I’ve spotted a trend amongst my Dutch friends who own cars. They use TomTom sat nav, incidentally a well-known Dutch brand, but prefer to drive to the soothing sounds of the Belgian Dutch (notice I didn’t say Flemish) female voice over the ‘standard Dutch’ voice from the Netherlands, also known as ABN (‘Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands’).
The reasons they gave me include “Belgian Dutch is sexier”, “The Dutch woman sounds depressed” and “I can understand the Belgian Dutch pronunciation more clearly”. Even a quick lurk at some Dutch language forums shows that ‘Lucie’ (The Dutch Belgian voice — here she is for real, scroll down a bit) is considered quite the favourite. Her voice is ‘warm’, while the Dutch voice is more staccato (‘choppy’) in my humble driving opinion. As for the depressed bit, the Dutch voice lowers in tone at the end of sentences as if she were bored telling you were to go all the time. It could be my foreign ears, it could be my friends’ predilection for the exotic, who knows.
Lucie, or Hildegard, which is her real name, recorded the TomTom voice in just one afternoon and earned back in the early noughties no more than 450 euro. Anyone want to chime in as to why they like Lucie better or why they would actually rather use the Dutch voice or even the male equivalent? Do tell.