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.