaetten, 222

Laren, 145

Latin, 210

Lawyer, xix, 203

Leeuwarden, xiii, 90-91

"Legend of the White Women," 110-112

Legends, xvi, xvii, xviii

Leiden (Leyden), 161, 211-212, 220

"Leidsch Dagblad," 154

Lent, xiii

Liberation Day (May 5), xi

"Lie, A," 221

Lily-White, 38-39, photo sec.

Limburg, xi, xii, xiii, xvi, 109, 120, 122, 163, 177

Lion, 6

"Lion's Share, The," 6

"Little Magic Fish, The," 41

"Little Red Riding Hood," xvi

Lochem, 110, 112

Lodder-Kooij, Ineke, 162

London, 232

Long Splinter, 215

"Long Spring, The," 201-202

Loosduinen, 219

Lords Seventeen, 119

Louis Napoleon, x

Louise, 29, 36

Low Countries, The, ix, 154

Lutten, 131

Maggot, 154

Magic fish, 41-53

"Magic Flight, The," 26

"Magician and the Parrot, The," 230

Magic pot, 196, 198

Mandings, J., 63

Man in the Moon, 70

"Man Who Fell from Heaven, The," 200

"Man Who Liked Baked Beans, The," 158

Mapes Dodge, Mary Elizabeth, xviii, 103


Marriage. See Wedding

Mars, 83

Marsman, Micky, 174

Martijn, 225

"Master Thief, The," 191

Max Havelaar, 247

"Mayor Ox," 211-212

Meertens Instituut, The, xvii

Meijer, Hendrik, 133,203


Mercedes Benz, 148

"Mermaid of Edam, The," xviii, 107

"Mermaid of Westenschouwen, The," xviii, 105-106

Mermaids, xvi, 105-106, 107, photo sec.

Merman, 106

Meulen, J. ter, 12

Mheen, 129

Mietje, 61-63


Minister, ix, 104, 131, 210

Molenend, 173

Mommersteeg, Kees, 227

Mongolia, 235

Monkey, 28, 227

"Monkey Trick," 227

Monster, 31-36

Moonen, Debby, 163

Moppentoppers, 158, 230, 232

Moroccan, xii, 175, 176

"Mosquitoes of Dalfsen, The," 225-226

Mountain spirit, 244-246

Mulder, Jan, 147

Multatuli, 247

Murder, 19,58-60, 62, 67, 113-114, 197, 199

Muslims, xii, xx

Mythology, 83

Naaijkens, Jan, 146

Napoleon, x

Narrative culture, Dutch, xvi-xix

"Nasreddin Hodja," 236

Netherlands, The, ix-xx, 13, 16, 103, 143, 155, 156, 235, 236, 247

New Year, xii

Niemeyer, G., 221

Nijega, 69, 91, 101, 188, 190

Nijkerk, 129

"No Worries," 76-77

Noordwal, Cornelie A., 9

Norg, 113

Norsemen, 105

North Brabant, xi, xii, xiii, 57, 97, 108, 130, 146, 164, 227, 229, 236

North Holland, ix, xi, xvi, 3, 28, 63, 75, 77, 80, 96, 99, 102-103, 107, 114, 124, 126, 127, 128, 129, 143, 145, 148, 152, 153, 167, 189, 193, 212, 216, 218, 221, 226, 242

North Sea, xii, xix, 95, 156

Nyeuwe Clucht Boeck, Een, 186

Oeteldonk, xiii

Old-Bovetje, 8-9

"Old Hag, The," 22

"Old Woman and Her Pig, The," 240

Oliebollen, xii

Oirschot, 108, 130

"Once a Thief, Always a Thief," 151

Oosterlittens, 209-210

Oosterschelde, 156

Oosthuizen, 127

Oostwoud, 242

Orangist party, x

Oranjebitter, xiii

Overijssel, xi, 131, 226

Owl-boards, 90-91

Ox, 211-212, 241-242

Palmar, 137

Pancakes. See Pannenkoeken

Pannenkoeken, xiv, xv, 40, 98-99, 102

Papenbrug, 209-210

Paping, Reinier, xiii

Paralympic Games, 147

Parrot, 230

Pea soup. See Erwtensoep

Pepernoten, xiii

Perrault, Charles, xvi

Peter, 225

Piet, 81-82, 239

Pieterke, 216

Pig, 98-99, 206, 240-242

Piggelmee, 41-53

Plugge, Danny, 231

"Pole of Oosterlittens, The," 209

Police, 83, 101, 144, 145, 162, 169

"Police Are Your Best Friends, The," 144

Poortinga, Ype, 104, 215, 223

Poot, G., 219

Portnoy, Ethel, xviii

Postel, Ge, 112

Potato, 101

Priest, ix, 103, 207, 217-218, 220

Prince, 22-26, 28, 36-37,39, 40, 54-57

"Prodigy, A," 54-57

Protestant, ix, xii, 143

Pisuisse, C.W., 131

Pulpit, 219

Purmer Gate, 107

Putten, windmill in, 129, photo sec.

