Sunday, October 17, 2010

8 Things the Dutch do Better than the English

Inspired by a brilliant blog post on Smitten by Britain about things that Brits do better than Americans, here are eight things that the Dutch could teach the English a thing or two about.

1. Celebrating Defeat
Never mind that the Dutch lost to the Spaniards in the World Cup 2010 final - the after party was amazing. For one afternoon, everyone actually forgot that the Dutch had not brought the World Cup home. The English on the other hand, particularly the media, would have slaughtered the English team for losing the final. The English revel in defeat - it gives them something to moan about.

2. National Holidays
When the Dutch party on a national scale, the Dutch really party. The Queen's birthday (which isn't actually the Queen's birthday) is all the excuse the Dutch need to celebrate. The country turns orange, is adorned with flags and everyone takes to the streets. The English like to pace themselves, celebrating in this fashion perhaps once every 25 years coinciding with a jubilee of the British Queen. The last knees up was in 1977. The next one is 2012. St. George's day, the national day of England, is still lacking any form of real celebration.

3. Telling It Like It is
The dutch don't hold back when it comes to speaking their mind. If they think it, they say it. Known for their bluntness, the Dutch make the English look like stuttering fools in the department of expressing their thoughts.

Photo: Luca Baroncini
4. Balancing Work and Life
The Dutch have got work life balance down to a fine art. Not that they are slackers. Not at all. It's just that whilst the English are contemplating life over their second cup of coffee at the breakfast table, the Dutch are already at their desks. And have been for hours. It means they can leave the office earlier and spend time with their families in the late afternoon/ early evening. The English have a long hours work culture - the longest work week in Europe in fact. Guess who are happier.....

Photo: Keith Syvinski
5. Greeting Strangers
From doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms to elevators, the Dutch don't hesitate to greet the entire waiting room or lift as they come in - loudly and confidently. The English on the other hand are masters of pretending that no other human being exists within a radius of half a kilometre. They put their heads down and stare at their feet. Should any sound pass their lips it is a bumbling mumble.

6. Flowers
The Dutch do flowers so much better than the English. In fact, the Dutch do flowers better than any other nation. They don't need an excuse or special occasion to adorn their houses with flowers. Dutch men don't need a reason to buy the women in their lives flowers. They are cheap and in abundance. The Dutch have made a tourist industry (as well as an economy) out of flowers.  Many English men however, still think they need a reason to give their partners flowers and usually use them as an apology.....

7. Taking the Work Out of Dinner Parties
When the Dutch host dinner parties they cleverly leave the cooking to their guests by getting the fondue out or 'gourmetting'. The English make hard work of at least a three course meal.

8. Post-Natal Care
Supplying a maternity nurse for the week after childbirth is part of the course in the Netherlands. Every mother is entitled to post-natal care that makes other nations green with jealousy. In England you are sent home from the hospital after a few days and left to discover the essentials of baby care for yourself.

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