Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Dutch Decade: Q&A with Invader Stu

As part of the Dutch Decade week I threw the floor open to you to ask me any question you liked about expat life or life in the Netherlands.....

Stuart* asked: What is the funniest language or cultural mix up you have experienced during your ten years in the Netherlands?

My Answer: Without hesitation, the funniest language mix up was when a pediatric nurse cast serious aspersions on Bert’s sexuality. My son, two at the time, had to go for an examination at Lange Land hospital. Whilst we waited for the nurse, he was busy with some toys that were scattered around the room. He picked up an Ernie, of Sesame Street fame, and began to play. 

The nurse appeared and to get him a little warmed up (some two year olds are not too happy when a stranger wants to poke and prod them) she asked about the cuddly toy he was holding,

“Nou, wie is dat?”

“Ernie,” replied my son looking at her as if she had landed from an alien planet.

“En waar is Bert?,” she continued.

“Bert’s at home,” he replied, turning back to continue playing with Ernie. The nurse looked a little shocked and turning to us asked,
“Wat zegt hij nou?”

“Bert is thuis,” my husband said “maar dan in het Engels. Hij heeft een Bert knuffel thuis.”

The nurse broke in to hysterics and we all looked at her. As if she had landed from an alien planet. 
“Ik dacht dat hij zei ‘Bert is een homo’.”

In the sterile surroundings of a hospital examination room, it was the laugh we needed.

What language or culture blunder has made you laugh?

*Stuart is the brains behind the near celebrity status expat blog, Invading Holland. Recently engaged to be married, a fellow Brit and nearing his ten year anniversary as an expat in the Netherlands, Stuart has been interviewed by The Telegraph and you may recognise his cartoons on The Stuart Britton Show website. Head over to for a seriously good laugh.

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