The Netherlands has countless cities and villages, each with its unique atmosphere. While some towns have gained fame due to their attractions, others are loved for their hilarious names.
After looking at the map of the Netherlands, some places may have you thinking they’re fake (yes, we’re talking about you, De Hulk). But we assure you that these towns are real.
The Stink Corner (Stinkhoek)
You’ll find this hamlet in the North Brabant province of the Netherlands. Its name has now been changed to Rijkerbeek for “unknown reasons”, but we have a good guess as to why they made that decision.
The older generation of today’s Rijkerbeek remembers the olden days of the stink corner when it was still known for its stench.
Women’s Grief (Vrouwenverdriet)
This hamlet’s name originates from an inn that stood there around 1630. This was supposedly where the diggers of the Nauernasche Vaart canal drowned their wages at the inn’s bar.
Of course, this made the workers’ partners so sad that the entire village came to be known for their feelings of despair. At least, that’s our take on the situation.
This Dutch province is located in Limburg and reminds us of that one kid we all had in our high school that wanted to be known as ‘the weirdo’ to distinguish themselves from everyone else.
The origin of the name probably derives from ‘rade’, which means ‘cultivation’ or ‘open place’, as the area used to host many farmers and agriculturists.
The Netherlands is no stranger to farming culture. Maybe the province really is the high school weirdo. After all, it’s so close to the Southern border — and who knows what goes on there?
Hell Mouth (Helmond)
This municipality in the Netherlands doesn’t sound like much to the non-Dutch speaker, but it literally means ‘mouth of hell’ in Dutch. Imagine putting that on your postcard!
The name ‘Helmond’ can be traced back to a combination of Hel, which means ‘low-lying’, and Mond, which refers to a higher, more secure place.
The name has nothing to do with today’s literal translation of ‘Hell Mouth’, but we like to think a fiery beast used to haunt the village a hundred years ago.
What could we possibly say about Leiden? You may ask. Well, you should probably know that it technically means suffering in German, which doesn’t sound all that inviting…
However, Leiden is a gorgeous student city with countless bridges and historical buildings. We want to point out that plenty of German students come to study here despite the name.
It’s also home to the DutchReview headquarters, so maybe you can forgive us for being a bit biased here.
This town’s name doesn’t actually mean anything, but we know that the word itself sounds funny to many English speakers.
The bad news is that in Dutch, the name loses its humour. It’s actually pronounced Hofe-dorp and not hoof-dorp. Now you know!
Hoofddorp also means ‘main village’, something the city constantly tries to use to its advantage since many of its hotels try to make you think you’re staying in the main village: Amsterdam.
Do we even need to explain this one? You’ve probably heard of Holland in Michigan; now we have America itself in the lowlands.
America is a Dutch province of Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands. It was most likely named after the Americas and is known for its history of peat extraction.
Unsurprisingly, the Netherlands and the United States share similar town names with such a long history together. After all, New York was once New Amsterdam. 🤷🏻♀️
Dead quiet (Dootstil)
This hamlet is located in Groningen, where just a couple hundred people live. With such a few residents, the name’s literal translation rings pretty well.
If not known for its noise, it is known for its name. In May 2005, it won the “most beautiful place name” in the Netherlands thanks to its meaning: perfectly still.
This success ironically put an end to the “dead quiet” atmosphere as this attracted many tourists to the area.
Dirt Pan (Vuilpan)
Vuilpan is a hamlet near the Dutch-Belgian border in the municipality of Sluis.
Sluis is built on fortified grounds and looks like your traditional Dutch town with churches, windmills, and flowing canals.
What’s funnier than this hamlet’s name is that there’s barely any information about it online. We’re sure people visit the area just to say they’ve fallen in the Dutch dirt pan.
Mud Hole (Moddergat)
This fishing village was voted the second most beautiful place in the Netherlands in 2004. Who knew a mudhole could be so good-looking?
Moddergat’s name is three centuries old! It was first called “Modde Gat” (muddy pool) and was home to only 220 people in 1840.
As of 2017, the population had risen all the way up to 221 residents. It seems Moddergat has won the hearts of its locals, who are happy to stay in their muddy hole!
Mosquito Bite (Muggenbeet)
Muggenbeet is quite a small hamlet with only 25 permanent residents; now, that’s a mosquito bite of a number!
No need to start scratching your legs; however, the name has nothing to do with annoying insects.
In 1313, it was spelt as “Mugghenbete”. This refers to the Old Saxon way of saying “small stream” or “Mücken Beecke”, named after a small stream flowing through the village.
Losser is a Dutch municipality in the province of Overijssel, in the East of the Twente region and near the German border.
There’s not much to say about this other than that now we know the Dutch have an area designated for all its losers.
All jokes aside, the municipality is home to 13,405 local losers, who we’re sure to have won at least something in their life!
Trousers in Waterland (Broek in Waterland)
While there’s no accurate reason as to why this village is called trousers in Waterland, maybe they just wanted people to know — Mean Girls-style — that in Waterland, we wear trousers.
The village was quite the tourist hotspot! In the 1600s, the area was popular among sea captains who would spend their holidays there.
Other travellers who visited the area around the 17th century always recalled the cleanliness and tidiness of the village in their travel books.
Ironically, between the 1960s and 2011, Broek in Waterland was host to a major landfill where toxic chemicals were dumped. Today, it’s been partially re-opened as a nature reserve!
The Hulk (De Hulk)
Unfortunately, this Dutch hamlet isn’t a homage to the green Marvel superhero.
De Hulk derives its name from an old inn which stood along the canals Hoorn- Alkmaar and Hoorn- Amsterdam.
The inn had a sign on the front featuring a large maritime ship, also known as a Hulk in English.
The hamlet is great for canoe trips, hiking trails, and of course, scavenging for the superhero’s house hidden somewhere in the Dutch woodlands.
Sex, Beer, Rum (Sexbierum)
If a 10-year-old kid was in charge of naming a town, this is probably what they’d come up with.
Sexbierum is a village in the Northern-central part of the Netherlands, in the municipality of Waadhoeke.
Its original name, “Sixtisberen”, which dates back to the 13th century, means “houses of Sixtus” and refers to Pope Sixtus II.
Ironically, in Dutch, the contemporary name groups up three words — sex, beer, and rum. And yes, the Sexbierum place name signs get stolen from time to time. No surprise there!
Imagine this: You live in Rectum, and your friend is coming over to your place and asks you where your house is: “Sorry, say that again, please?!”
Back to serious talk, Rectum (haha) is a hamlet located in Overijssel, a Dutch province in Eastern Netherlands.
Though Rectum’s etymology is unclear, the first part of the name is likely named after the nearby river “Regge”.
We don’t mean to be anal, but(t) naming a town Rectum sounds like you just pulled that name out of your *ss.
Number One (Nummer Een)
Of course, we had to place this Dutch town at the top of this list, or else what was even the point of all this?
Number one is a small hamlet located in the municipality of Sluis in Zeeland with a nearby nature reserve (Staatsbosbeheer), perfect for camping, hiking, and droppings!
Contrary to its successful name, Nummer Eén doesn’t actually have the title of the “best hamlet in the Netherlands”.
It gets its name because the hamlet was the first plot of the Hoofdplaatpolder at the end of the 18th century. How’s that for a mini history lesson?