Queens, xi, 22, 25-26, 53, 54-57

Queen's Day, xiii

Rat, 241-242

Rebellion, The, ix

Recipe, xiv

Reiderland, 137

Remadan, Mohamed, 175, 176

Rembrandt van Rijn, xix

Riddles, 173-181,221

Riethoven, 108

Robber, 79-80, 81-83, 85, 191-193, 214

Roermond, 122

Romance culture, xvii

Romania, 166

Romans, 105

Romeijn, H. J., 106

"Room with Three Lightbulbs," 176

Roorda, sisters, 60

Rooster, 14-15,90-91, 138,216

"Rose-Red and Lily-White," 38-39

"Rose Violet, The," 61-63

Rotterdam, xi, xii, 53, 200, 202, 208, 231

Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, The, xvii

Rozina, 29-37, photo sec.

RTL4, 158, 230, 232

Rtihrup, A., 200, 202

Russians, 181

Rutjes, E. C. W., 152

Saint Andrew' s cross, 130

Saint Anthony, 205-207

Saint Boniface, 69

Saint Elisabeth's Flood, 134

Saint Martin, xiii

Saint Nicolas. See Sinterklaas

"Saint Nicolas and the Three Students," 67-68

Santa Claus, xiii

Sassen, August Hendrik, 57

Sauerkraut. See Zuurkool

"Sawn-Through Pulpit, The," 219

Saxons, ix

Scheveningen, xii

Schiedam, 162

Schuurman, Dirk, xvi, 75, 77, 212

September 11th, xx

Sexton, 207, 217-218

Shakespeare, William, xvi

"Sharp Food," 169

Sheep, 191-192, 194-195, 198, 203, 217

"Sheepheads of Dordrecht, The," 194-195

Siegenbeek van Jfeukelom, Anouk, 233

Sievert, 78 .

Sinninghe, J. R. W., xix

Sint Reinuit, 96

Sinterklaas, xiii, 67

Sintemuiten, 95

Sittart, 163

Skating, xiii-xiv, 222-223

Skeleton, 116

Slee-Bessie, 118

Sleeping Beauty, xvi

Sloten, xiii

"Small Versus Big," 148

Smits, Caroline, 143

Smitt, J. W., 100

Smuggling, 194-195

"Snail in the Pit, The," 175

Snake, 138

Sneek, xiii

"Snow-Child, The," 186

"Snow-White," xvi, 28

Soap, 248

Soccer, xii, 231

"Soccer Talent, The," 231

Sodom and Ghomorra, 231

Soldaats, Trijntje, 11

Soldier, 79-80, 84-85, 89, 128

"Soldier and the King, The," 79-80

"Soldier of Barrahuis, The," xviii, 84-85

Sorcerer, xvi, 128

South Holland, ix, xi, 9, 135, 160, 161, 162, 185, 195, 200, 202, 208, 219, 220, 247

Spaamdam, xviii, 102-103

Spain, ix, xiii, 118

Sparrow, 10-11

Speculaaspop, xiii

Spider, 13-16

Spinster, 190

"Spoilt Wedding, The," 152

"Spoon as Proof," 220

Stavoren, xiii, 132-133

Steenhuisen, L.G., 53

Stepmother, 27-28, 58-60


"Stolen Credit Card, The," 162

Stolwijk-Freichmann,Ingrid, 153

"Stone Owl-Boards, The," 90-91

Straw, 12

"Strong Tobacco," 89

Stuttgart, 159

Suikerbeest, xiii

Suitor test, 110-111

Sunda Strait, 118

Surinam, x, xi, xix, 13, 16

Switzerland, 146, 159

Taaitaai, xiii

Tail-Fisher, 3

"Tale of Ellert and Brammart in

Ellertsveld, The," 113-114

"Taming ofthe Shrew, The," xvi, 73-75

"Tapeworm, The," 233

Telegraaf, De, 147

Termunten, 136





"Thief Under the Tablecloth, The," 78

Thieves, 78, 151, 162, 191-193, 203, 217-218

"Thousandth Bar of Soap, The," 248

Tiel, 12

Tiger, 13-15

Tilburg, 236

Timmers-Groothuijs, S. C., 99, 114

Tobacco, 89

Tourism, xix, 103, 156

Traviata, La, 151

Treasure, 21, 116, 210

Trickster, 3,4, 13-16, 196-199, 204

Trijntje, 213-215

"Trivial," 170

"Truck Driver, The," 150

Tulips, xix

Tungelroij, 109

Turk, xii, xix, xx, 236

Turkey, xix

"Two Guards, The," 174, photo sec.

