Every Dutch child will know at least some of the lyrics to Berend Botje and his adventures in Zuid Laren and America. To commemorate this, the titular town constructed a statue in his honor.
The song is a very old one, thought to date back to the early 19th-century, and refers to a young man called Botje who fled his mandatory military service for Napoleon’s army by sailing away forever. Since then, many different versions of the song have sprouted up and have been tied to many other people throughout history. However, the connection to Zuid Laren is present in most of them, since it was home to a large farmers’ market.
The most popular versions goes as follows:
“Berend Botje ging uit varen
met zijn bootje naar Zuidlaren
de weg was recht, de weg was krom
nooit kwam Berend Botje weerom.
Een, twee, drie, vier, vijf, zes, zeven
waar is Berend Botje gebleven?
Hij is niet hier, hij is niet daar hij is naar Amerika.
Amerika, Amerika, driemaal in de rondte van je hopsasa.
Amerika, Amerika, driemaal in de rondte van je hopsasa.”
The original statue from 1967 was made of stone and was vandalized several times before being replaced by the bronze replica visitors see today, complete with a bronze book that contains the first two couplets of the song.
Know Before You Go
The statue is freely accessible.