How to pronounce “Gezellig” – with His Excellency, Dutch Ambassador Wim Geerts

Tagged on Flickr as “Gezellig” (by Van De Buurt) – this photo captures the warmth of the word.

Last week, medicine I reacted with shock and dismay when I saw that our friend and neighbour Joanne Chianello had done the unthinkable. She had written the following piece for her Ottawa Citizen column.

What kind of name is Gezellig?

She was referring, of course, to the fact that Ottawa foodie idol Stephen Beckta was going to be opening a new Westboro restaurant under that (objectively speaking) glorious name. But she opined that:

It’s a bad name. Unless you’re Dutch, which we are not.

(Ahem.) Now apart from my day job as a branding guy, I’m also a proud Dutch-Canadian. Both my parents were born in the Netherlands, and so I grew up with the word, and with the philosophy embedded in, “gezellig”. That word that is to Dutch culture what furniture isn’t to the Swedes, or haggis to the Scots (and as a bonus, without any Allen Keys or sheep entrails masquerading as food).

So imagine my surprise and delight when I ran into His Excellency, the Dutch Ambassador to Ottawa Wim Geerts at an event this morning at Hub Ottawa. So here you are Joanne Chianello. Straight from the horse’s mouth (that’s “horse” with a glottal G).

Thank you very much to His Excellency for playing along!

4 replies on “How to pronounce “Gezellig” – with His Excellency, Dutch Ambassador Wim Geerts”

Bravo, Your Excellency!  Elegantly and wittily performed – not to mention impeccably pronounced.   And my best wishes to the restaurant, which I trust will embody gezelligheit in its decor, food, and service!

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