Does Anyone Know the Dutch Song, “”Klap eens in je handjes, blij blij blij””?

Nancy wrote:

Dear Lisa,

Do you know this Dutch song? My mother used to sing it to our children in the 1960’s:

Klap eens in je handjes, blij blij blij…

Appreciate if you can let me know the rest of it and any background history you may have.

Thanks,

Nancy Reimers

If anyone can help out with this song, and an English translation if possible, please comment below.

Thanks!

Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, March 19th, 2007 at 8:40 pm and is filed under Belgian Children's Songs, Belgium, Countries & Cultures, Dutch, Dutch Children's Songs, Languages, Netherlands, Questions, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

30 Responses to “Does Anyone Know the Dutch Song, “”Klap eens in je handjes, blij blij blij””?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I found the song! A woman from Belgium had sent it to me (without an English translation). Here it is in Dutch…

    Klappen in de handjes

    Klappen in de handjes, blij blij blij
    Op het boze bolleke, allebei
    Handjes in de hoogte, handjes in de zij
    Op het boze bolleke, allebei

    If anyone can help out with an English translation, that would be great!

    Lisa

  2. Monique Says:

    I tried to translate it and put one line on google: “bolleke” is spelled “bolletje” = little round bread, and I remembered about “In a Little Station”, one version goes “stationneke” and the other “stationnetje”, then I deduced from that that in some parts of the Dutch speaking area, the diminutive is “tje” and in some parts it’s “ke”. So it’d be, literally:
    Clap your hands, happy, happy, happy

    Up on this demon’s little round bread (head), them both

    Little hands up, little hands on the side

    Up this demon’s little round bread (head), them both

    You can see a short video here
    http://www.kinderliedjes.nu/0-2-jaar/klap-eens-in-je-handjes/

  3. Jeff Says:

    I’ve been singing this song for a week to my 13 months old little girl. I’m wondering who’s having the most fun, me or her ;)

    Allow me to bring a few corrections:

    ‘Boze’ comes from the word ‘boos’ which means angry. ‘Bolletje’ indeed refers to the head. Thus ‘On the angry little head’.

    PS: In the short-video they sing ‘liefje bolletje’ which means ‘lovely head’.

    The song ends with: ‘Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij!’ which means ‘So sail the ships away!’

    The diminutive ‘ke’ is used in Belgium while ‘je’ and ‘tje’ are used in The Netherlands.

  4. Anchar Says:

    I was looking for the lyrics to a Dutch song and am amused to find the first hit leading me to an American site. I sing this quite often to my daughter. The translations above are almost there. Here is my translation:

    Klap eens in je handjes,
    blij, blij, blij.
    Op je lieve/boze bolletje,
    allebei.

    Handjes in de hoogte,
    Handjes in je zij.

    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij.
    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij.

    Clap in your (little) hands,
    Happy, happy, happy.
    On your sweet/angry head,
    both of them.

    (little) Hands in the air,
    (little) hands on your hips.

    That’s the way the (little) ships sail away.
    That’s the way the (little) ships sail away.

  5. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for all your help!

    Could anyone help with an English translation for this Dutch song?

    Holle bolle Gijs

    Heb je wel gehoord van die holle bolle wagen,

    Waar die holle bolle Gijs op zat?

    die kon schrokken, grote brokken:

    een koe en een kalf, een paard en een half,

    een os en een stier, zeven tonnen bier,

    een wagen vol schapen

    en nog kon Gijs van de honger niet slapen!

    Thanks in advance! -Lisa

  6. Debbie van Baalen Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m an Australian who has lived in the Netherlands for 15 years. I don’t
    really know this song and never sang it to my sons when they were little
    but I do know that Holle Bolle Gijs is a big garbage can at the Efteling
    (a fairy-tale theme park) here in the Netherlands and basically he’s a guy
    who was quite chubby but always hungry and no matter how much he
    ate he was STILL hungry! Anyway here’s a translation for you, and hope
    it helps:

    Have you ever heard of the Hungry Chubby Wagen
    That Hungry Chubby Gijs was sitting on
    He could gobble great big chunks:
    a cow and a calf, a horse and a half
    an ox and a bull, seven tons of beer
    a wagen full of sheep
    and Gijs was SO hungry that he still couldn’t sleep!

    Kind regards,

    Debbie van Baalen.

