At least, that’s what my research has revealed.
And, true, vampires were primarily a Eastern European phenomenon until about 1700, when suddenly they emerged in the English-speaking world, usually in connection with some romantic poet or other and as a metaphor for some dreadful disease.
The website shroudeater.com, apparently run by a someone in the Netherlands, approached the topic with great hopes of writing about some Dutch vampire … any Dutch vampire. But came up short. (You know it’s going to be a lost cause when the leading image on the entry is a row of wooden shoes, for crying out loud.)
The best the site could come up with a sort of vampire story in which a living woman was unknowingly the cause of her children’s deaths, a la the style of the New England consumption vampires, except that she was alive and not rising from the grave, as they were.
The site also mentions a Dutch superstition of the “nachtmerrie” which is loosely translated as a nightmare, and I suppose that’s what they used to think it was when a family had seven daughters and no sons. Because that’s literally the word for what happened when you had seven daughters and no sons. And if one of those daughters happened to be born in the middle of October, well. She was the “nachtmerrie” and would be prone to wandering around the village in the middle of the night (sometimes not even in her own body) causing trouble for everyone. The other sure sign that your girl is an actual nightmare? She’s got a unibrow. Daughters, am I right?
But stretch the definition as much as you like, neither of those stories come close to anything vampiric as we understand it today.
And then there’s this rather amusing theory that posits that all Dutch people are vampires. I think they’re kidding. Right? It offers evidence such as:
- The addition of three more letters to the name of the country gives undeaderland, which is an observation which I find deeply disturbing. The people in my office just laughed and turned quickly away when I mentioned it
- In the Amsterdam museum, the same faces keep appearing in all the paintings of the town fathers, by many different artists, over a period of hundreds of years…
- Mustaches are popular out here, which can only be an attempt to conceal fangs
But wait, there IS a Dutch* vampire
It’s true. I saw her on my television just now. Her name is Lilith, and she sure lives up to her name. And though the film itself is Belgian, the language in it is Dutch, so … I’m going to call it a cross-border win for both countries.
“Lilith” is a very short film, clocking in at just over 20 minutes, so it won’t take a big investment of your day to get through. It’s available on Amazon Prime for all who have it and is subtitled for schmucks like me who haven’t gotten far enough in their DuoLingo lessons to understand it all by sound.
The film is so short that I don’t want to say much, lest I give it all away. I will say that I was reminded of “A Girl Walks Home Alone,” however, though “A Girl Walks” had much more time to play around with similar ideas.
Great cinema? I mean, it was apparently a student film, made at the RITCS School of Arts. But as student films go, if that’s what it was, it’s got to be one of the better ones I’ve ever seen.
#TimesUp has come for the vampire world and I am So. Here. For. It.