The two below paragraphs appear in the article “Ärger in der Eurozone. Von saufenden Südländern und überheblichen Nordeuropäern.” My question refers to the first sentence from the second paragraph. I'm quoting the first paragraph for context purposes.

Auch der Niederländer ist nur ein Mensch. Und Menschen neigen gelegentlich einfach dazu, andere zu beschimpfen, wenn etwas irgendwie nicht so gut gelaufen ist. Bei Jeroen Dijsselbloem könnte es das etwas unglückliche Abschneiden der eigenen, bei der Wahl gerade implodierten Partei gewesen sein, das den Niederländer und Chef der Eurogruppe dazu hat neigen lassen, darüber zu schimpfen, dass Südeuropäer nur Geld für Schnaps und Frauen ausgeben, wo wir ihnen doch gerade so selbstlos geholfen haben. Sinngemäß.

Jetzt wollen wir uns natürlich nicht auf das Niveau begeben - und nicht so plump dagegen halten, dass der Euro ja auch kein Ponyhof für Wohnwagenfahrer ist. Das würde im Einzelnen ja auch nicht jedem Niederländer gerecht.

According to dict.cc,

der Ponyhof = pony farm

Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof. = Life ain't easy.

Der Wohnwagenfahrer can probably be translated as travel trailer driver or caravan driver.

The best English translation of the sentence I can come up with is:

We do not want to lower ourselves to that level—and not awkwardly counter that Euro is no pony farm for caravan drivers.

The part after the dash reads like gibberish to me. So, what did the author really want to convey in the part of the sentence after the dash?


Well, both of "Ponyhof" and "Wohnwagenfahrer" have an additional connotation with Germans:

"Wohnwagenfahrer" is a devaluing word for the Dutch, referring to the fact/prejudice that they (supposedly) enjoy to use a caravan (Wohnwagen) for vacation, and whenever they'd travel to Italy, Austria, Croatia, etc. they pass through Germany, so there's a lot of Dutch caravans to be seen on German "Autobahnen". Again, I am not sure as to what extend that claim is right but that's the way it is with prejudices.

As for "Ponyhof", there's a saying "Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof" literally meaning "Life is not a pony farm", which is used to indicate that life is not always perfect or the way you'd want it to be, and devaluing in the sense that it indirectly suggests that the person whom the phrase is aimed at be somewhat whiny.

Now, in the light of the Euro-crisis, it has often been said/written (both in the media and on social networks) that Southern Europeans would live in some sort of "Ponyhof" (This claim is far from true, of course, but I don't want to start a political debate here). This is what the paragraph leading to the sentence in question is all about: Dijsselbloem has jumped on the train of blaming the south. Now the author of your paragraph is trying to suggest that the "Northerners" (in this case the Dutch or more specifically Dijsselbloem) should get off their high horses (sorry for the pun), and they should not live in the "Ponyhof" that they so negatively connote with the "Southerners".

Sadly, this phrase is filled with lots of prejudices and I just wanted to make clear that I don't share these views in any way, I merely wanted to highlight the connotations that these words have in German.

Edit: In light of the following comments, it should be mentioned that the above phrase should best be thought of as a quotation that the author gives of something that people he is trying to criticize might give. Concretely, the highlighted passage might be translated as (copied from my comment below) "Now we don't want to fight back with the same weapons, that is to say in a naive manner the Euro wasn't a pony farm for the Dutch." In other words, he is trying to say that we should refrain from using the same populist tone.

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    Note that the author of the article also does not plainly state this but just says that this statement would be the equivalent to what Dijsselbloem said. – Wrzlprmft Mar 24 '17 at 15:10
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    Yes, thank you. It's probably quite useful to distinguish that the author is literally saying that "we" should not argue on the same low level as Dijsselbloem by reminding them that the Euro was not a "Ponyhof" for "Wohnwagenfahrer" – Sebastian Schulz Mar 24 '17 at 15:13
  • @Sebastian Schulz Great answer. Thanks. I'd like to ask for some clarification, however: The sentence after the dash contains three negations (nicht, dagegen and kein) and this confuses me. So, is the sentence saying that "Euro is a pony farm for the Dutch" or "Euro is NOT a pony farm for the Dutch"? – Eugene Str. Mar 24 '17 at 19:43
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    It's literally saying "Now we don't want to fight back with the same weapons, that is to say in a naive manner the Euro wasn't a pony farm for the Dutch." So the author is trying to suggest that stating that the Euro was or wasn't a pony farm for the Dutch is inappropriate, one has to look for deeper meaning which is probably elaborated in the paragraphs following the one you shared. – Sebastian Schulz Mar 24 '17 at 20:14
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    Note that you can (and probably should) edit your answer to address these comments. – Wrzlprmft Mar 24 '17 at 20:24

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