"Two Witches, Who Went to the Wine Cellar," 120-122

Uilenspiegel, Tijl, 204

Uitdam, 80, 126

United States. See America

University, 211-212

Urban legends, xviii, xix, 150, 155, 158

Urk, xi

Uther, Hans-Jorg, xix

Utrecht (city), xii, 13, 16, 138-139, 170, 175,176,236

Utrecht (province), xi, 16, 21, 37, 39, 100, 116, 139, 175, 176, 236, 239

Valentine's Day, xiii

Van het tovervisje, 53

Van Nelle, 49-50, 52-53

Vecht, The, 224-225

Veen, J. van der, 216

Veenhuyzen, A., 28

Veer, M. R. van der, 21, 37, 39, 116


Vermeer, Johannes, xix

Vette, Rens de, 67, 247

Vis, Moniek, 150

Visser, Wendy de, 165

Vlaardingen, 231, 247

Vlijmen, 227

VOC, x, 117, 119

Volkskrant, De, 166

Vries, Foppe de, 85


"Wandering Comforter, The," xviii, 154


Waterland, 128

Waterpoort, 118

Waterslide, 155

Weddings, 19, 26, 28, 36-37, 39, 40, 57, 73,112, 152

Weele, C. I. van der, 160


Wels, Stefanie, 165

Werewolf, xvi, 130

Westenschouwen, mermaid of, 105-106

West-Indies, x

"What Is 'Guts'?," 165

White Woman, 110-112, 114, photo sec.

White Women's Pit, 110

"Who's in Charge?," 187

"Whoso Diggeth a Pit," 189

"Why Bears Have Short Tails," 3

"Why February Only Has 28 Days," 97

"Why the Beans Have Black Spots," 12

"Why the Pigs Root in the Mud," 98-99

"Why the Water in the North Sea Is Salt," 95-96

Wiedijk, Freek, 170

Wiersma, Dirk, 223

Wijbrands-Alberts, Trijntje. See Soldaats, Trijntje

Wilhelmina, Queen, xi

Willem, 225

William-Alexander, Prince, xi

William of Orange, Viceroy, ix, x

William V, Viceroy, x

William I of Orange, King, x, xi

William II, King, xi

William III, King, xi

Windmills, xix, 13-15, 125-126, photo sec.

Winnenga, Tidde, 137

Winterswijk, 154

Witchcraft, 120-122, 127

Witches, xvi, 20-21, 22-25, 120-122, 123-124, 125-126, 127, 129

"Witches in the Sieve, The," 129

"Wolf and the Goat, The," 7

"Wolf, the Goat, and the Cabbage, The," 173

Wolves, 4, 7, 8-9, 173

"Woman of Stavoren, The," 132-133

Wooden shoes, xix, 41, 43, 46, 51, 180

Workum, xiii

World War I, xi

World War II, xi, xvii, xviii, 181

"You Shouldn't Have Done That," 216

Zaanstreek, 3

Zeeland, xi, 105-106, 119, 156, 157

Zeelst, 108

Zuiderwoude, 124, 128

Zuiderzee, xi, 107

Zuurkool met worst, xiv

Zwarte Piet, xiii

Zwiep, 110, 112

Zwolle, 226

Dr. Theo Meder studied Dutch language and literature at the University of Leyden. Since 1994 he has been working as a folk narrative researcher at the Department of Ethnology at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. He has published books and articles on fairy tales, traditional legends, jokes, riddles, contemporary legends, and personal narratives. He is currently a senior researcher and manager of the Dutch Folktale Database ( as well as at the DOC Volksverhaal, the center for documentation and research on folktales in the Netherlands (


Recent Titles in the World Folklore Series

Folktales from the Japanese Countryside As told by Hiroko Fujita; Edited by Fran Stallings with Harold Wright and Miki Sakurai

Mayan Folktales; Cuentos folklóricos Mayas Retold and Edited by Susan Conklin Thompson, Keith Thompson, and Lidia Lopez de Lopez

The Flower of Paradise and Other Armenian Tales Translated and Retold by Bonnie C. Marshall; Edited and with a Foreword by Virginia Tashjian

The Magic Lotus Lantern and Other Tales from the Han Chinese Haiwang Yuan

Brazilian Folktales Livia de Almeida and Ana Portella; Edited by Margaret Read MacDonald

The Seven Swabians, and Other German Fo1kta1es Anna Altmann

English Folktales Edited by Dan Keding and Amy Douglas

The Snow Maiden and Other Russian Tales Translated and Retold by Bonnie C. Marshall; Edited by Alla V. Kulagina

From the Winds of Manguito: Cuban Folktales in English and Spanish (Desde los vientos de Manguito: Cuentos folklóricos de Cuba, en inglés y españiol) Retold by Elvia Perez; Edited by Margaret Read MacDonald

Tales from the Taiwanese Retold by Gary Marvin Davison

Indonesian Folktales Retold by Murti Bunanta; Edited by Margaret Read MacDonald

Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights Retold by Soula Mitakidou, Anthony L. Manna with Melpomeni Kanatsouli

Additional titles in this series can be found at

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