The term “blokkeerfries” (“blockade Frisian”) received 55 percent of the votes in the annual word of the year contest from dictionary publisher Van Dale.
Translation by Traci White
The term “blokkeerfries” was used a shorthand to refer to the 34 Frisian men and women who blocked the A7 and prevented anti-Zwarte Piet protestors from reaching Dokkum in 2017 during Sinterklaas’ national arrival. Van Dale describes “blokkeerfries” as “Each of the individuals in Friesland who created a blockade on the motorway to prevent others from protesting against an aspect of the Sinterklaas tradition, perceived by some as defenders of that aspect.”
The group used vehicles to block the highway to deprive their fellow Dutch citizens of their freedom to protest. The sentences for 19 of the men and women are being appealed: the defendants disagreed with their sentences, and the Dutch Public Prosecutor disagreed with the group being cleared of charges of using violence or threats to prevent a demonstration. The remaining 15 defendants are not appealing their sentences.
Mangomoment and yogasnuiver
More than 28,000 votes were cast in this year’s edition of the competition. The other entries which received a large number of votes were “mangomoment”, referring to small thoughtful gestures from healthcare providers that mean a lot to their patients, and “yogasnuiver”, a term which was coined by Dutch National Police Chief Erik Akerboom to describe people who lead extremely healthy lifestyles during the week but do drugs in the weekend. Van Dale holds a separate vote for the Belgian word of the year.
Previous word of the year winners include “appongeluk” (an accident caused by at least one person using their smart phone), “sjoemelsoftware” (software used to influence test results, like Volkswagen’s use of software to fake meeting emissions standards for their cars), and the now common use term, “selfie”.