Geplaatst in Amsterdam, Dutch

What makes a Dutch Dutch? 

A friend of mine, born and raised in Romania, asked me to blog about what makes the Dutch Dutch.

Doing some research on the net I discovered that there are many articles out there on the Dutch and their habits. Even courses are offered and books are written on how to handle the Dutch culture.

Dutch assertiveness and directness are notorious. Many internationals would probably say that the Dutch are often blunt to the point of being rude. It might take some all-out effort to get used to it without taking it personally. If you manage, it does have its advantages. At least you know where you stand.

It also striking that the Dutch are such a moaners. Their favorite subject to complain about is being too busy. An other great source of inspiration is the weather. Regardless of which season it is, there is always something to complain about.

The Dutch cuss a lot. A substantial number of cuss words they use are references to diseases, genitals or profanity. Furthermore several English cuss words are commonly in use. I do not mind a little cussing as long as you do not insult anybody. Unfortunately not everybody is aware of the impact of their cussing.

What else to know. Do not ever drop by unannounced as specially not at dinner time. They might consider your barging in as rude. Dutch like everything carefully planned out, such as the exact amount of food per person. There is a high probability that they will sent you away since there will not be enough food to share. On the other hand they are appreciated for being spontaneous, punctual and ‘cozy’.

Which brings me to the point that Dutch people are considered ‘cheap’. It is common that after they offer you a biscuit with your tea they will put the lit back on the cookie jar. I think Holland is probably the only country where they use a ‘bottle scraper’ to prevent wasting food. The Dutch have regularly been involved in wars. They learned how to survive by been budgetary and planning ahead.

Except when it comes to soccer the Dutch have no strong national pride. Holland is known for its progressive and tolerant attitude, regarding to the legislation and the freedom of religion.Sadly over the years Holland has become a lot less tolerant. I think it partly has to do with the national attitude. It’s all about modesty and being down to earth. Their motto is ‘doe maar normaal dan doe je al gek genoeg!’. Literally this means ‘ just behave normally, it’s crazy enough’. In away their modesty and down to earth attitude makes them a bit narrow minded and judgmental.

I suppose I have to dedicate another article on this topic, there is so much more to write about.

To what extent do I recognize myself in being typical Dutch? I have to admit, obviously apart from the bad habits, I am quite Dutch. -Bregje
photo credit: avlxyz Earl Grey. Hot. via photopin (license)

Geplaatst in Dutch, United States

Why?! 

Being a High School student in Winfield, Kansas I was frequently asked if Holland is near the Netherlands and if we speak Netherlandish?

Only a featherhead can ask a question like that, you might think, but actually I do understand the confusion.

Americans are citizens of the United States of America, Britains of Great Britain, Cubans of Cuba and so on, but what about the Dutch?

In France they speak French, in Turkey Turkish, in Germany German and in The Netherlands we speak Dutch!

To confuse you a bit more The Netherlands is also called Holland.

Another weird thing is the way the Dutch count. ’25’ is pronounced five and twenty instead of twenty five!

This all doesn’t make sense to me. Or will the Dutch proof that evolution CAN go in reverse. -Bregje

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

The heart and soul of Amsterdam

In August 2010, Amsterdam’s 17th-century Canal Ring was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. ‘Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO regards these sites as being important to the collective interests of humanity.’ But what about the heart and soul of Amsterdam!?

The identity of the Amsterdam culture is also determined by its residents. What really concerns me is that the balance between the amount of tourist and the residents of Amsterdam is really getting out of hand.

I developed an enormous allergy to a certain kind of tourist over the past few years. Some giveaways how to spot an obnoxious tourist. They wear ‘Amsterdam hats’, carrying Van Gogh Museum or Heineken gift boxes, wear their backpack in their front, ride and park their yellow rental MacBikes where ever they please, and get stoned and drunk all day, every day.
 Amsterdam is one of the biking capitals of the world and the Dutch are outstanding and experienced bikers. Unfortunately most tourist have never ridden a bike in their entire life and and therefore taking a ride of Doom on their rental bikes. Not to mention the pedestrians walking around like Amsterdam is as an open air museum, not paying attention to any kind of transportation.

The beer-bike tourists can be labeled as the most nuisance of all. Beer-bikes are huge pedal trucks for drinking party-crews. Aspecifically the kind that have decided their drunkenness would be even more awesome if broadcast to an entire city. This type of tourist like to show their appreciation for historic architecture mainly by urinating on it.

The presence of an overload of tourists in the city is an expense of the quality of life in neighborhoods, and it impacts the availability of affordable subsidised apartments. Amsterdam is overcrowded with tourists and forecasts show that this will only get worse.

Please do not rip out the heart and soul of my presious Amsterdam. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Aging 

Nobody is eager to get older. Time will leave its imprint no matter how hard we try.
Wrinkles, droopy eyelids, stiff muscles, drooping buttocks and breasts, vision and hearing deteriorates and so on. Suddenly we are turning from a spring chicken into a blue hair. Or even worse you develop some sort of dementia. You might slow down the whole process of aging a bit by a healthy lifestyle, but there is no way back.

Whiting your teeth, dying your hair, using anti-aging products, leaving your partner for a younger copy, exchanging your sexy lingerie for some shapewear, plastic surgery: for some a ‘no go’ for others it’s a fine solution. A social debate. What’s still excepted and what’s not, is a thin line. What do we tell our children when they want to have plastic surgery?

Aging gracefully is about more than looks. It’s about accepting and appreciating the inevitability of getting older, taking care of  body and mind, and being your best self at any age. Be honest it’s a radiant personality what makes you beautiful. My grandma, she was a dazzling beauty till her last breath at the age of 98. Why can’t we appreciate the beauty of getting older?!

I have to admit aging is easier when you have good genes. -Bregje-