Skip to content

Day 5: Hand Shoes, the cutest word ever

February 5, 2012

On the 5th day of 29 Days of Dutch, I’d like to draw your attention to a critical member of the Dutch language and also my favorite word: Hand Shoes.  Or… as you say in Dutch, handschoenen.

Can you guess what they are?

Mittens and gloves.  🙂

What makes Handschoenen Dutch?

We all wear mittens. I’m not suggesting that the Dutch were the first ones genius enough to put something warm on their hands when they got cold. Surely cro-magnon man did this as well.

With no facts whatsoever to back this up, I’m guessing that Hansje Brinker noticed that wet wool was really uncomfortable, and also particularly ineffective at flood protection.  (of course I mention flooding)

Credit, wall street examiner

My lengthy studies regarding the evolution of the handshoe, (with particular focus to the time period it first appeared in the Netherlands) suggest that  handshoes didn’t show up in the Low Countries until the Dutch started riding their bikes… you know, sometime around the late 21st century.

Only joking obviously.


What makes this word Dutch I think is:

1) it’s plain adorable (like much of Dutch culture)

2) it’s pragmatic like the Dutch (a shoe that goes on your hand… natuurlijk!)


3) it’s efficient and direct. There’s no BS-ing.

To illustrate the opposite for example, consider you’re a small young child in, say,  Northern Michigan. On your first day of pre-school, Mom says, “Don’t forget your mittens!”  

You, as a young sprout are too embarrassed to ask what “mittens” are, because you should have been paying attention to your older brother…You are unable to discern from this request exactly what Mittens are, what their function is, or where they go on your body.

For a visual of the above, consider me below as a young sprout.

Me and big brother Josh in Northern Michigan before first day of pre-school. I swear I have a cuter picture somewhere. How nice I'm still carrying a bottle.

So then you’re standing at the bus stop FREEZING cold for 30 minutes (because the bus is late and we were tougher than all of those kids now-a-days who wait in mom’s car until the bus shows up) blowing on your hands and rubbing them together. You’re likely to be ridiculed for not having brought your mittens like your mother told you to do. You subsequently become disenchanted with the English language at an early age.

If you were Dutch on the other hand, and your mother said, “Vergeet niet je handschoenen!”  there is no mistake that you would have warm hands. 🙂

On that note, I’d like to consider permanently replacing “Mittens” in the English language with Hand shoes.  Which means my that my birthplace (Petoskey, in Northern Michigan) shall no longer be called, “Tip of the Mitt.”

That’s right…
See you all in the Handshoe next summer!

for those not in the know... Michigan (above) is shaped like a Mitten

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    February 5, 2012 23:15

    Oh, wow, I’ve never seen a baby pic of you before. Killer cute!

  2. aruna permalink
    February 6, 2012 00:50

    Love it! The Hand Shoe! Also, you are super cute:)

  3. Jan permalink
    February 6, 2012 02:33

    Jessie, I will from this day forward think of my dear home state of MI as a hand shoe. 🙂

    As a true “Michigander” I will always use my hand as a map of the lower portion of our great lake state. 🙂
    and yes you are super killer cute!!!

  4. Clare permalink
    February 6, 2012 03:32

    super cute pic, and word! es ist auch handschuhen in Deutsch…i wonder who came up with the hand shoe concept first. it is one of my favorite words i have learned so far.

  5. Josh permalink
    February 6, 2012 18:52

    The Handshoe: America’s High Five

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: