Onder de groene hemel in de blauwe zon
speelt het blikken harmonieorkest in een grote regenton
Daar trekt over de heuvels en door het grote bos
de lange stoet de bergen in van het circus "Jeroen Bosch"
En we praten en we zingen en we lachen allemaal
want daar achter die hoge bergen ligt het land van Maas & Waal

Ik loop gearmd met een kater voorop
daarachter twee konijnen met een trechter op hun kop
en dan de grote snoeshaan die legt een glazen ei
wanneer je schudt dan sneeuwt het op de Egmondse abdij

Ik reik een meisje mijn koperen hand
dan komen er twee Moren met een sleper  in de hand
dan blaast er de fanfare ter ere van de schaar
die trouwt met de vingerhoed, ze houden van elkaar

En onder de purperen hemel in de bruine zon
speelt nog steeds het harmonieorkest in een grote regenton
Daar trekt over de heuvels en door het grote bos
de lange stoet de bergen in van het circus "Jeroen Bosch"



En we praten en we zingen en we lachen allemaal
want daar achter de hoge bergen ligt het land van Maas & Waal

We zijn aan de koning van Spanje ontsnapt
Die had ons in zijn bed en de provisiekast betrapt
We staken alle kerken met brandewijn in brand
't is koud vuur dus het geeft niet en het komt niet in de krant

Het leed is geleden de horizon schijnt
wanneer de doden dronken zijn en Pierlala verdwijnt
dan steken we de lof trompet en ook de dikke draak
en eten 's avonds zandgebak op het feestje bij Klaas Vaak

En onder de gouden hemel in de zilveren zon
speelt altijd het harmonieorkest in een grote regenton
Daar trekt over de heuvels en door het grote bos
de stoet voorgoed de bergen in van het circus "Jeroen Bosch"
En we praten en we zingen en we lachhahahahahahaha
het land van Maas & Waal, van Maas & Waal, van Maas & Waal,
van Maas & Waal,.........
Under the green sky in the blue sun
plays the tin harmony orchestra in a large rain barrel (they are usually mainly wind and drums)
There marches over the hills and through the big forest the long crowd (row) into the mountains of the circus Jeroen Bosch
And we talk and we sing and we all laugh
for there behind the high mountains lies the land of Maas and Waal

I walk arm in arm with a tomcat in front
there behind two rabbits with a funnel (of wisdom?) on their head (s)
and then the big cockerell who lays a glass egg
when you shake it it will snow on the Egmondse Abbey

I give (stretch) a girl my copper hand
then come two Moors with a tugboat in the hand

then blows the orchestra in honour of the scissors who marries the thimble, they love eachother

And under the purple sky in the brown sun
plays yet still the harmony orchestra in a large rain rain barrel
There draws over the hills and through the big forest  into the mountains the long drawn-out crowd of the circus Jeroen Bosch



And we talk and we sing and we all laugh
for there behind the high mountains lies the land of Maas en Waal

We have escaped from the king of Spain
who had caught us in his bed and in his pantry
We put fire to all churches with brandy
it is cold fire so it does not matter and it does not get into the paper

The suffering is ended the horizon shines
when the dead are drunk and Pierlala disappears
then we raise the praise (victory) trumpet and also the fat dragon
and eat at night short bread at the party at Klaas Vaak

And under the golden sky in the silver sun
plays always the harmony orchestra in a large rain barrel
There marches over the hills and through the big forest the parade of the circus of Jeroen Bosch forever into the mountains
And we talk and we sing and we
laugh hahahahaha
the land of Maas en Waal, van Maas en Waal, van Maas en Waal
To understand this song you have to be familiar with the late medieval painter Jeroen (Hieronymus) Bosch. A painter who depicted in his paintings the stupidity and wickedness of humankind. People dream of a better life over the horizon and go to any length to achieve it.
It became a huge success but maybe not for the reasons the artists planned. Ironic maybe that it became the Carnival song that everybody knows as such.
Het Land van Maas en Waal is too a certain extent a totally different region than the region just south of it.There you have the southern parts of The Netherlands... Brabant en Limburg. A region where the people are friendly, easy going, inclined to a quick laugh, where life is taken less seriously as by their neighbours in the Land van Maas en Waal. It is there that people live under the heavy yoke of sin (born in sin and inclined to all evil).
This is one of the regions of The Netherlands where church going is a very serious and compulsory affair. A twice a Sunday 2 to 3 hour affair, and woe the person who sees it as a joyful thing. There is a silliness in all of this of course and that silliness is represented in this song that has many -on the surface- meaningless and silly characters and relationships



reiken   to reach  to stretch
Vingerhoed is a better word than thimble
meaning  finger hat... a hat for your finger


The reference to the king of Spain  has to do with the 80-year liberation war against the Spaniards, which was at the same time a  war of the Reformation and liberation not just from the Spaniards but also the Roman Catholic church.
And they did burn churches but got drunk at the same time.
It wasn't exactly a time that the Dutch are proud of. A lot of valuable art treasures were burnt too.

Pierlala is de dood van Pierlala is the man with the scythe in a marionet (puppet)play


de draak steken met iets- to make a joke of something, poke fun at it

Klaas Vaak is the sandman, used in Nursery rhymes and lullabies
See also this clip to give you bit an idea of Bosch's world.
Warning: Not for the faint of heart
The land between the two rivers Maas and Waal in the Netherlands is reputedly a landscape that despite its vicinity to the Randstad is still in pristine condition. The song itself, written by Boudewijn de Groot's long-standing friend and collaborator Lennaert Nijgh, is a mixture of surrealist nonsense evoking a Hieronymous Bosch painting and a hint of Dutch cheek. Originally intended to be a serious and literary counterweight to mawkish Dutch popmusic it nevertheless became - much to the bemusement of its composers - a popular carnival singalong.
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Lesson Five
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