Organisation - March 17, 2010

An international mirror

Typical Dutch is a great column. It is often the first thing I read. It is like one of those distorting mirrors with an international slant built in. It is only when you can look at yourself through the eyes of a foreigner that you realize what a strange lot we Dutch are.

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Wageningen University wants an international image but this column shows up just how provincial we really are. Take our planned approach to life, our direct communication style, our croquettes and our penchant for salty licorice. Not to mention skating fever. We only really warm up when there is a thick layer of ice. Our foreign colleagues look on in amazement. And some of them write about it.
I am full of admiration for the writers of those Typical Dutch articles. What courage they have, to confront us with truths that we might prefer not to read about. They have the guts to write about their crazy Dutch colleagues and it must take some doing to stick their necks out like that. But I say: good on them! I think it is great. Keep on holding that distorting mirror in front of us. Confront us with our non-international behaviour. Be nice and direct, book time for writing your article in your full diary, and send it to the editors. They will be as happy as I am. And I am sure these pieces are devoured with Dutch greediness by many others too. We see the funny side of it.
As a token of their appreciation, the editors are now offering an incentive. Fifty euros if your article is accepted, and a packet of licorice into the bargain. Well, if that is not Typical Dutch, what is? The licorice must be for sharing though. Did you ever see a non-Dutch person who liked it?

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