We’ve heard of the mooiste Dutch words, like lekker, gezellig, and more, but what about the most annoying? The Dutch Language Institute (Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal) held a public vote in the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium — and the results are in!
The Most Annoying Word of 2017
Far and away, the most annoying Dutch word turns out to be genderneutraal with a whopping 43% of the vote. This is fascinating and slightly puzzling at the same time.
First, within the past four months alone, two big gender-concerning policy changes in the world happened. In October, California announced “a third gender” as an option on identification documents, such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses: non-binary. This won’t take effect for another couple years though. As it turns out, California, and its well-known rainbowed liberal bastion of San Francisco was not actually the first state to do this; Oregon voted to offer “X” as a gender option in June 2017, followed by D.C., the U.S. capitol. In Canada, the option to select “X” as gender is already possible as of the end of August 2017.
Second, if the outcome of a vote like this happened in the U.S., there would be vocal and rainbow-colored outrage about the results. Some would say that the discussion of gender is incredibly complex, arguably encompassing not just two but 63 genders. But this vote was in the Netherlands, and the Dutch are nothing if not direct in expressing their opinions — and apparently 43% of voters in this poll said no to this word. Comments included disagreement that more than two genders exist, a lack of seeing a need to name all the genders, and excessive political correctness or hype.
Given current events, and a country often hailed for its forward-thinking policies on touchy subjects (consider Dutch policy on prostitution, marijuana, and euthanasia), I have to disagree with the reasoning offered from the poll for why the word genderneutraal was voted as the #1 most annoying word of 2017. If anything, current events would indicate the conversation at a policy level is only at its beginning. And there’s definitely a lot more to come.
So what do you think about this year’s Most Annoying Dutch Word and the rest of the Top 10?
The Most Annoying Words of past years