Friday, 2 March 2012

The Dutch

I bumped into this picture on facebook. Although I have become partly kiwi I will always stay Dutch as well and inside I feel sometimes a little yearning to everything Dutch. Recognition flamed up when seeing this picture and I'll give you my perspective.

what younger tourists think we do
When I talk to young people in NZ, they do think Holland is all about drugs, and they get excited about it. Right.... not. Although there are many coffee shops in the Netherlands. I never went to one but people come there to buy soft drugs which are legally not allowed but the police tolerates it.
It is often popular with tourists and because of this tourist attraction they want to get rid of this popularity and want to introduce the "wietpas" which is a licence which allows Dutch people to become a member of coffee shops and makes it forbidden ground for tourists.
Many are afraid however that this doesn't solve any problem but moves the use to the street.

What older tourists think we do
Yep true They often ask me here about clogs. I tell them only some farmers still wear them but otherwise you never ever see them. Since I live here though I have a pair of little clogs in my house. Possibly to show that I am Dutch as I never had any relationship with clogs in the past.

What other Europeans think we do
Could be as many Dutch go camping and invade the camping grounds in France, Spain and Germany. Often they take half of the supermarket with them to eat their favourite foods. I think they love going to camping because it is an ideal place for kids and because they can stick together with other Dutch which is "gezellig"
We never went camping as my mum hated camping which is cramping (kramperen) according to her.

What soccer fans think we do?
Right!! I think Dutch people are pretty much individuals but with national soccer games (and on Queens birthday) they become one, are passionate and sing Dutch songs and dress in orange. I love it.

What we think we do?
I do think the Dutch are tolerant and liberal in many areas
There was always an attitude of "live and let live" and people with many backgrounds, religions etc lived peacefully together.
I have the impression however that in the past decades a fear started to burn
which has challenged the tolerance towards some groups.

What we really do?
Spot on That's what I remembered. I spend many many hours on my bike.
I biked for 8 years everyday from my town to the city to go to school. When my kids were small I biked everywhere with them. One sitting in a bike seat on the front and one on the back. Holland is a fantastic country for biking.

What I miss most is the Dutch "gezelligheid" which means fun, cosines, togetherness, comfort. It is hard to translate. We have this feeling here as well but I think the Dutch are top notch in creating this atmosphere.
I also miss the sense of humor which has a touch of irony, sarcasm. (Although since the earthquake I have enjoyed in Christchurch an amazing sense of humor) I always just loved "ouwehoeren" which means something like , talking nonsense, twaddle, talking pointlessly. We had a lot of fun doing that. I don't know if I lost that as you don't come across it here a lot even not among the Dutch in NZ. I guess we are adapting to the NZ way.

Anyway only 3 1/2 months to go before I will be immersed in it all again.

Underneath a nice song about the Dutch, which is old as there are now about 16 Million people in the Netherlands.


  1. I always think of the Dutch as very friendly and accomodating. I loved visiting Holland. What a nice picture you have given - I remember the bicycles too.

  2. Oh, I love this post. Being Dutch and living in the Netherlands I can inform you that I am one of the only people I know (example of 'ouwehoeren') who doesn't know what 'wiet' smells like.

    Hubs has clogs, but can't walk on them. I did have clogs when I was just a wee girl, but I can only remember that they made my feet hurt. But farmers do still wear clogs. Not all of them though.

    Caravans are generally thought of as 'burgerlijk' and boring, but at least half of the population owns one, hook it up to their car, fill it with potatoes and go off to France ;-)

    The 'orange army' are just barmy.

    Sadly a growing number of people aren't tolerant.

    And yes, cycling through rain, snow, storm... that is what we really do. Honestly. Proudly saying that we aren't made of sugar.

    That is one thing that hasn't changed since you left ;-)

  3. Got to visit Holland back in 1987 when I was in the army. It was a REFORGER exercise and I drove all through Holland and a lot of northern Germany. Beautiful country and friendly people, I hope to go back one day.

  4. It brings tears to my eyes, Marja, just the words, the accent, the voice. My ancestors and yours started off here. And now the place is so different but still in many ways the same.

    Thank you for this, Marja.

  5. ik ga akkoord!

    Hahaha! Love all the panels!

    I had a dutch boyfriend once, and I can see the truth in them all.

    I especially like the tolerance one.

    Athough I remain convinced that the Dutch have a pre-occupation with psycology (I have never met so many people dealing with 'issues'!), they are the most live and let live people I've met generally.

    They're good friends, fun people (outside the home!) and long may they continue.

    I'm worried that the confrontation with Islam and terrorism may change them.

  6. How wonderful what you wrote about my country! Thanks for the video and the photo. Camping was one of the favourite things my husband, children and I did. We always went to Scandinavia and Great Britain and were often the only Dutch people.We had a trailertent which was so lovely! Some years ago I even slept in a tent for a couple of nights in France.
    I was raised in Indonesia until I was 12. My parents were Dutch.

  7. There always remains a little of your mother land.

  8. Volgens mij moet ik gewoon Nederlands kunnen schrijven. Ja wat die mensen allemaal van ons denken daar moet je toch maar om lachen. Ik laat op mijn blog veel van Nederland zien maar ook van o.a. Engeland, Frankrijk en Spanje zodat ze een enigszins ander beeld van ons krijgen. Mijn foto van vandaag heb ik vanuit mijn raam genomen en geeft zicht op Rotterdam en zonsondergang.
    Hartelijke groeten van Riet

  9. Je bent (nog) goed op de hoogte van alle gewoontes hier. Zelfs van de veranderende verdraagzaamheid. Er zijn helaas een aantal mensen die zich achtergesteld voelen en daar op een nare manier kennis van geven aangespoord door een radicale politieke beweging. Hoop dat je een leuke tijd hier hebt en er niets van merkt.

  10. When I think of the Dutch I think of tulips, clogs and the dykes. When I think of Amsterdam, I think of Anne Frank, prostitutes and drugs. What a beautiful complex country. I can see the tolerant theme. Great Post.
    *Biking, that could be the solution to the worlds problems.

  11. There is nothing as heartening as a return to the homeland … the place that nurtures us in our youth. I like how you describe the camaraderie, nonsensical conversations and brand of humor shared by the Dutch people. I admit to imaging wooden shoes but also beautiful windmills when I think of Holland. And what could be more healthy than biking? Of course, I like that picture of someone bicycling with an umbrella. :))

  12. I am delighted you are returning to Holland soon. A trip home is always a joy

    A great post -


  13. I like your use of the expression "I bumped into this picture' - something I might do if I were tipsy at an art gallery!! ;o) It reminds me of your lovely Dutchness - or European-ness. And I like your mum's expression 'cramping' - it is perfectly apt!

    I like that people are different - and I do think the Dutch are very grown up and liberal (even if they sometimes talk jibberish!!?)

  14. Thats why they made a tourist weedcard website @

  15. Great post about this thing circulating around on the internet, Marja! I saw it too on Stuff Dutch People Like and was thinking of writing about it as well :-) I hope all is well & ik wens je nog een fijne week!

    A Touch of Dutch blog

  16. loved the word and its meaning of
    "gezelligheid".... Lovely informative post with lots of info I didnt know.. Wishing you well Marja and thank you for always dropping in to comment upon my posts xx Hugs Dreamwalker

  17. I always thought your clogs were for decoration. On Friday, I saw an elderly gentleman, he was wearing his clogs to go to the letter box,


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