What you should know about the phrase: ‘It giet oan!’

First of all, we want to mention that it giet oan sounds weird for Dutch people as well. To explain, it giet oan is a Frisian phrase which you can translate as ‘it’s happening!’. So, what is happening and why do all Dutch people say it in Frisian? And what is Frisian?

The Netherlands is divided into 12 Provinces, among which is Friesland. This province is in the north of the Netherlands, next to the province Groningen. Most of our provinces have their own accents, but the Frisians have their own official language called Frisian, or as we say in Dutch, Fries. No, not French Fries, Dutch Fries. The pronunciation is close to freeze, which is a funny coincidence. Why are you asking? Keep on reading and find out!

It’s happening!
Okay, so what is happening in Friesland? Well, Dutch people love ice skating and Friesland happens to have a lot of ditches passing different cities. It giet on revers to an event called Elfstedentocht which means ‘eleven cities ride’. When the ditches turn into ice you can go ice skating while passing eleven Frisian cities. The ride is close to 200 kilometers!

Is it happening?
Every winter we get excited again. And every winter since 1997 we have been disappointed. Yes, there has not been an Elfstedentocht for 23 years already. As the event is turning into a myth the excitement remains alive. In the meantime, some of us have found different ways to make it happen. In June 2019 Maarten van der Weijden finished the ride by swimming through the ditches. He collected 3.9 million euros for cancer research. Very impressive!

Want to expand your vocabulary? Then this is for you:                                                                  

Schaatsen  Ice skating
It giet oan (Frisian, ‘Het gaat door’ in Dutch)It’s happening
ElfstedentochtEleven cities ride