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Subject: Dutch children's song about chickens
(18 juli 2012)

Hello there,

Thank you for the songs on your webpage.

I am trying to find the correct words to a song that my mother - who was a Dutchie raised in Indonesia sang to my son when he was a baby 30 years ago.

Its about chickens who lost their rooster - they called for him - and then he came back. It starts:
'Die soete lieve kippetjes verloren ens ?? haan'.

Sorry, I can't really write Dutch as I only learned it orally. Anyhow, if you can help, I'd love the correct words.

Kind regards, Maggie.

Answer     (19 juli 2012)

Hi Maggie,

I don't know this song, it is not a well-known children's song. I also could not find it in the Dutch Song Database (which contains 125.000 songs). However, I could find it online, but google had only 2 hits. So I think it was not a well-known song.

The line you gave me, is in Dutch: die zoete lieve kippetjes verloren een haan (those sweet dear chickens lost a rooster). I understand it is very hard to find a song when you're unsure of the spelling.

I found 2 websites that give the song. I give you the complete lyrics and an English translation below.

The websites give a litte bit more information. The first is 'seniorennet', wich means a website for senior, elder people. The forum is about songs you remember of your childhood. This same contributer gives the lyric on her blog on that same website. She gives not any information about it - but the context of 'senior' tells us something of the age of the song (known by someone above 65 years old).

The second hit is a literary magazine, a copy of 1868. On page 177 starts a review of five books, all with songs or verses for (school) children. The autors of these books are well-known to me, J.P. Heije and J.J.A. Goeverneur. They publiced more (some very famous) children's songs in the 19th century. Well, the review (critisism), by a S. Gorter, goes on and on.

On page 188 he gives the lyric of the poem/verse or song 'De trouwe haan' (The faithful rooster). He says: it's very much the same, as their previous books, but some poems bring a smile to our lips. So this one, he did like.

According to the Royal Library in The Hague, this last book was written by Johan Goeverneur (Wat oom Jan nog in zijn zak vond, 1867 (Some more songs that uncle Jan found in his pocket)) - songs for at home and at school. The price of the book was 20 cents. So thanks to the information, we now can date the song and know the author.

I hope this was the song your mother did sing and you recognize the lyric. Maybe she (or her mother) had a copy of the songbook, or they used this book at her school. I hope it will bring back good memories.

With kind regards, met vriendelijke groeten,


Dutch children's songs with music and English translation  (


De trouwe haan

Mijn lieve, zoete kippetjes
verloren eens hun haan.
Ze hadden toch warempel
hem niemendal gedaan.
Wat treurden toen mijn kippetjes,
dat hij was weggegaan,

die brave, die trouwe,
die allerbeste haan.

Maar bij mijn lieve kippetjes,
kwam toch weerom de haan.
Hij was maar eens gaan kuieren,
een eindje daar vandaan.
Wat juichten toen mijn kippetjes,
wat haalden zij hem aan,

die brave, die trouwe,
die allerbeste haan.

En mijn lieve kippetjes
die brachten aan hun haan
wat zij maar konden vinden,
van korreltjes en graan.
En toen hij 't eten had gedaan,
ging boven op het hok hij staan,
en ving tot vreugde der kippetjes
zijn kuukleku weer aan,

die brave, die trouwe,
die allerbeste haan.

(Johan Goeverneur, 1867)


The faithful rooster

My dear, sweet little chickens
once lost their rooster.
They had sure enough
realy nothing done to him.
How lamented/grieved my little chickens then
that he had gone away,

that well-behaved, that faithful
that best-of-all cock/rooster.

But with my dear little chickens
came still/nevertheless/anyhow back the cock/rooster.
He had just gone and wander
some little distance away frome there.
What cheered then my little chickens
what did they stroke/cuddle him,

that well-behaved, that faithful
that best-of-all cock/rooster.

And my dear little chickens
they brought to their cock
whatever they could find
of grains and cereal.
And when he had finished eating
he did go to stand on top of the cage/hutch (henhouse)
and started, to the joy of the little chicken,
again his cock-a-doodle-doo,

that well-behaved, that faithful
that best-of-all cock/rooster.


Forum seniorennet: ;

Blog seniorennet: ;

Literary magazine De Gids (The Guide), 1868:

Re:     (19 juli 2012)

Oh thank you so very much Rosemarijan, it is exactly the song that my mother sang - except I only knew a couple of verses.

My mother has been dead for 13 years now and I still think of her often. Getting these lyrics (which I've been looking for for about 10 years) has made me cry - in a good way, of course. I sing it to my goddaughters and, not speaking Dutch, they call it the secret song and ask me to sing it to them. Isn't that so cute?

My mother's sister Frances was married to a man called Jan Van Leeuwen and they lived in Wassenar until they both passed away - a least 30 years ago. Are you related somehow? Om Jan was a wonderful man - very sweet.

Anyhow, I can't thank you enough for such wonderful research. I deeply appreciate it and all the other memories it has brought back to me.

Warmest regards,


Re:     (19 juli 2012)

Dear Maggie,

I'm glad it was the right song and you finally found it after ten years! I'm glad I could be of any help. I understand how hard it is to find something on the web, if you're not sure of the spelling - and my search brought me many websites about keeping chicken in your garden en so on. We were lucky there were two websites after all, who had publiced the lines.

I don't know oom Jan and tante Frances. The family of my granddad originates from Rotterdam and the surroundings, so that is very close to Wassenaar. But on the other hand, the familyname Van Leeuwen is very common in The Netherlands, so without genealogy information (a family tree), it's hard to say.

Thank you for your glad and grateful words in your e-mail. In the past I worked for the Dutch Song Database for three years, so I know a bit about the history and study of children's songs. And I know how childhood songs are connected to memories and feelings. I understand you can get tears in your eyes over a song. But I think it is a beautyful thing, it is a sign of good memories and feelings, it would only be sad if no one should get tears anymore in memory of your mother.

So I wish for you much singing-pleasure with your goddaughters, and warm memories of your childhood and of your mother singing this Dutch song for you.

With kind regards, met vriendelijke groeten!


Dutch children's songs with music and English translation  (

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