THE DUTCHMAN

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
THE DUTCHMAN
“The Dutchman” is a song wrien by Michael Peter Smith in 1968 and popularized by Steve
Goodman. At the *me Smith wrote the song, he had never visited the Netherlands.
The song is about an elderly couple living in Amsterdam, Margaret and the *tle character. The
unnamed Dutchman is senile, and Margaret cares for him with a sadness over what has
happened to him over the years. It is a story of uncondi*onal love.
The Dutchman is not the kind of man
Who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in
That’s a secret that only Margaret knows
When Amsterdam is golden in the summer
Margaret brings him breakfast, she believes him
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow
He’s mad as he can be, Margaret only sees that some*mes
Some*mes she sees her unborn children in his eyes
Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago, I used to be a young man
Dear Margaret remembers that for me
The Dutchman s*ll wears wooden shoes
And his cap and coat are patched with the love
Margaret sewed there
Sometmes he thinks he’s still in Roterdam
He watches the tug-boats down canals
An’ calls out to them when he thinks he knows the Captain
Margaret comes to take him home again
Through unforgiving streets that trip him, though she holds his arm
Some*mes he thinks he’s alone and he calls her name
Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me
The winters whirl the windmills ’round
She winds his mu6er *ghter, they sit in the kitchen
Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew
He sees her for a moment, he calls her name
She makes the bed up singing some old love song
She learned it when the song was very new
He hums a line or two, they hum together in the dark
The Dutchman falls asleep, Margaret blows the candles out
Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me