Monday, November 16, 2009

The Dutch

Nigel Powers:
There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch.

I happen to quite like the Dutch. I like their bread, tulips are my favourite flower and Amsterdam is a fucken great place to kill an hour. And it's not just the drugs, although I did smoke a reasonable amount of hash there when I passed idly through in 1992 on my circuitous way to meet Perseus in Athens. It's the canals, the streetscapes, the buildings. The cafes in Jordaan, the pubs of Leidesplein, the buzzing markets full of useless stuff nobody needs. The people are friendly, they cycle everywhere, they speak excellent English - much better than my Dutch - and the beer is outstanding, despite the mediocre but ubiquitous Heineken.

So what did the Dutch do to provoke the ire of the British? I mean, let's look at the following examples of English idioms, most of which are at least vaguely derogatory:

"In Dutch with the wife." Implying that Dutch women are ball-breakers? Perhaps. I particularly like this expression. Almost as good as "In the doghouse".

"Dutch courage". Courage obtained from drinking. Does this infer the Dutch are wimps, and only gain courage from drunkenness? Probably.

"To go Dutch." To pay for one's own meal. Surely a shot at the alleged cheapness of the Dutch.

"Dutch tilt/Dutch angle". A tilted camera angle, particularly in film. Are the Dutch so drunk they can't keep the camera steady?

"A Dutch Act." Suicide, which is often regarded as cowardly.

"Dutch Auction." Effectively an auction where the price goes down instead of up. It's a twist on the supposed stupidity of the Irish. (Incidentally, you think the Irish are dumb? Scotch finger biscuits.)

"Dutch Oven". Sure it has culinary connotations but, let's face it, it's all about farting in bed and pulling the sheets over your girlfriend's head.

"Double Dutch." Shit that nobody understands.

Not to mention quite a number more, however dubious, on this list.

I love the Dutch, but I love the English language more.

28 comments:

Puss In Boots said...

I didn't make it to The Netherlands on my trip overseas. Maybe the British are just jealous the Dutch were clever enough to make their land mass bigger? And maybe also because they had to pay so much for their tulip bulbs in the 1600s.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Probably because the English and the Dutch Republic were major trade rivals and fought a number of wars in the 17th century.

That always creates bad feeling.

wari lasi said...

I had a good mate whose parents were Dutch (I know that technically makes him Dutch too, but he was an Aussie). Anyway, his father had the foulest temper, scary guy. His mother made the best croquettes ever, I've tried heaps of recipes and can't come up with anything anywhere near as good as hers. She got brest cancer and died really quickly. It was very sad.

And why do they call lesbians dykes?

wari lasi said...

That's breast with an a. Oops

squib said...

I know why but I'm too delicate to say

Talking of which, what is the problem with Scotch fingers, Lewd?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

And why do they call lesbians dykes?

Beats me, but that does remind me of a joke.

Two lesbians are walking past a newsagency when they see a newspaper saying "Floods in Holland; dikes threatened."

One turns to the other and says "There, see, see, A natural disaster and already they're blaming us".

And BTW, Rucker's Hill in Northcote is known by the locals as "Dyke Heights".

wari lasi said...

Leichhardt in Sydney gets "Dykeardt".

Squib, are you serious you didn't get Bob's joke? I think Bob and I are similar vintage (but I think I'm older) because I remember it from primary school.

squib said...

no, I don't get it

wari lasi said...

Stop being delicate squib. I need to know. Need is a bit strong but you know ...

And it's Bob's job to explain his own gag.

Lewd Bob said...

I was hoping I could avoid having to explain it, wari. Nevertheless, if I have to.

squib, picture a Scotsman digitally penetrating a chocolate ripple.

I'm going to have a lie down now.

squib said...

Jesus, I'm sorry I asked

Wari, you know the story about the boy and the dyke. It involves fingers, fingering, etc Get it? Good

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

This site continues to educate, as well as horrify.

Mad Cat Lady said...

My uncle Sidney had me searching for this book about the dutch armada recently too - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/all-quiet-on-dutch-invasion/story-0-1225732822216 - so another thing the english were cross with the dutch about.

TubularBells said...

My father has been known to ponder the long term effects on the Dutch gene pool as a result of eating tulip bulbs during various wars when food was scarce. (Tulip bulbs have some pretty nasty gene-mutating chemicals in them.)

patchouligirl said...

My father was working in Holland for a few years and I was born in Dordrecht during this time (1966). They always said the Dutch were very kind and considerate, especially as my mother only speaks English. Dad was already fluent in German and found the Dutch language easy to pick up. I know two older gentlemen who are Dutch (parents of friends) and they are lovely people. If you haven't tried speculaas biscuits give them a go. Stay away from the Dutch licorice though, its awful stuff.

Melba said...

I am impartial to the Dutch, but I'm a little annoyed that I'm too late to make the finger in a hole explanation. I have none of squib's sensitivity. Also squib my friend says thanks very much for the Charles, she was happy and intends to wear him to all her family dinners where she is surrounded by insufferable religionists.

