Invader Stu: The greatest mystery of all

Life is full of mysteries. Who are we? Why are we here? Did I leave the oven on?

Great big mysteries that are difficult to solve and keep a lot of very intelligent people busy...

However, there is a mystery that is:
 bigger than any mystery ever pondered!
 larger than any question ever asked!
 more infinite than any puzzle ever puzzled!

Many people have attempted to solve this mystery and been driven insane by it.

The correct usage of De & Het

It simply cannot and will not be solved: What is the correct usage of de and het in the Dutch language?

The true meaning of life will be solved long before anyone even comes close to solving this unsolvable mystery.

It's not worth the risk!

Please! Do not try to answer this question yourself. Even if you believe that you know the answer. Simply pondering this question for even a moment can put your mental health at serious risk.

Thinking about if for just one second puts your sanity in danger. If you are an expat trying to learn the language it is far safer to just get it wrong and refer to things as de huis or het man (for example).

It simply is not worth risking trying to get it right. I cannot stress this enough.

Do the Dutch know the answer?

Dutch people especially might think they can answer this mystery.

They are Dutch after all and being Dutch is a pretty good qualification to have on the subject of being and speaking Dutch.

However, no matter how much they think they know the answer, the truth is that they do not.

This becomes very evident the moment they make the mistake of trying to explain the answer.

It's very simple. Or not?

At first it is all very simple. De is used for masculine and feminine words, where as Het is used for neutral words. That’s it. How hard can it be?

But then they remember that one occasion where the rule does not work... and then that other one where it does not apply... and another where it is invalid... and that strange one where the rule is flipped... and sometimes reversed... or occasionally upside down... or when a entirely different rule is used based on the position of the moon!

Suddenly they realise they cannot explain it. It was foolish of them even to attempt to do so, and it is probably best that they stop before the headache (that they don’t remember having a few moments ago) gets any worse.

The explanation

It is at this point that there is only one explanation which they can give, wise words that have been handed down from generation to generation of Dutchman when dealing with outsiders trying to learn the language: "You just have to know it."

It is a mystery that can never be solved without being born Dutch. And even then, trying to truly understand or explain it ends in madness.

Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.

Stuart B


Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but finds stampot lekker.

Read more



Leave a comment