Bedelaars (Of: Kun je wat geld missen?)

Beggars (Or: Can you spare some change?)

I must admit that the question “Kun je wat missen?” or”Kun je wat geld missen?” is any oddly formed question that manages to reverse itself to get across the objective – it basically translates to “Can you miss some money?” (geld = money), thus implying “Do you have enough gold that you can miss some without feeling the loss too much? If so, I’ll take it!”

Today was the first time that I was asked while walking alone (though it’s possible I’ve heard the question soon after moving here but wasn’t able to translate it). I was walking through a less than affluent neighborhood in The Hague when I spied someone stopping the person walking ahead of me. After they didn’t receive any help from that person, they decided to ask the question to me. Kun je wat geld missen?

I didn’t quite get it at first though I did hear “missen”, so I said “Huh?” (great language skills Niki!)  Then the guy asked “Heb je vijftien cents of zo?” – that was thankfully much easier to translate: Do you have 15 cents? I replied truthfully – Nee, ik heb geen geld bij me. (No, I have no money on me.) Why would I be silly enough to carry money when walking through a less than affluent neighborhood? Phone and keys, that’s all you need really!

The Hague did get enact a ban on begging of sorts, although it really just says you have to be a few feet away from the building and can’t stay in one spot too long.  I suspect it only for the city center, though.

Categories: Daily Dutch living | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Bedelaars (Of: Kun je wat geld missen?)

  1. jbebout

    I’m curious if it’s the same in the Netherlands as it is in Germany in regards to this topic? Shortly after arriving here I was informed that people who live on the streets in Germany don’t have to actually, they can receive help. The German government will give you money to get an apartment, help you find a job, etc. Many of those on the streets are however troubled with addictions and therefore opt for this lifestyle. I never know when I walk down the street and am approached by someone if they would actually put the money I would donate to them to good use or if I would be simply fueling an addiction. Do you know if the social system in the Netherlands is similar and attempts to help all who need assistance?

    • I don’t feel educated enough to answer your question, but I did find the official page that The Hague has for homelessness (in Dutch, but Google translate should help):

      There are some shelters and places where you can go for information. There’s even emergency housing for 6 months (provided you have an some level of income). I suspect some of the people seen on streets are also illegal and don’t want the government to know that they are there.

      Sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve been busy with the wedding and it looks like this comment slipped right on past. 🙂

      • Josh

        Oh okay, I will have to check into that page, thank you for the information. I find it so interesting to learn about other countries and their systems. That thought crossed my mind about illegal people being in the country too – that could very well be the case for some of them.

        No worries about replying, it sounds like you have a lot going on 🙂 Have a great day and good luck with the wedding!

        • Thanks! Currently studying for the class tonight, though its the first class so I am just studying random things. :p

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