My family name is van de Water. Mensen means in Dutch people, persons, folk. The Dutch are sometimes called “WaterMensen”. One of the Netherlands’ most famous bands wrote a song about it:

Onbedwingbaar is de woede
En het vloeibare geweld
Je zal vechten, je zal bloeden
Watermens, mijn heldLaat het water mij maar dreigen
Laat het me grijpen naar de keelAlleen voor ons wij watermensen,
wordt het water nooit teveelEn als het water ons zal krijgen
Heeft ‘t lang genoeg geduurd
Dan worden wij die watermensen
naar een hoger plan gestuurd
The anger is irrepressible
And the liquid violence
You will fight, you will bleed
Water man, my heroLet the water threaten me
Let it grab me by the throatOnly for us water people,
the water never becomes too muchAnd when the water will get us
It took long enough
Then we those water people
are sent to a higher level

The Dutch have an ambivalent relationship with water. The water is a threat to our security, but at the same time it is the driving force behind periods of economic prosperity.

We are the land of the hydraulic engineers. Because of its location, we have an enormous history with water.

People are like water, literally and figuratively. We consist largely of water. And just like water, we always find our way. We always have a choice; do you swim against the current or do you let yourself float to new worlds? However, standing still for a long time is not an option, as the water becomes clouded and poisons. How free are you to flow? How free are you to go along with what is? Water always finds its way. This is how people also find their way. As long as we dare to flow.

A language is exactly like water. Over the centuries it moves in a certain direction.

A language is not a stream, but a large, wide river. Slowly it flows permanently towards the sea. If you look a little closer, you can see waves heading towards the shore. And even closer, under the microscope, the molecules move in all directions.

One level down there are some more detailed changes, going in just about all directions. In some periods one is more common, in others the other, it is not clear that either of the two forms will ever “win”.

And one more level of detail lower, in everyday life, everything moves in three dimensions. A popular word comes up, is adopted by a certain group and dies out after a while.

A language moves and must be given the space to move. Just like Water. Just like us, Mensen.

And oh yeah, on top of that, I’m an Aquarius and I love to swim in the ocean 😉