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Start of the Maak dat de kat wijs! (Pull the other one!) public survey into contemporary Dutch expressions

The hip-hop band De Likt introduces a new expression
26 September 2019

As part of Science Weekend, the hip-hop band De Likt is introducing a new expression into the Dutch language – Dat zou de kapsalon nog niet halen (That’s a real dog’s breakfast). The band members use this phrase to express their feelings about the quality of a topic of conversation. The Rotterdam group wants their ‘home-made’ expression to be included in the official Van Dale dictionary of idiomatic phrases and sayings. De Likt is also calling on everyone to do their bit for academic research by participating in the University of Groningen’s Maak dat de kat wijs! national public survey, which is part of Science Weekend. The survey is designed to explore people’s knowledge and use of Dutch expressions. It is the brainchild of Simone Sprenger and Jacolien van Rij-Tange, two researchers working at the University of Groningen.

Simone en Jacolien

The members of De Likt are official Science Weekend ambassadors, together with science journalist Anna Gimbrère, presenter Nathan de Vries, and University of Groningen scientists Dr Simone Sprenger and Dr Jacolien van Rij-Tange. Band members Giorgi Kuiper, John van Beek and Jordy Dijkshoorn work with language every day when creating their music. So they want to know which contemporary Dutch expressions are in common use, and why these have not been officially included in Van Dale’s dictionary, which still features old-fashioned expressions such as Maak dat de kat wijs!. De Likt will be launching an investigation into the steps involved in this process, and finding out exactly who decides whether or not an expression is granted official status. They are calling on everyone to submit expressions to the national public survey via

Maak dat de kat wijs! public survey into the use of Dutch expressions

The Dutch language is full of expressions such as de aap komt uit de mouw (the cat is out of the bag) and uit de kast komen (coming out of the closet), but people differ in terms of the range of expressions they routinely use and understand. Which expressions are downright old-fashioned and which ones do we unconsciously use on a daily basis? And which expressions do children know? The Science Weekend, starting on Friday 4 October, will feature the launch of the University of Groningen’s Maak dat de kat wijs! national public survey into people’s knowledge and understanding of contemporary Dutch expressions. Surveys of this kind are launched every year, to coincide with Science Weekend. Never before has such a large-scale survey been conducted into Dutch expressions. Everyone in the Netherlands has a chance to join in and make a contribution to science. The study pinpoints a range of factors, such as age-related and regional differences. It will also explore the influence of social media – hashtags, for example – and the part played by education.

'Dat zou de kapsalon nog niet halen' in the Van Dale dictionary

As Science Weekend ambassadors, De Likt have been given the mission of getting official recognition for their new expression 'Dat zou de kapsalon nog niet halen'. Jordy Dijkshoorn: ‘The Dutch snack known as a kapsalon is not usually associated with high-quality ingredients. So, if the expression Dat zou de kapsalon nog niet halen is used to describe the quality of a topic of conversation, it is not exactly flattering. Many officially recognized expressions are as old as the hills, and downright old-fashioned. It would be great if we could take stock of commonly used contemporary expressions, and get official recognition for our own one about the kapsalon.’ ‘That’s why we think it’s vital to call on everyone in the Netherlands to take part in the Maak dat de kat wijs! public survey’, adds band member Giorgi Kuiper.

A look behind the scenes at more than 350 participating organizations

During Science Weekend, on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October, all participating organizations will be opening the doors of places that are normally not accessible to the public, to display the latest developments. During the weekend, the first Lightyear (an electric car that charges itself up using built-in solar panels) will be on display.

Greenchoice will be inviting people to ascend a wind turbine, to discover how wind energy is generated at such giddy heights. The Radboudumc university medical centre will be displaying the latest developments in operating theatre technology. You can also visit Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, which was recently voted European Museum of 2019. There, you can find out what people in bygone days thought about the science of the future. The organizations taking part include Larsen & Buhl (which supply rocket parts and much more besides), the University of Groningen, Dairy Campus (dairy sector), Dow Benelux (chemicals), Mijnwater, Waternet, Yalp (sports & playground equipment), Utrecht University, CAMRAS (radio telescope), and the Ministry of Defence.

Here you can find a list of all the participating organizations.

Science Weekend is staged by NEMO, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and with support from Europa om de Hoek.

Last modified:20 October 2022 11.53 a.m.
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