Old folk at lunch

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Tweede Kamer



For the whole of my adult life I have had Dutch people around me in some way and without exception I have thought highly of them. A Dutchman once told me that I would make a good Dutchman and I regarded that as a high compliment

But I must admit that for no good reason I find the name of the Dutch parliament amusing. "Tweede Kamer" sounds like "the tweedy chamber". "Tweedy" is most often used in a derisory way in English (with apologies to the good people of Harris and Lewis).

But it is of course just a routine example of low German: "Zweite Kammer " (second chamber) would be the Hoch Deutsch version of it

It just means the "lower house" of the Dutch parliament. And bicameral parliaments are after all common in the Anglosphere too (though we don't have one in Queensland, where I happily reside)

We hardly ever hear anything about the "Eerste Kamerlid" (the Dutch Senate or "first chamber") and I don't know enough Dutch to read easily what information about it that is available online. I gather, however, that a member of that august body is called a "volksvertegenwoordiger", which would blow anybody's mind. I think it means something like "Worthy people's representative".

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