In the exhibition 80 Years’ War, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam looks back at the Revolt that led to the division of the Netherlands. At the request of deBuren, eighteen young Flemish and Dutch authors each bring an artefact from the exhibition back to life. Over the next few weeks you can read several of their stories in translation for the first time. Today ANKE VERSCHUEREN reflects on the Peace Treaty of Münster that marked the end of the 80 Years’ War.
Box for the Peace Treaty of Münster, 1648, with the peace treaty itself. Ratification of the Peace Treaty between the Netherlands and Spain, Nationaal Archief/Staten Generaal, public domain.
WHEN WEAPONS BECAME WORDS
For I am proud that we have two different words for ‘beautiful’ and two words for ‘nice’. That there are two words for ‘cup’ and for ‘sofa’. That on spring days there are two words for ‘dresses’, one of which can also be used to cover the floor. That there are two words for ‘oranges’ and ‘onions’. And ‘grapefruit’ may be ‘pompelmoes’. That you can use a PIN with your banker’s card and purchase things contactless with your PIN card. That all of you run (or should it be go?) around, with cell phones, smartphones and mobiles clamped to your ears. And with cases on wheels or are they ‘valiezen’. That ‘wisdom teeth’ can be translated in two different ways. That there are two different ways of saying ‘erase’. Two ways of saying ‘damn’. That between ‘in the morning’, ‘in the afternoon’ and ‘in the evening’ there are words for ‘before and after midday’. That junket and flat cheese and pudding and ‘vla’ don’t go in the microwave. Or in the ‘magnetron’, please, s.v.p. That there is more than one term for still and fizzy water. That there are two different ways of saying ‘I love you’. That ‘spijkerbroeken’ look like jeans but ‘duimspijkers’ like drawing pins. That there are umpteen ways of ordering a beer. Which only tastes right with chips and stew and curry sausages and hotdogs. That this is followed by the ‘washing up’, with dishcloths or tea towels. Everything must be cleaned/tidied. Scrubbed. With abrasives. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Sound and safe and safe and sound, that is general knowledge.
Anke Verschueren © Marianne Hommersom
Anke Verschueren (1994) takes her great love, language, with her everywhere. From paper to platform to podcast. She has a Master’s degree in Dutch and is now studying Creative Writing at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. She came third in the txt-on-stage competition Naft voor Woord 2017. In her spare time she adapts Medieval Dutch literature as audio stories, does voiceovers for commercials and sings.