Dutch Oddness

In the comments at Mr Worstall’s we’re making fun of the Dutch, particularly their reputation for stinginess which makes the Scottish look positively profligate by comparison. My input is as follows.

When I briefly lived in Thailand in 2010 I met a Dutch lady with a son of around five or six. She’d been widowed, her husband having a sudden heart attack in his mid-thirties while she was pregnant with their son. Her late husband was also Dutch and worked for a bank in a senior position, but I don’t know if stress played any role in his demise. It was a tragic story, with the only bright point being he’d been wealthy (or well-insured) enough to provide for his wife and son. She found it very hard to stay in the Netherlands afterwards, surrounded by memories, and decided to spend some time in Thailand, renting an apartment in my condo block where I met her. She was a nice woman, and doing remarkably well under the circumstances. I don’t know what became of her but if anyone deserved a spell of good fortune, it was her. Her kid was nice, too. I hope they’re doing okay, wherever they are.

Anyway, she told me her husband’s parents arranged the funeral in his home town, and she stayed with them a few days for the occasion. She said she got on with them okay, and was rather surprised a few weeks later to receive an invoice in the post: they’d charged her for parking in their driveway.

There’s nowt so queer as folk, as the saying goes, but the Dutch run them close.

Share

15 thoughts on “Dutch Oddness

  1. I’ll have you know that my father told me I’d been bounced on Dutch and Norwegian knees before ever I met an Englishman. I can remember when I was older that Dutch skippers would be invited round for a drink. They ran civilised ships, in the sense that they would often have wife and children with them (at least during the school holidays) and a bike aboard. My father had a soft spot for them, partly on their merits, and partly because he could remember the starvation he met when crossing into the Netherlands in ’45.

    I used to play in the back row of the scrum with a half-Dutch pal. I liked him a lot: we’re still in touch, decades later. He was British-raised, mind.

  2. What I don’t understand is why you would charge for someone for parking on the drive, but not for food consumed or use of a room for a few nights. The driveway is such a petty thing to ask someone to pay for, particularly since it doesn’t add any additional costs. If someone staying over necessitates a quick dash to the shops to top up on supplies, and you ask if they’ll go halves on that, I think most people would find that fair enough.

  3. I suspect it’s a sub contractor company thing.
    Just guessing
    You are near a train station, you have an unused parking space, you subcontract parking to some oufit with a cctv to collect a bit of rent.
    A licence plate gets recorded, demand for parking fee follows automatically.

  4. “I suspect it’s a sub contractor company thing.
    Just guessing
    You are near a train station, you have an unused parking space, you subcontract parking to some oufit with a cctv to collect a bit of rent.
    A licence plate gets recorded, demand for parking fee follows automatically.”

    it was their daughter in law, for god’s sake, they should have covered the expense or, if they didn’t agree her parking there shall have advised to move the car somewhere else. Such kind of pettiness in moments of grief and emotional distress quickly transforms in top grade assholery..
    Then:
    “…She found it very hard to stay in the Netherlands afterwards, surrounded by memories…”
    my hunch after reading all the above is there were not only the memories. And i perfectly agree with Tim she deserves a brighter future, for her and the kid

  5. They ran civilised ships, in the sense that they would often have wife and children with them (at least during the school holidays) and a bike aboard.

    Oh, I have a lot of time for the Dutch, I find them highly civilised, pleasant people in the main. But they have their oddities, like everyone else.

  6. I spent a fair amount of my career working with Dutch ship owners and a certain Anglo Dutch oil company, and found the cloggies about the closest thing there is on the continent to a Brit. Apart from a tendency to be bullied by their wives (aren’t we all?), they were always good company and brewed excellent beer – many cases of which I lost in bets over the years, whenever England played Holland. I still have a table rug and Delft ashtray on my desk for old times’ sake.

  7. I was in a coffee shop in the Netherlands this morning. Actually, let me get that right. I was in a cafe in the Netherlands this morning. I had a cup of coffee, and the bill was €2.70. I pulled the change I had in my pocket out, looked at a pile of 10 and 20 cent coins, and put them back in my pocket. Instead, I handed over a €10 bill. The girl behind the counter looked in her cash drawer and said, er, sorry, I’m short of change. You don’t have the exact amount do you?

    I then got the coins back out of my pocket and counted them all. They came to €2.60. In the UK a cashier would smile, say “that’s fine” and take the €2.60. Not in the Netherlands, though It had to be €2.70. After a short consultation with a colleague, I was asked if I could pay with a card. So I pulled out a Mastercard and paid with that.

    In many countries this is what I would have done first. However, far too many Dutch shops – including big ones like supermarkets – seem to take local debit cards and no other plastic, which is why it is one of the few countries in Europe in which I normally try cash first.

  8. My grandparents were Dutch. I still hold it against Grandpa (who might have charged for parking) that he gave up his Dutch citizenship in a fit of Verwoerdian madness, thus depriving me and my siblings of a Dutch passport. Old cvnt!

  9. They are weird for sure,but fantastic engineers

    Yup, especially in heavy lifting, dredging, and salvage. Clever folk, the Dutch.

  10. found the cloggies about the closest thing there is on the continent to a Brit

    Yes.

  11. Their dining establishments don’t know how to make tea, though; they default to the ghastly American practice of presenting you with a teabag and a cup of cooling water

  12. Their dining establishments don’t know how to make tea

    Or anything else. You don’t go to the Netherlands for the food.

Comments are closed.