  7. Debbie van Baalen Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Wagen should actually be spelt wagon (with an “o” not an “e”)
    sorry ’bout that……

    Debbie

  8. cerebralmum Says:

    I sing Klap eens in je handjes often to my ten month old here in Oz after a month long visit from his Oma. It’s a gorgeous song, but I only knew a the first part (slightly varied). Thanks to Anchar for the extra lyrics. And thanks to you, Lisa, for this great resource. I’ll be sending a few of the other lyrics back to my mum so she can record them for me and I can learn those too.

  9. Another day in the WP theme mire... Says:

    […] Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij… That’s the way the little ships sail away… Translation by Anchar […]

  10. Michel Theunissen Says:

    here’s how we sang it as a kid:

    Klap eens in je handjes, blij, blij, blij.
    Op het boze bolletje, allebei.
    Handjes omhoog,
    Handjes omlaag.
    Handles in de zei, en het neusje voorbij
    ——————————————
    Clapping in your hands, gay gay gay
    On you angry head, both of them
    Hands up in the air,
    Hands down below,
    Hands on the side, and beyond the nose

    Then while singing you move the hands of the baby up, down, on the head, in his side and past his nose….

  11. Korynn Says:

    HI! My Oma sang me this song when I was little (about 18 yrs ago) and I remember the beginning and some of the actions – always wondered what it meant! THANK YOU!
    Korynn in Regina SK Canada

  12. Tom Says:

    My opa used to sing this song to me. I would sit on his knees. At the end, when the ship sails away, he would sway me from side to side, then open his knees to let me fall through before catching me at the last second… – vital for making the little ones laugh I would think!

  13. Yoka Says:

    Hello,

    I’m not sure how old this request is but this is how we use to sing Klap eens in je Handjes when we were little.
    I now sing it to my own grandchildren.

    Klap een in je handjes blij, blij, blij (action:you clap your hands)
    Op je boze bolletje allebei (action:you put your hands on the side of your head)
    Zoooooooo varen de scheepjes voorbij
    (translation: this is how the ships sail by)
    (Action:you make a swaying motion with your hands still on your head)
    Zoooooooo varen de scheepjes voorbij

    Klap eens in je handjes…….etc

    It is interesting how everyone has their own version. Our grandchildren love the song.

    Yoka

  14. Greg Says:

    My family sings this song as well, but its a longer verse. It’s the same as Yoka’s version, only after the “ships sail away” (Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij) there is a line about all the windmills turning together.
    If anybody is familiar with this version, and has a translation, it would be great.

  15. Cilie Says:

    I made an english version to the song to sing to my daughter after the dutch version.
    It matches the tune and the meaning but it’s not a word for word translation.
    Remember the actions!
    Clap once with your hands for fun, fun, fun
    put them on your big (boof) head everyone,
    put your hands up high,
    put them by your side,
    sway like the ship’s mast sailing by.

  16. Mindert de Boer Says:

    why does everyone sing dutch songs to their kids? you crazy north American people!

  17. Belinda Mears Says:

    I do not know if you can help, Debbie van Baalen is a friend from Australia and I have been trying to reconnect with her. We lost contact about 5 years ago and noticed she left a comment on your site. Do you have an email address that you could forward to me or could you forward mine onto her. I hate to be bother, but she is not on facebook and this the only reference I can find on Google. Regards, Belinda

  18. Lisa Says:

    I forwarded your comment Belinda.

  19. Velvet Cook Says:

    My dutch Grandmother sang this song to her children,grandchildren,and greatgrandchildren. Now I have my first grandson and she is gone, I sing it to him. One month old,and he loves it. Really he smiles when I sing it to him. ;)
    I was never sure of meaning either. Always figured it as happy,happy,happy. Why is the baby happy. Hands on his head. Hands on his side. lol. We sing it Blij,blij,blij. Vat is de baby blij? Hends en hes head, and hends en hes side. Phonetically spelled of course because sadly Nanny never taught us any dutch really.
    I really miss her accent :) and humor.

  20. Zoe Green Says:

    Thank you for posting these lyrics and translations. My Mom is from the Netherlands and she (and my Oma, Opa, Tantes and Ooms) used to sing this to us as kids. Nowadays, everytime there’s a baby in the room, I’m compelled to sing the song to them because it produces such terrific giggles. I only know the song phonetically and never knew the actual words. At the end of “That’s the way the (little) ships sail away” my family always adds “Toot! Toot!” with a pumping gesture. Good times :)

  21. Michael Patrick King Says:

    My mother sang this song to me and all of my siblings when we were babies. Usually, she sang it while bathing us in the bathinette (awww!). Anywhom, her lyrics vary somewhat from those posted here.

