Week 9: Tiny Kox and Social Policing

1) People put actual stuffed storks on the front of their house when they are expecting a baby, with its rear end sticking outside and its head poking inside. To passersby, it is meant to look like the baby-delivering stork flew straight into the window. I seem to be seeing a lot of storks come down around this time of year, so while I’m no mathematician, it sure does seem like lots o' Christmas babies seem to have been made in this neck of the woods. 🧐

2) Dutch people love naming their kids things that sound absolutely ridiculous in English. Names like Joke, Freek, or Fokker are totally normal here. In fact, more than normal: they are encountered frequently. A leading Dutch politician's parents decided to bless him with the name: Tiny Kox. Can't make this stuff up, folks.

3) “Dat kan niet“ is one of the most common phrases here. It means "that cannot be done." A close runner up is "Het is niet mogelijk” Basically, tough luck. You want your coffee with almond milk? NOPE. You want the cable guy to come this week? NOPE. The Dutch are direct and don't care what anybody thinks.

4) When it comes to fashion, not making too big of a statement with your clothing is the best way of making a statement. I tend to blend in here with my affinity for neutrals and minimalist clothing, but when I put on my bright neon colored mountain puffies and beanies, I'm a bit of an eye sore. 

5) Dutch people are super into social policing. They love to tell you their opinion on every little thing, regardless of whether or not its asked for. If I had a dime for every single person who tried to tell me how or where to walk my dog / how to pick up his poop / when was an acceptable time to cross the road, I would be as rich as Richard Branson. Fortunately, most of this social policing is mumbled and delivered in Dutch, so I just smile, say uh huh, and continue on my merry way. No bad days over here!

6) Speaking of social policing, the Dutch care a LOT about not wearing shoes in the home / gym. They require you to bring a non-outside pair of shoes to the gym, and will pull you aside and yell at you if they catch you doing so. I'm all for etiquette and cleanliness, but when I've walked two blocks down the street in brand new shoes and hop onto the treadmill, I struggle with really needing to bring an extra "fresh" pair of shoes every time.

7) When it comes to Dutch food, you've likely never heard of someone say 'hey let's order dutch takeout tonight!' why, you ask? Well, when it comes to food, Dutch people like to either: a) mash the hell out of something, b) boil the sh*t out of something, or c) deep-fry the crap out of something! Stamppot is a perfect example Dutch dish, consisting not surprisingly of: a) mashing and b) boiling. Step 1: you boil the shit out of various veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc.). Step 2: you mash the hell out of all of them, throw a little sausage on the side, and voila, a perfect Dutch meal! Other popular dishes include Zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut mashed with potatoes), Andijviestamppot (endive mashed with potatoes) or Boerenkoolstamppot (cabbage mixed with mashed potatoes)?! See a pattern?

8 ) Dutch expressions fall into one of 3 categories: expressions relating to farm life, expressions related to Dutch weather, and expressions that make absolutely no sense at all. For example: "als de hemel valt, krijgen we allemaal een blauwe pet" which translates to, "if the sky falls down, we will all be wearing a blue cap." HUH??

9) Another weird phrase: de kat uit de boom kijken, which means "you've got to stare the cat down out of the tree," which is essentially used in the context that sometimes in life, you've just got to let things work themselves out. 

10) A final phrase for your week: roeien met de riemen die je hebt, which translates to "row with the oars that are given to you," i.e. do as much as you can with the things you possess. May we all “bloom where planted” this week and do the most with what we are given - and then some! 👍🏼