7 proverbs you should know when you go to…

… the Flemish/Dutch speaking part of Belgium!!!



  1. Een vogel voor de kat
    Literally translated: A bird for the cat
    Meaning: It is an easy prey.
    This expression can be used when you are sure that something will definitively happen. When you predict something.
    When can you use it: For example, a guy want’s to hit on a girl and you are sure that she will fall for him. So she will be the bird and the guy is the cat.
  2. Mijzelf in een karreke zuipen
    (This one is really important to know if you want to party)

    Literally translated: Drinking myself into a cart
    Meaning: I’m going to get really drunk
    When can you use it: you can use this expression every time you go out and you know that you will get drunk.
    this proverb is only used in Belgium but if you use it in the Netherlands people will understand what you mean.
  3. Ga je gang
    Literally translated: Go your corridor
    Meaning: do it just as you want to do it.
    When can you use it: it means “go ahead, do what you want”. When a friend comes to your house and want some tea, you can show the kitchen saying “go your corridor” so it means “do it your way” “ do it as you please”.
    This proverb is used also in the Netherlands.
  4. Ik ben bob
    Literally translated: I’m bob
    Meaning: I am the sober driver tonight.
    When to use it: when you go to a party and you don’t order alcohol and someone looks at you as you were an alien you can say “I’m bob tonight” and you will be forgiven for not drinking alcohol.this is not really a proverb, but it is a typical Belgian thing to say. The origins of this is a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of drink-driving. The BOB campaign impacted Belgium so much that they actually started to call the designated driver of the night BOB.
  5. Je moet niet alles over dezelfde kam scheren
    Literally translated: You don’t have to shave everything over the same brush Meaning: you can’t generalize on something.
    When to you use it: when someone is judging a group of people or different situations the same way.
    You can use this also in the Netherlands. It has the same meaning but they say “Je moet niet alles over één kam scheren
  6. ‘tis één pot nat
    Literally translated: It’s all one pot wet ( liquid)
    Meaning: The meaning is that it is all the same dirt. It all comes from the same pot.
    When to use it: You can use it in a situation when someone is comparing opponents and concludes that they are actually all the same (not in a positive sense). For example, you have a political discussion, comparing the views of one political party with another. And then someone in the discussion says; these politicians are there only for themselves.
    this proverb is also used in the Netherlands, but they say :“Het is één pot nat”.

  7. Haal geen oude koeien uit de sloot
    Literally translated: Don’t take the old cows out of the ditch
    Meaning: don’t’ dig out in a discussion old facts that happened in the past. Leave the past behind, don’t bring it up again.
    When to use it: sometimes it happens that you start arguing with someone and the discussion builds up and becomes a fight. If the person starts bringing up old stories … for example: she or he would say” yes, but last year you did …” you can answer saying “don’t take old cows out of the ditch ”, don’t bring it up again.(This proverb is also used in the Netherelands).

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