Dutch humor  

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Dutch humor has changed over the centuries. In the 16th century, the Dutch were renowned for their humor throughout Europe, and many travel journals have notes on the happy and celebratory nature of the Dutch. Farces and joke books were in demand and many Dutch painters chose to paint humorous paintings, Jan Steen being a good example.

The main subjects of Dutch jokes at the time were deranged households, drunken clerics (mostly of the Roman Catholic Church) and people with mental and/or physical handicaps. A main theme was the reproof of immoral ethics: the 'Vicar's wagging finger'. However, at the end of the 17th century the Dutch lost their sense of humor. The Dutch Republic was in decline, the Dutch Reformed Church denounced laughter and advocated sober lifestyles, and etiquette manuals appeared which considered it impolite to laugh out loud. This continued into the 1960s: during World War II, American soldiers were instructed not to tell jokes to the Dutch as "they wouldn't appreciate it". Today there are many comedians in the Netherlands. Currently the Dutch have their own sense of humor: with the specific cabaret (a typically Dutch form of stand-up comedian), dark ironic, and sarcastic humor, which is often quite bold (or even rude, due to the heavy use of swear words) and occasionally addresses controversial or tense subjects. Like most people, the Dutch most frequently target their neighbors when making fun of other nations.

As of 2013, famous Dutch comedians include Hans Teeuwen, Herman Finkers, Wim Sonneveld, Toon Hermans, Bert Visscher, Youp van 't Hek, Najib Amhali, Theo Maassen, Kees van Kooten, Freek de Jonge, Sara Kroos, Brigitte Kaandorp, Karin Bloemen, Claudia de Breij, Tineke Schouten, and André van Duin.

See also

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