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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Kabouter is the Dutch/Afrikaans word for gnome or leprechaun. In folklore, the Dutch Kabouters are akin to the Irish Leprechaun, Scandinavian Tomte, the English Hob, the Scottish Brownie and the German Klabauter or kobold.

In the folklore of the Low Countries, kabouters are tiny men who live underground or in mushrooms, or spirits who help in the home. The males have long, full beards (unlike dwarves, who do not always have full beardsTemplate:Citation needed) and wear tall, pointed red hats. They are generally shy of humans.

There is a theory that their appearance, little red pointy hats running through the forest, can be attributed to hallucinations from eating mushrooms. Though not associated with narcotics by the general public, they appear in the iconography of smart shops.

In the Legend of the Wooden Shoes, an old Dutch folktale, a kabouter teaches a Dutch man how to make piles and how to make wooden shoes.

The Dutch illustrator Rien Poortvliet played an important part in modern Kabouter lore with his publication of Leven en werken van de Kabouter (English title "Lives and works of the Gnome"), later translated into English and published as "Gnomes".

In popular culture today, the business Travelocity uses a Rien Poortvliet-style statue of a Kabouter for commercials. They call him the Travelocity Roaming Gnome.

The term kabouter was also adopted by a 1970s hippie movement in Amsterdam that sprang from the Provo movement (see Kabouters). One of its best known representatives is Roel van Duijn.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kabouter" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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