4th of May - Dodenherdenking

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4th of May - Dodenherdenking

Postby Stawrberry » 2011-05-05, 0:14

As you may (or may not) know, on the 4th of May the Dutch commemorate all the soldiers and civilians who have died in wars, such as World War II. This commemoration is called Dodenherdenking, ''Remembrance of the Dead'' and ceremonies are held throughout the country. At 8 o'clock sharp, two minutes of silence are observed in the whole country. In light of this commemoration, poetry contests are held for 15 to 19 year-olds and the winner gets to recite his/her poem during the ceremony in Amsterdam, broadcast on national television.

I thought it would be nice to share some winning poems here. These poems are written by children/young-adults and therefore contain simpler language than adult poetry. Besides practising your Dutch, it's also a good way to learn more about this important culture point from the Netherlands. :)


Stilte (Silence)

Stilte, door brood dat niet meer breekt. (Silence, because of bread that doesn't break anymore.)
Stilte, door huizen die niet meer kraken.(Silence, because of houses that don't creak anymore.)
Stilte, doordat woorden het niet kunnen omschrijven. (Silence, because words can't describe it.)

Niemand praat. (Nobody talks.)
Ik zwijg. (I keep silent.)
Een stilte voor onbekende gezichten. (A silence for unknown faces.)
Gezichten die zo anders zijn, (Faces that are so different,)
maar toch op elkaar lijken. (and yet resemble each other.)

De stilte fluistert. (The silence whispers.)
Weinig durven te luisteren, (Few dare to listen,)
naar wat het probeert te vertellen. (to what it tries to say.)

Niemand praat, (Nobody talks,)
Ik zwijg, (I keep silent,)
maar zou willen schreeuwen. (but I'd like to scream)
Terwijl wij, met z’n allen, (As we, all together,)
de stilte gedenken. (commemorate the silence.)

Gevangen (Trapped)

Als de dag van gisteren (As if it were yesterday)
Zie je morgen (you'll see tomorrow)
Het warme bloed (The warm blood)
De koude levens (The cold lives)
De grote tranen (The big tears)
Als klein en stil verdriet (Like small and silent grief)

Ver in jou weggestopt (Far locked away in you)
Valt de regen elke dag (that's how the rain comes down every day)

Je bent nog steeds (You are still)
Gevangen (trapped)
In het web van gedachten (In the web of thoughts)
In de zee van herinneringen (In the sea of memories)
In het verleden (In the past)

Ben je nooit echt vrijgelaten (You were never really released)

Opgesloten (Locked up)

Tussen donkere muren (Between dark walls)
Hoewel ik het licht kan zien (Although I can see the light)
En de bomen waar ik vroeger in klom (and the trees I used to climb in)

Ik voel het koude staal (I feel the cold steel)
Nog steeds – misschien wel voor altijd (Still - maybe even forever)
Tussen mijn vingers (Between my fingers)

Dromen – kapot geschoten (Dreams - shot apart)
Hoop – vervlogen (Hope - flown away)
De dingen die ik zie (The things that I see)

Sneeuw smelt (Snow melts)
Donker wordt weer licht (Dark becomes light again)
Een kaars gaat aan (A candle is kindled)
En alles lijkt voorbij (And everything seems over)

Maar mijn handen worden nooit meer warm (But my hands will never be warm again)

Een strijd om vrijheid (A battle for freedom)

Als een vlinder (Like a butterfly)
In de storm (In the storm)
Vocht hij mee (he fought along)
In de strijd (in the battle)

Een lange strijd (A long battle)
In de diepte (In the depths)
Zonder uitgang (Without an escape)
Zonder hoop (Without hope)

Zo mooi, kwetsbaar en dapper (So beautiful, vulnerable and brave)
Zonder twijfel, zonder angst (Without doubts, without fear)
Soldaten stierven (Soldiers died)
En de vlinders waren weg (And the butterflies were gone)

Een tijd van wanhoop (A time of despair)
Ging voorbij (Went over)
De storm ging liggen (The storm came to an end)
Ons land was gered (Our country was saved)

Soldaten als helden (Soldiers as heroes)
Reden door de straten (Rode through the streets)
Verwelkomd en toegejuicht (Welcomed and cheered to)
Kwamen ze thuis (That's how they came home)

De strijd om vrijheid (The battle from freedom)
Is voorbij (Is over)
Mijn held (My hero)
Is nu een vlinder (Is a butterfly now)

More poems can be found here: http://www.4en5mei.nl/herdenken/herdenk ... /gedichten


I know these translations aren't perfect, but I think they convey the message. I know it's a heavy and sad subject, but fortunately Dodenherdenking is followed on the 5th of May by Bevrijdingsdag, ''Liberation Day''. This is a very happy day and full of nice activities throughout the country. :)

Fijne Bevrijdingsdag!

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Re: 4th of May - Dodenherdenking

Postby Language Freakette » 2011-07-12, 0:28

Those are very nice poems! Thank you for sharing, I didn't know about Dodenherdenking. :)

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Re: 4th of May - Dodenherdenking

Postby linguaholic » 2011-07-12, 5:56

I was travelling in May, so I only see this now, thanks for posting. It is indeed an interesting bit of cultural information, and I like the first poem.
I really like (well, as long as you can "like" something like that) the tradition of Remembrance Day and silence being followed by Liberation day and free festivals all over the country. The whole country being still for two minutes means so much more than all the talking and laying down flowers any politician can do.
This year, I was travelling in Switzerland with a Dutch group and even abroad nobody forgot about the silence. I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but especially as I am German it means a lot to me to join this tradition. Heck, I'd like the whole world to be silent for two minutes at the same time. Maybe it would make people more aware...
native: Deutsch / advanced: English, Nederlands / intermediate: Esperanto / forgotten: Français / fighting my way through: עברית מקראית / dreaming of: Čeština, עברית / admiring from a safe distance: فارسی

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Re: 4th of May - Dodenherdenking

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2011-07-12, 7:26

Personally I really dislike all of these poems, but I know they don't have the function to be appreciated in a poetic way, their function is something different: to illustrate the Remembrance Day. I don't have much with this day, but I always try to be silent the two minutes. When year when I have forgotten and I felt really guilty...

I don't like Liberation Day at all, there is always a festival in the park where I live, so there's a lot of noise and a lot of people, ruining the park, grrr.

Where I grew up, the liberation was mostly celebrated in September, because we were liberated in September. Of course, we also had the fourth and fifth of May, but most activities are in September, like 'lichtjesroute'. The whole city (Eindhoven, city of Philips :wink: ) is covered with lightbulbs, as in: there is route cars and bikes can follow and on this route lightbulbs are forming things like animals, soldiers, flowers... It's very nice :)
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Learns: Indonesian and baby signs
Knows also (a bit): English, German, Turkish, French, Danish

Corrections appreciated.

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