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Showing posts with the label Dutch culture

Much to know about the Dutch!

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It's been almost a year since I left New York for the Netherlands. In fact, almost 15 years since I left India for the "West" (San Francisco, New York and Boston...got addicted to paying high taxes but apparently not high enough as I decided after all to come to the Netherlands ;-)

So, what do I know about the Dutch by now? In danger of reinforcing stereotypes n all, I plunge in...

1) They surely love to smoke. Smoking and cycling seem to be the national commuting style, with no helmets on of course. And this picture comes in family size too- often, a couple of babies are packed in at the front and the back to celebrate the economics of cycling!

2) They do love their flowers although admittedly not the flower festival as much...I think they surrendered Keukenhof, their annual flower fest to the tourists, willingly might I add. Why on earth they wonder would they PAY to see flowers? Only the dumb tourists and expats like myself would do something so silly. Of course though …

Flowers speak louder to the expat Dutch wannabe...but why?

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I ask my students if they are planning on going to the Keukenhof, the world's largest flower garden spectacle. They justifiably don't understand my pronunciation until a kindly soul who has mastered the deciphering of my butchered Dutch words rephrases the question for the class.

"Thats only for old people and tourists," remarks one, followed by unanimous nods from across the room.

I inform them that I just bought my tickets. In this masterful, single-handed stroke, I have just underlined in their minds how old I actually am!

I take this further. I ask my Dutch colleagues if they are going to the Keukenhof. They ask why would they? They ruthlessly disrupt my definition of this event as an "older Dutch sport" as absolutely lacking evidence and foundation. Not ONE 'older' Dutch colleague has been to it nor plans to go.

It's not like people here don't like flowers. On the contrary. This is a flower-loving nation. Its inherently unfair that the hip…