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MMD > Archives > February 1999 > 1999.02.20 > 06Prev  Next

What's a Pierement ?
By Hans van Oost

The Dutch noun "Pierement" emerged in Amsterdam in the 1930s as a local
slang word for a Dutch Street Organ.  The origins of the word are not
clear; it is thought that the first part of the word is derived from
the Dutch verb "pieren".  Again, "pieren" is a slang word for "draaien"
which means both turning a wheel and turning around, so it might refer
to the turning of the organ wheel, or the turning around of the
dancers, who were generally present when an organ was playing in the
Amsterdam streets in that era.

The suffix "-ment" means something like "device" or "stuff"; it is
placed after several words just for fun.  In Amsterdam slang you will
find more such words, like "bikkesement" for a meal (bikken is slang
for eating).

After WW2, in the fifties, the word became more generally known in the
Netherlands as the more-or-less official term for Dutch street organs,
more generally known as "draaiorgels".  That is why the Kring van
Draaiorgelvrienden adopted the name for its quarterly publication,
"Het Pierement".

Cheers to our antipodes (meant literally  (-:

Hans van Oost, KDV, Netherlands

 [ I'm impressed, Hans, that the Dutch folk -- and KDV too! -- have
 [ accepted a modern slang word which replaces a fine traditional word.
 [ (Maybe the Dutchmen in America invented a lot of our USA slang! :-)
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 20 Feb 1999, 16:29:55 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pierement, What's

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