I'm not impartial about tulips; they annoy also because they flop after about 20 minutes in a vase. Unless there's something I'm doing wrong?

catlick said...

Melba, tulips are cunts. It's not your fault. And as for "dykes" or, as they are known, "de-sal dykes": they are the ones hanging around Wonthaggi in plaid shirts.

Perseus said...

Anecdotally, I find Dutch women to be carefree, vivacious and very charming.

Every Dutchman I've met has been an absolute cunt.

Melba said...

I've only met one and I think he tried to initiate an affair with me even though he had a girlfriend, and I was on-off with someone.

Creepy. But perhaps inconclusive re his Dutchness.

Oh no, I have another example. A Dutch woman in Japan tried to have an affair with my husband, gave him her phone number at a party while I was around and made me so pissed off we had a huge fight and I threw my wedding ring in Osaka's river.

Conclusive.

patchouligirl said...

We had a Dutch family living in our street and they were very houseproud. They had a brick house painted white and the husband used to be in a continual state of repainting it, as soon as he finished he would begin again at the least recently painted bit. A bit like the harbour bridge. The house was immaculate and we only ever went inside once or twice during the 9 years I was friends with their son. Wonderful people though, and the father rescued me from a neighbourhood bully one time. The mother never got used to bushfires and would evacuate at the slightest hint of one.

Apparently in Holland it was customary to leave the curtains open for show so people could look in from the street and see how tidy it was inside so they must be a nation of neat freaks.

I never could figure out how anyone could find clogs comfortable.

eat my shorts said...

I've only got one Dutchie story. This particular Dutchman was a mate of my boyfriend at the time when an old schoolfriend of mine was having a birthday dinner.

The venue had been chosen & a couple of people weren't able to make it, so my friend suggested that maybe some of my boyfriend's mates might like to attend.

When I invited the Dutchman & he was informed of the date, time and venue he promptly asked "Couldn't we go somewhere else?"

I told him he could.

The poor bastard didn't even realise he'd pissed me off until the boyfriend told him. Then the Dutchie found me in the library while I was studying for exams and apologised profusely.

Having said that, olibollen rocks. Drool.

Dr. Golf said...

I love the Dutch.

But, my opinion on the entire race is based on two individuals, Guus and Pim.

homesick said...

A long weekend trip to Amsterdam was brilliant and the locals all very charming including the lovely hookers who told my friend and I who they reckon had the biggest dicks and who were the better lovers.

Fast forward two years when I take on Sales & Marketing Manager for a Dutch company selling advertising on postcards. Very successful in Holland but the UK agencies were having none of it.

Arsehole owner flies me to Amsterdam HQ for the day to meet with their star salesman so he could show me how its done. What a patronising cunt cunt he turned out to be. You'd think he was a bloody rock god by the way he presented himself. My favourite quote of his was "De ferkin Engerlish have no idea about advertsing or what they want... they should cancel all print advertsing and put it into postcards" I laughed.. he wasn't making a joke as I had thought* and was driven back to Schiphol in disgrace.

The UK business went under a few years later after they brought out the Boy Wonder to flog it to the London agencies as a last ditch attempt. Last I heard one of the Jordie media planners over at O&M decked him at an annual Media Awards evening and made him cry.

HAH

* Dutch don't have a sense of humour I was later told.

TubularBells said...

Anecdotally, I find Dutch women to be carefree, vivacious and very charming.

100% of the dutch women I know (that is to say all one of them) are the sort who come and stay on your couch for 10 day stints, and cry the entire time for reasons they are never prepared to discuss. I have had a lot of jobs where my role description has been "get people to talk to you about their feelings", so it takes a lot of active resistance to be able to spend 10 days at my house crying and never once indicate why. She does make fabulous croquettes though.

Lewd Bob said...

I hitch-hiked through the Netherlands and met a series of very generous and friendly people. They gave me free tours, food and beer.

Standing (illegally) on an entry ramp to a freeway outside Leiden, amidst very slow moving traffic, a police car pulled to a halt next to me. I feared arrest, intimidation and a severe yelling. All I got was this, from the female copper:

"You'll be waiting there a long time in this traffic, sir."

And they drove on.

Perseus said...

stay on your couch for 10 day stints, and cry the entire time for reasons they are never prepared to discuss.

It's because they have to live with Dutch men.

squib said...

intends to wear him to all her family dinners where she is surrounded by insufferable religionists.

Wonderful! That is payment in itself, Melba

WitchOne said...

I had a Dutch boyfriend for a while. He wanted to marry me, I'm guessing it was to stay in the country.

Now don't get me wrong, he was fabulous in bed and he paid for my divorce however, no one is that fabulous in bed that I'd be willing to marry him.

He asked his parents to come out to meet me, they were lovely, never tried her croquettes though and now I'm upset.