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Subject: 17th century lullaby
(4 januari 2015)


I write to you from the United States. I was hoping you could tell me how old the song 'Maantje tuurt, maantje gluurt' is? Is it one of the oldest Dutch children's songs? Are there any songs that are even older?

I am writing a book that contains historical sections in New Netherlands in the 17th century.

Thank you in advance for your help! Best wishes,

Patricia (United States).

Answer     (6 januari 2015)

Hello Patricia,

The Dutch children's song (to put a child to sleep) 'Maantje tuurt' is not that old. It was written by H. Bruining and H.J. den Hertog, so it dates from the second half of the 19th century, around 1880.

I understand you are looking for children's songs or lullaby's from the 17th century. Do you understand any Dutch? On Wikipedia, the article about children's songs contains a section about the history of Dutch children's songs. (section 3)

From the 17 century we still have religious songs for children (examples in foot note 8) and lullaby's (example in foot note 10). There you can find the link to the complete text in the DBNL (digital library of dutch literature).

This lullaby 'Gebakeloerd nu is myn lieve popje kleen' (with the title 'Cradle Song', by B. van Hemert), to put a little child to sleep, was printed in a song book with non-religious songs: "Minne-plicht ende Kuysheyts-kamp als mede Verscheyden Aardighe en Geestige Nieuwe Liedekens en Sonnetten", collected by Joost van den Vondel (Amsterdam, 1625).

The songs we still have from the 17th century are not known/sung any more today. This oldes songs still known today, are from the 18th and especially 19th century.

I wish you good luck with your book!

With kind regards,


Dutch folk songs with music and English translation  (

Re:     (6 januari 2015)

Dear Rozemarijn,

Thank you so much! This is very helpful. It would have been very embarrassing to have a seventeenth-century character in my book singing a nineteenth-century song!

I greatly appreciate your help.

Best wishes, Patricia.

Re:     (6 januari 2015)

The first sentence of this cradle song ('Gebakeloerd is nu mijn lieve popje klein') means: My sweet little doll is now swaddled. In the first two couplets the baby is drinking milk, breast feeding.

In the third couplet the mother kisses the little child good night. The kiss is sweet as honey, she hopes her little lamb will be silent and she sings a (still well known kind of) cradle song, something like 'suja sus' (hush, hush).

In the last 3 couplets the mother chases away flies and musquito's, so the baby will not wake up again.

The songs in this song book were collected by one of the most famous poets of the Netherlands, Joost van den Vondel. You could say he was the Shakespeare of the Netherlands in the 17th century:

He didn't write this cradle song (it is by B. van Hemert, who is only known for 2 songs in this song book), but because Joost van den Vondel composed the song book, it would have been good selling in that time.

The cradle song was sung on the same melody as 'Wat baet u de voochdy', which was a very popular melody in that century, so people wouldn't have a problem to sing is back then.

The only other 17th-century lullaby (sleeping song) I could find in the Nederlandse Liederenbank (Dutch Song Database) is 'Suja suja sus mijn lief schaapje': ;
but they give only the first two lines of this lullaby.

Good luck with writing your book!

With kind regards,

Rozemarijn ('Rosemary').

Dutch folk songs with music and English translation  (

Re:     (7 januari 2015)

Thank you, Rozemarijn!

More English questions about Dutch songs:

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