Playing open cards, an apple for the thirst, reading someone the lesson. There are many strange expressions in Dutch, according to our colleague Arash. That is why he has chosen a number of special expressions to explain especially for you on a tile. Have you ever heard any of these?


This expression I found to be very bizarre. Having hair on your teeth. I don't think that is a very nice idea. And that's right too. When people think that you have hair on your teeth, they believe that you are being too harsh and too direct in a discussion or conversation. Therefore it is not a compliment.


Usually you do not eat an apple when you are thirsty. So what do the Dutch mean when they say 'An apple for the thirst'? It means that you save enough money to have to get by when times get rough. So save!


'He has a heart of stone' I heard this sentence a few weeks ago on the radio an looked it up. It means that someone pays little attention


Someone who you do not know very well, but directly asks for your telephone number because they would like to go out with you, is 'Not letting any grass grow over it' according to the Dutch. That means that someone goes into action right away, because they really want something. Maybe a bit too much!


On a rainy night in the AZC (Asylum Seekers Center) I had a visit from Annemiek and Mieke who were giving me Dutch lessons. When they went home and it was still raining, I asked Mieke if she was really going with the bicycle. "Of course, we are not made of sugar". I asked her what she meant by that. "That despite the bad weather, you still just go outside."


Reading someone the lesson means that you are being corrected or told what to do. Often used in situations when you have done something wrong. The person who is reading you the lesson, is telling you what and how you should do something. That sounds fine, but there is little room for any feedback from your side. Therefore it's not really a nice lesson. 


Recently when I phoned a friend in the evening, she said: 'I am going to crawl under the wool'. I thought, maybe she is going to lay under a wool blanket, but she meant that she was going to bed. Learned something new again!


Promising someone golden mountains. Many newcomers will recognize this expression. Promising someone golden mountains. That you will quickly get a passport when you are in the Netherlands, or that you will be able to earn a lot of money with your current diploma. If this is not true, then you can say: 'He promised me mountains of gold, but it was not true.'


If you are a huge fan of say Robin van Persie for instance and you read and watch everything about him, then you are following him 'on the foot'.


Sitting on roses, that sounds rather painful to me, but quite the opposite is true. People especially use this expression in the Netherlands when things are going well. You've earned enough money, you are happy with your husband or wife and you can go on a vacation. You don't have to worry about anything. You are sitting on roses! 


 Someone said to me: "Just play with open cards'. We weren't playing a game were we? With this sentence he meant: just say how things are, tell the truth. You don't have to do this but if someone asks you to play open cards, then they don't want to hear any lies, or make up any excuses.