Some time ago I was sitting in the kitchen and one Dutch roomy was telling us about his trip to the UK. He told us about all the places he went to and how beautiful it was. ‘The only thing is that…well, you know, in the evening we had to make our own salad, otherwise it would have been hard.’
My other Dutch roommate nodded understandingly, but I had no clue what he was referring to ‘What are you talking about?’ asked a puzzled me. ‘Well, British food is awful! They eat really unhealthily, a lot of fats, no vegetables. We needed something light and nice to take a break from all that junk food.’ I couldn’t believe my ears! Dutch people complaining about food from another country?! This was greatly upsetting to me. For obvious reasons, also pointed out on many occasions on the back page of Resource.
The Dutch have a very bad reputation when it comes to their cuisine. When I told people in Italy that I was going to The Netherlands for my studies I often got the reply: ‘How will you manage with the food over there?’ Or again: ‘A friend of mine is working there and he always eats alone, because his Dutch colleagues eat sandwiches at their desks. They don’t take lunch breaks.’ And of course: ‘The food is awful, you’ll only find peanut butter…’ And so on.
This scene in the kitchen of my student house made me realize how relative things are. It explains so much about the stereotypes and prejudices the people in the South and North of Europe have about one another. Or rather, how everything seems to depend on perspective, even if it it’s not ‘North’ versus ‘South’. I wonder, for instance, what people in the UK think of the Dutch focus on punctuality.
Beatrice Landoni, an MSc student of Plant Sciences from Italy
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NL: Alles is relatief
Haar Italiaanse vrienden hadden Beatrice Landoni gewaarschuwd voor ze naar Nederland ging. Zou ze het wel redden met dat vreselijke eten daar? Nederlanders aten toch alleen maar boterhammen met pindakaas aan hun bureau? Beatrice was dan ook zeer verbaasd toen ze in haar studentenhuis twee Nederlanders hoorden klagen over het beroerde eten in... Groot-Brittannië. Het deed haar beseffen dat je oordeel altijd afhangt van je perspectief.