I was on a trip to Valencia in Spain with my Dutch and Chinese friends, to visit our Spanish AID friend and her family. Enjoying the Spanish weather, we decided to walk around a lovely big park in the neighborhood of some iconic Valencian buildings. There we saw some tall people cycling in shorts, which made my Spanish friend’s parents ask whether they were Holland people.
For a short moment, we observed the cyclists and tried to analyze them with full attention. Then my Dutch friend said: ‘No, they are not Dutch.’ ‘How do you know that? They really look Dutch, are you sure?’ we responded with puzzled looks.
She reasoned: ‘Because the guys do not use gel in their hair. Don’t you know that Dutch guys use one kilo of hair gel on their heads every day?’ Of course we all burst out laughing at her hilarious answer.
After coming back here to Wageningen, I paid more attention to the wet-looking, stiff hair I saw around me and realized that it is probably true! I have been wondering why Dutch guys use so much gel. Perhaps it is because they want to maintain their hairstyle while cycling against the Dutch wind.
Calvin Lo, MSc student of Biotechnology, from Indonesia
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to email@example.com and earn twenty-five euro and Dutch candy.
NL: Kilo’s gel
Calvin uit Indonesië wandelde met een internationaal gezelschap door Valencia toen hun oog viel op lange, fietsende mensen in korte broeken. Waren dat Holland people, wilden de Spaanse aanwezigen weten. Ze keken allemaal eens goed en toen zei hun Nederlandse vriendin: ‘Nee, want de jongens hebben geen gel in hun haar.’ Er werd hartelijk om gelachen, maar terug in Wageningen ging Calvin er toch eens op letten. Hij ontdekte dat Nederlandse jongens inderdaad vaak glimmend, rechtopstaand haar hebben. ‘Misschien omdat het dan goed blijft zitten als ze tegen de Nederlandse wind in fietsen.’