You can call Het Parool's formula 'glocal': news from Amsterdam and its surrounding world, especially for those curious and interested inhabitants of our city. The paper has different styles for every journalistic genre: and, where Dutch news is usually abrupt and in plain language, weallow ourselves more poetic freedom in our in-depth and PS/Lifestyle articles.
When you think of Amsterdam, you think of two things: Het Vertaalcollectief and… Het Parool! For the past few months, these “Mokum” language fanatics have joined forces to familiarise the many expats / foreign-language speakers in our capital with the latest news from Amsterdam. And no, it will emphatically not be another “amusing”, English-language “tourist brochure” with all the usual clichés (sex museum, weed and the Red Light District).
Editor Jesse Beentjes of Het Parool is happy to elaborate: “We live in a city that is becoming increasingly international. As a local newspaper, it is therefore necessary to make sure we are responsible for addressing as many people as we can throughout the diverse population of Amsterdam.” “That’s logical” as Johan Cruijff would say, but there wasn’t really anyone else providing this kind of information. ‘’Het Parool” fills this ‘news gap’ by publishing a number of English articles on their website every week (for the time being, totally free of charge!). And that’s where Het Vertaalcollectief comes in. Jesse: “I came across your name underneath an article once. I thought: ‘That sounds good, an Amsterdam translation agency.’
So this is the result: Het Vertaalcollectief is now proud to contribute to this mission. With articles about the how and why of prostitution being shut down in the Red-Light District, to an article about the best pancakes in town, the Parool website is increasingly filled with ‘real’, translated Amsterdam news. “We want to make sure the articles don’t just appeal to tourists. To feel at home in a city, you also need to know what’s going on. For example, we try to interpret news themes (‘What is King’s Day?’, ‘What about Sinterklaas and Black Pete?’), visualise what’s going on in Amsterdam and the world, and tell you where to go (the best dance parties during ADE, for example)”.
Secretly, Jesse would like to teach every expat Dutch. He thinks that our dear language deserves a little more appreciation. His mother, a poetry teacher, immersed him in the splendour of Dutch from an early age onwards. Jesse: “I really think Dutch is a beautiful language and I have a penchant for expressions and sayings. And especially the somewhat flat, dirty variations.” His favourite? “The vulgar version of ‘van de regen in de drup’: ‘pissebed heen, poepebed terug.’’’ (“from the rain in the drip”: “piss off, poop bed back.”) And his biggest linguistic irritation? “Unnecessary English language – and those superlative expressions!” (take constructions like: ‘most wonderful’ (meest geweldig) instead of ‘geweldigste’ – ‘wonderfullest’ (as it should be in Dutch).
His other great love, Amsterdam, Jesse has had immortalised in three tattooed St. Andreas’ (Andrew) crosses on his upper arm: “I do feel like an Amsterdammer. I don’t really believe in that distinction between being born and raised here or not.” Jesse has lived here for about eight years now (with a few intervals in Poland, where he studied, amongst other things, Polish) and feels totally at home at ’Het Parool’. “It’s like a small village in Gaul (red. Asterix), and I always have to laugh a little at the Amsterdam “swagger” that’s goes on here at the newspaper”. A good example of this brazen, secret Amsterdam megalomania? “A few years ago, Het Parool advertised on Times Square (NY) with a text along the lines of ‘Read everything about the city that used to own this city’.I really enjoyed that.”
Jesse sees some of this attitude in himself, but also confesses to having a soft spot for the underdog, the undervalued (Amsterdam) heroes; he prefers Johnny Jordaan to Andre Hazes (because: “Johnny was expelled from the Jordaan, wasn’t allowed to live there because of his sexual orientation”) and completely ignored Duncan Laurence, but continually listened to the Spanishentry for the Eurovision Song Contest . If he won the lottery, he would also love to buy a house in the Dapperbuurt; “The perfect mix of all cultures, including real Amsterdammers, and the Dappermarkt just around the corner”.
Would you like to see what the mutually beneficial Amsterdam cooperation between Het Vertaalcollectief and Het Parool has yielded so far? Check out this article on rents in the city, this one on the best new eateries on the streets, and this (Dutch) piece on feminism.
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