Delta nr 25, August 2006
'Laten we geen oude koeien uit de sloot halen' (literally: 'Let's not remove old cows from the ditch'), is a rather odd and vivid expression, which the Dutch usually use when they don't want to be reminded of something . often something unpleasant - that has happened in the past. This expression is typically Dutch, referencing both the ubiquitous Dutch cows and the watery ditches (sloot) that border most pastures. Using this expression is a way of letting people know you don't want to talk about a certain incident. If, for example, you borrowed and crashed your friend's car, and even though you paid for the repairs, your friend keeps reminding you of the accident, you could say, 'Laten we geen oude koeien uit de sloot halen'. It might not shut your friend up forever, but it's a polite way of getting your point across without actually telling him to, 'Shut up!'