1 april, kikker in je bil! (die er nooit meer uit wil)

1st of April, frog in your butt!

April fools!

In 1572, the Low countries were at the beginning of the Eighty years’ war of independence against the occupying Spanish forces of Philip II. The 1st of April, 1572 marked a turning point in the uprising of what was to become the Netherlands. The city of Den Briel was recaptured by rebel forces and news of this quickly spread throughout the provinces and gave courage to others to protest the Habsburg rule. The capture of Den Briel was thus a very important symbolic event and has been celebrated ever since. Dutch people took up a short rhyme to remember this event: “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril”, meaning “On April 1st, Alva lost his glasses,” which is a pun on the word bril, Dutch for ‘glasses’, and the name of the town Den Briel. “Alva” refers to Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, then the appointed Governor of The Netherlands, who was replaced shortly afterwards. Now how the rhyme eventually ended up referring to a frog in your butt is anybody’s guess!

Depiction of the capture of Den Briel by Jan Luyken

Depiction of the capture of Den Briel by Jan Luyken (1679)


As we have noted before, the Dutch don’t shy away from controversial advertising campaigns. So this one from Durex on April 1st should come as no surprise 😉


And finally, one of our favourite April fool’s pranks: “The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest” by BBC’s Panorama segment from 1957. See video below!