Posted by Elmer on July 27, 2005
Reopening 'Flea Market' by Patti on Jan 13th 2001.
Could it be that the term 'Flea Market' is litterly translated from the Dutch 'Vlooienmarkt'? The term 'Vlooienmarkt' might perhaps be derived from the old Vlooijenburg Island in the middle of the centre of Amsterdam where later on (1880's) the world famous Waterlooplein Market was founded.
So, there is an island called Vlooijenburg, a market is created on this island, automatically referred to as the market on Vlooyenburg: the Vlooyenburg Market or the Vlooyenmarkt ('markt' being Dutch for 'market', as may be clear). As the tourism in Amsterdam has its origins at the end of the 19th century, right after the birth of the Vlooijenmarkt, the term might have spread over the world, comfortably being translated into the language of the different nearby countries, for example: Flea Market (English) or March? aux Puces (French).
The interesting part of this is that the term 'Vlooien' indeed has the meaning of these nasty bugs, but the name of Vlooijenburg is actually derived from the verb 'vloeien' which means 'to flow' or 'to spread'. When the square formed island of Vlooijenburg was begin created it was done by extending from (to spread from) a small piece of land that already existed at that particular part of the Amsterdam centre. So it actually might not have anything to do with fleas at all....
This is a theory that was formed while visiting the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, but as far as I know, has no back up whatsoever, as no information on this theory has yet been found on the internet.