Proverbs and Expressions – de bloemetjes buiten zetten

After already two weeks of college and introduction days, it’s time for another crazy Dutch proverb. I hope you’ve all had your fair share of tips (remember the first proverb?) to bite off.  Today another expression, to impress your Dutch friends with your newfound knowledge, or to confuse random strangers on the street. Like the first one, I will introduce the phrase, supported by an English translation and the right way to pronounce the Dutch words:

/de bloemetjes buiten zetten/  –  /putting the flowers outside/

(A suggestion for pronunciation: /duh bloe-muh-tjuhs bui-ten zet-ten/

De bloemetjes buiten zetten. When a Dutchie uses this expression, the speaker is telling you that they intend to have a night with good partying and a lot of booze. Some people would call it a bit old fashioned, but everyone knows what it means and the phrase is often used a bit sarcastically. This expression can be compared to the English phrase: painting the town red. Both refer to partying; the English version refers to an old habit of painting a town red on special, festive occasions. But it’s not clear how the connection between putting flowers out and partying came to be. Perhaps people used to decorate the streets and their houses with flowers whenever there was a festivity, or it just refers to the celebration of the end of winter, when flowers weren’t in danger of frost and snow anymore, and could be put outside again.

We might never find out, but the meaning of the expression is clear today: partying and drinking. If someone says ‘Ik ga de bloemetjes buiten zetten vanavond’ ‘I’m going to put the flowers out tonight’, they express their intention to party and get drunk (or at least have a couple of drinks). We all know you guys are here to study, working hard for high grades and becoming new Einsteins and nutty professors.. Kidding! ESN is here for you, providing the best parties and
thus the best opportunities to get your flowers, out of that smelly 8m2 room and throw them on the street!

I think we’ve all put out our flowers last Friday at the ESN Introduction Party and last Tuesday at the Poema. And maybe it would be easier to leave the bloemetjes outside for a while, because we only got a taste from the awesome ESN parties, there’s more where that came from!


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