Prime ministerial catchphrase makes it into Van Dale dictionary


A phrase popularised by prime minister Mark Rutte when confronted with a question which implies he may be hiding the truth is to be included in the Dikke Van Dale dictionary.

The term een actieve herinnering ergens aan hebben, literally meaning ‘to have an active memory of something’, has been used in political circles for years but is now fully integrated into the Dutch language, dictionary editor Ton den Boon told news agency ANP.

Rutte has used the term several times when confronted by difficult questions about politically sensitive issues. In 2018, for example, he used it when asked if his former right-hand man Halbe Zijlstra had lied about meeting Vladimir Putin.

Last year, he used the phrase when asked about a ministerial memo which suggested MP Pieter Omtzigt be moved to a new job.

‘Rutte has made the term more accessible,’ Den Boon said. ‘Since he has been prime minister, the phrase is being widely used in the media, in political analyses and in commentary.’

The phrase will be added to the online version of the dictionary in the near future and will be included in the next print edition.

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