Top 10 best Dutch April Fools’ jokes in history
We all love a laugh. And April 1 - or April Fool’s Day (1 aprilgrap in Dutch) - offers a great opportunity to have a bit of fun and prank your friends and family. But it isn’t only members of the general public who enjoy acting like a bit of a clown on April Fool’s Day; there have been plenty of organisations, media groups, and companies in the Netherlands that, over the years, have pulled off some pretty impressive pranks.
This April 1, we take a look at 10 of the funniest Dutch April Fools’ jokes throughout the years.
Funniest April Fools' Day jokes in the Netherlands
If you're tired of the same old jokes used time and time again every April 1, then maybe some of these more elaborate and creative pranks will be able to provide budding comedians with some inspiration for this year.
1. Iconic Tower of Pisa finally falls over
Generally, people trust national news outlets to tell the truth - but even major companies like the BBC and, yes, NOS, like to have a little bit of fun on April 1. Back in 1960, when the NOS Journaal was only a few years old, the news team reported that the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa was no more, and that after hundreds of years, it had finally toppled over.
Readers were understandably shocked by this upsetting news: who knew that this attraction would eventually collapse under the stress of its tilting structure? Luckily, it was all fun and games, and the tower is still standing today!
2. DNA tech allows for cows to be used for advertising
An April Fool's joke like this one could only be Dutch. In 2003, Axis Media Partners - a design agency in Enschede - presented a ground-breaking new advertising opportunity: new DNA developments would allow them to manipulate the spots of cows so well that their hides could sport almost any logo or text.
Luckily for the cows (but unluckily for advertisers?), this technology was just a joke.
3. Amsterdam's new road tax for cyclists
Obviously, the Netherlands is known as a haven for cyclists. Considering that biking is a healthy, easy and cheap mode of transport, it's unsurprising that so many prefer to hop on a bike rather than in a car or on public transport. In 2004 though, that option became threatened, as a news site based in Amsterdam reported that the municipality was set to introduce a new tax, specially for cyclists!
The news of a cyclist road tax, similar to the road tax paid by drivers, sparked outrage in the Dutch capital, but it turned out to be just a prank.
4. Dutch Prime Minister secures role in Harry Potter films
Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.
Back before Mark Rutte became Prime Minister, the Netherlands was run by Jan Peter Balkenende, who served as Prime Minister from 2002 and 2010. During this time, the NOS Jeugdjournaal - the news platform run by NOS to provide children with access to relevant and important news stories - reported something rather spectacular: the Dutch Prime Minister was going to star in the upcoming Harry Potter films!
According to the Jeugdjournaal, Balkenende had been cast as Harry's father. While it definitely would've been great to have a Dutch person star in one of the biggest franchises of all time, sadly the news wasn't true. Instead, the Jeugdjournaal had merely been inspired by Balkenende's bespectacled countenance, which had been compared to that of the beloved teen wizard.
This isn't the only April Fool's joke made by the Jeugdjournaal: in 1983, the platform reported that the government was introducing a new tax on pocket money.
5. Tony’s Chocolonely launches new weed chocolate bar
This is yet another joke that really only could've been pulled off by a Dutch company. In 2016, Tony’s Chocolonely announced the launch of a brand new chocolate bar: the Space Bar. As the name might suggest, this was a chocolate bar with a Dutch twist; it consisted of milk chocolate and crumbled-up marijuana!
To keep in line with the company's sustainability principles, the ganja would of course be purely biological, and locally grown. While this might have been a great idea - the Space Bar would certainly have taken off - that's all it was: an idea. Sadly, the Space Bar would not ever reach the shelves of supermarkets.
6. Google's new self-driving bicycle
Over the years, Google Nederland has come up with some pretty elaborate and impressively convincing April Fools' pranks. There was Google Wind in 2017, and Google Tulip in 2019, but the most famous of all the Google jokes has got to be the company's fake self-driving bicycle.
7. Remote-activated coffee machine for commuters
Have you ever been out and about and resisted the urge to spend money on an overpriced to-go coffee from a cafe, reminding yourself that you can make coffee at home? If so, wouldn't it be absolutely amazing if, on your way back to your house or apartment, you could switch on your coffee machine remotely via the internet, so that there was a hot cup o'Joe waiting for you when you walked through the door?
Well, that's exactly what XS4ALL thought back in 2004, when the internet provider published a step-by-step guide on their website, explaining how to connect a Senseo coffee machine to the internet. Dubbed Senseo Speed, the function would allow people to arrive home and instruct the machine online to have a hot cup of coffee waiting for them - although coffee fans were warned that a slow connection would affect the flavour.
8. Announcing Dui-Fi: The Dutch WiFi on the go
Staying on the technical theme, in 2019 several Dutch companies teamed up to launch Dui-Fi: a project that saw the release of 88.000 pigeons kitted out with micro WiFi backpacks. The title was a play on words - the Dutch word for pigeon is duif - and the project was designed as a way to ensure everyone had access to a high-speed internet connection, regardless of where they were in the Netherlands.
9. Track-and-trace chips for your children
Anyone with kids knows how difficult it can be to keep track of their whereabouts, especially when out and about. Luckily for stressed parents, a few years ago Media Markt announced an ingenious technical solution to this everyday problem: track-and-trace chips for children.
Back in 2016, the electronics shop added a new product to its online store. Called the PROTECTY RFID S4 Easy Chipper, the "Tag & Trace system" would allow you to insert a microchip under your child’s skin (virtually painless), through which you would always be able to locate your child with a special app. And it doesn't just work on human kids: it would be ideal to keep track of pesky pets too!
Some fake customer reviews on the company's website included comments like "I used to lose my child at least once a week, forcing me to keep him locked up in the basement. This fantastic product saves me the trouble, but I do recommend administering some sleeping pills before inserting the chip, as it can be painful." Sound a little dystopian? Yeah, probably. Luckily for the little ones, it was all just one big joke.
10. Easter Island statue washes up on shore of Zandvoort
The massive Easter Island statues are recognised around the world, so you can imagine people's surprise when, back in 1962, the Dutch public broadcasting company NCRV reported that one of those statues had washed up on the shore of a Dutch beach. The Dutch artist Edo van Tetterode was in on the joke; he built the 1,5-metre tall statue, and posed as an expert from Scandinavia in interviews with NCRV.
Have a laugh this April Fool's Day
While some of the above pranks were genius, others were admittedly a touch ridiculous. Either way, they were all certainly in the spirit of April Fool's Day, and managed to successfully fool a couple of people.
Have we missed any of your favourites off the list? Be sure to share them in the comments below so we can all have a laugh this April Fool's Day!