Het Kofschip or The history of the Koff

The t kofschip (Dutch pronunciation: [ət ˈkɔfsxɪp], the merchant-ship), t fokschaap (the breeding sheep) or (among foreign language learners) soft ketchup rule is a mnemonic that determines the endings of a regular Dutch verb in the past indicative/subjunctive and the ending of the past participle. This rule should not be confused with the so-called T-rules (t-regels).

The history of the Koff

A koff is a historical type of sailing vessel that was used for coastal shipping off Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries. A typical koff had one and a half masts with a gaff rigged main sail and spanker and one or two square sails in the main top. The hull was plump with a flat bottom and a heavily rounded, raised bow and stern. Smaller koffs could be equipped with leeboards. Due to the shallow draught, koffs were especially suited for inshore shipping in shallow waters.

The koff had been developed in the late 17th century in the Netherlands. Smaller than the fluyt, its rounded bow and stern provided however for more storage on board. This made it a popular type that saw increasing service.

Koffs were often counted among the galiots by contemporary sources because the differences are very subtle: the galiot was considered more slender and therefore more elegant. On the koff, a deckhouse could be installed between the two masts which would provide shelter for up to twelve crew men. The typical dimensions have been reported as “80 feet long, 21 feet wide and 11 feet deep”. Later versions could have a schooner or galeas rig.

Wat is een kofschip?

Als we het over een echt kofschip hebben, bedoelen we eigenlijk een kof. Een kofschip is een zeeschip met een brede achtersteven. Een kofschip gaat niet snel en is geschikt voor de oceaan.

Een kofschip was oorspronkelijk een zeilschip van ca. 12 meter lang voor kust- en binnenvaart. Het leek veel op een smak en had een ronde voor- en achtersteven, een platte bodem en zwaarden. Het schip voerde meestal twee masten. Na 1735 kwam er een versie voor dieper water, met een scherper voor- en achterschip, en zonder zwaarden. Dit type werd wel een schoenerkof genoemd.

Een typisch kenmerk van de kof is het geveegd onderwaterschip, iets wat direct terug te voeren is op de scheepstypes kogge en ewers. Ook had zij meer zeeg. Grote koffen, tot circa 28 meter, hadden een bezaansmast achter de roef. Zij werden hoofdzakelijk gebruikt voor de handel op landen rond de Oostzee en haalden daar onder andere graan, vis en hout. Deze lading werd verkocht tot in het zuiden van Frankrijk, en daar werd veelal wijn als retourvracht ingenomen. Er zijn ook overtochten bekend naar Noord-Amerika.

Het woord is bekend van het taalkundige ezelsbruggetje ‘t Kofschip.

Taking the integration exam

Practicing the integration exam
There are practice exams for the integration exam and for the Dutch as a Second Language state exam (NT2).

Practice exams for Integration exam
DUO has practice exams for Writing, Speaking, Listening, Reading and Knowledge of Dutch Society. These give you the chance to practice before the real exam. Click on one of the exams for the practice exam

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Dutch Holidays 2020 & 2021

Dutch holidays are regulated in collective agreements (CAO) and labour agreements so check your employer’s CAO or labour agreement to see what holidays are considered to be free days. If you work on a public holiday, you are (often) entitled to extra pay. Finally, as an employee, you are also entitled to holiday leave.

Types of Dutch holidays
Holidays in the Netherlands can be divided into three categories:

Dutch national holidays
There are two national holidays in the Netherlands: King’s Day (Koningsdag) and Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag).

Dutch public holidays
The commonly recognised public holidays in the Netherlands are the Dutch national holidays, New Year’s Day, and a few Christian holidays.

Other holidays in the Netherlands

Additionally, the Netherlands also has a number of holidays that are not legally recognised (e.g. Sinterklaas).
School holidays in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, there is a school-free period of six weeks in the summer (zomervakantie) and two in the winter (kerstvakantie). In addition, schools also schedule holidays in:

  • Spring (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)
  • May (meivakantie)
  • Autumn (herfstvakantie)

Find out more about the Dutch school holiday system.

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Nederland in de jaren 20 – A trip through the Netherlands in the 1920s

25 unbelievable Dutch laws that exist today

Which Dutch laws could land you in jail? Or, as Dutch tolerance goes, what crazy things can you get away with under Dutch law?

The Dutch may have a reputation for rules, agendas and acting ‘normal’, but Dutch laws have been some of the most ground-breaking, tolerant and flexible in the world. While other countries are starting to follow the examples of Dutch law, for example on soft drugs and gay marriage, they were quite an unbelievable advancement at the time, the most notable being when the Netherlands became the first country in the world to recognise gay marriage more than 15 years ago, in 2001.

Tolerant and intolerant Dutch laws
Below are some more interesting, funny, weird and unbelievable Dutch laws you should know when visiting or living in the Netherlands.

It is against Dutch law to urinate in a canal – but acceptable if you are pregnant.

It is illegal to smoke tobacco in all public places but not cannabis, which became a confusing matter when police fined a man for smoking a mixture of both in a coffeehouse, with the penalty laid down for the tobacco part.

It is illegal for more than three single people to share a house, an attempt to stop house sharing, which is also illegal.

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Open Culture: Learn 48 Languages Online for Free: Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, English & More

How to learn languages for free? This collection features lessons in 48 languages, including Dutch, Spanish, French, English, Mandarin, Italian, Russian and more. Download audio lessons to your computer or mp3 player and you’re good to go.

Open Culture: