Try Dutch

It is a night / Het is een nacht

What does Dutch sound like?

You are going to listen to the first verse and the chorus of a pop song. The title of the song is “It is a night”, “Het is een nacht” in Dutch. It is a ballad that is very popular in The Netherlands and in Flanders. Listen for the rhythm of the language but also try to listen for the odd word you may recognise. You can listen as often as you like.

>Click play to listen to the song

Some Dutch words are very similar to English. Have you picked up any words by their sound?

What are they talking about?

Read through the lyrics of the first verse and the chorus of “Het is een nacht".

>Je vraagt of >ik zin heb in een sigaret,
't is >twee uur 's nachts, we >liggen op bed.
In een hotel in een >stad waar niemand ons hoort,
waar niemand ons >kent en niemand ons >stoort.
Op de >vloer ligt een lege fles wijn
en >kledingstukken die van jou of mij kunnen zijn.
Een >schemering, de radio >zacht en deze nacht >heeft alles,
wat ik van een nacht verwacht

Het is een nacht, >die je normaal alleen in films ziet
Het is een nacht, >die wordt bezongen in het mooiste lied
Het is een nacht >waarvan ik dacht dat ik hem nooit beleven zou
maar vannacht beleef ik hem met jou.

Now listen to the song again and read the lyrics at the same time.

>Click play to listen to the song

Did you pick up any more words now? Go back to the lyrics and check for the meaning of words and phrases you didn’t recognise by clicking on them.

Try to answer the following questions - please write down your answers.

Who are the characters in the song?

  • a “you” and an “I”
  • a “he” and a “she”
  • a “them” and an “us”

What time is it?

  • twelve midnight
  • two a.m.
  • eleven at night

Where are the people in the song?

  • sitting on a sofa in a hotel room
  • lying on a bed in a hotel room
  • smoking a cigarette on a bench in the park

What have they been drinking?

  • beer
  • fruit juice
  • wine

What is the night being compared to?

  • to a drunken night
  • to a night as in a movie
  • to a night in paradise

You may have found that you know quite a bit of the words and get the gist of the song. Now to conclude, can you answer the following questions?

  1. What kind of relationship do the characters have? What makes you think so? >check your answer
  2. Why are they in a hotel? >check your answer
  3. Have they known each other for a long time? >check your answer
  4. How would you describe the atmosphere in the song? >check your answer

>If you would like to read the translation of the song, click here.