    She sang:

    Klap eens in de handjes,
    Blij! Blij! Blij!
    Op je kleine bolletje,
    Allebei.

    Handjes omhoog!
    Handjes omlaag!
    Handjes opzei!
    Als Mikhael en school gedekt,
    Den is his mama blij!

    (I don’t speak Hollands; my mother is from Amsterdam.)
    She said the words mean:

    Clap once in the hands (“little handsies”),
    Happy! Happy! Happy!
    Up on your little noggin,
    Both together.

    Handsies up high!
    Handsies down low!
    Handsies to sides!
    When Michael goes to school,
    His mama will be happy.

    If I made any errors in grammar or spelling, chalk it up to the fact that I don’t know the language! :-)

  22. Annemarie Says:

    Hey everyone,

    It’s so lovely to read here, that moms far away from holland are singing this song for your little children. I am Dutch and I search for the lyrics, because I was not sure about the words I sang. My little daugter is 6 month now and she loves this song!

  23. sara Says:

    My oma sang this song to my father,than me, and now she sings it to my sons i try but i have to ask her over and over how its done correctly. she laughs every time she hears me because i can’t get it right.. any one able to give a break down on how to pronounce each word!?

  24. sara Says:

    My oma sang this song to my father,than me, and now she sings it to my sons i try but i have to ask her over and over how its done correctly. she laughs every time she hears me because i can’t get it right.. any one able to give a break down on how to pronounce each word!?

  25. Casey Says:

    Try this and see if Oma still laughs?

    Klap eens in je handjes,
    blij, blij, blij.
    Op je kliene bolletje,
    allebei.

    Handjes in de hoogte,
    Handjes in je zij.

    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij.
    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij.

    claap ains in yu han-yes
    bly, bly, bly
    op ya klyna bol-et-ya
    al-uh-by
    Han-yes om hoogh
    Han-yes om zy
    Zo vaaren duh schaepees for-by
    Zo vaaren duh schaepees for-by

  26. Kristal Says:

    Awww my mum used to sing that to me!!!

  27. Joseph Says:

    @Greg (July 30th, 2008 at 10:10 am)

    My dad and oma used to sing a version that mentioned windmills and I in turn sang it with my children. I don’t know what the words are as I never saw it written down, but my best guess is possibly this:

    Klapjes in de handjes,
    Klap! Klap! Klap!
    Strike! Strike! Strike!
    Alle mooier molentje kleintje tocht elijk

    If anyone recognizes this version (possibly localized to the north of the Nederlands) and knows the correct words, I’d be grateful if they can be confirmed or corrected.

    Thanks

  28. Danielle Says:

    Oh my goodness my Oma has always sang this song to us growing up:)…i now have 2 children of my own and she sings to them as well :) i have the same issue of not being able to say it correctly etc in fact there is a middle verse i am unable to see anywhere in here my Oma sings…still cant for the life of me say it and my sister and i when we we started to sing it ourselves would sing tie your knockers in a knot :P as that was the action shown lol

    Omas Verson goes something along the lines of

    Klap eens in je handjes,
    blij, blij, blij.
    Op je kliene bolletje,
    allebei.
    “insert part i can never say lol”

    Zoooooooo varen de scheepjes voorbij

  29. Graffiki Says:

    We have a facebook page for all of our dutch indo friends that would like you join, you can get any dutch translation. My family and family friends were some of the first to come to america after the war broke out and some of them that had to come from fleeing indonesian territory. Its called i’m an indo are you my cousin oma opa tente
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/219937204727115/ feel free to join :-) we welcome all.

  30. Anne Says:

    Tekst is
    Klap eens in je handjes blij blij blij
    Op je b(r)oze bolletje allebei
    Twee handjes in de hoogte
    Twee handjes in je zij
    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij
    Zo varen de scheepjes voorbij

    Another Variant
    Klap eens in je handjes
    Blij, blij, blij
    Op het boze bolletje, allebei
    Handjes omhoog
    Handjes omlaag
    Handjes in de zij
    En het neusje voorbij

    Being Dutch, living in Netherlands everyone is brought up with this song, that’s why many emigrants use it stil.

    Here a video how it is pronounced. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z385cJc_QQ

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