Student - 10 november 2011

Souvenirs

Cheese, Delft blue or wooden clogs? What should I buy as the souvenirs for back home?

Last weekend I travelled to Volendam, a famous tourist attraction in Noord-Holland. Blending into the crowds, somehow I realized I was not a host but a traveller in this country. Since my return-home vacation is approaching, 'it's time to prepare some gifts,' I reminded myself. Even though I have been in the Netherlands for almost 15 months, it was my first time to take it seriously and scout shop by shop, not only for a good bargain, but more importantly for a right choice.

But the question was what the right choice was.

'Delftware?' my friend proposed. 'It's a decent option, but isn't it weird to buy some copycat ceramic goods back to a country prestigious on porcelain?' I responded with a rhetorical question. 'What about the wooden shoes?' my friend patiently offered me an alternative. 'Have you forgotten that giving a pair of small shoes* as a present is a taboo in China?' I replied impatiently. 'OK, what about cheese?' She gave me a third option, 'Not bad but I'd like to buy it somewhere else,' hopefully my friend wasn't pissed off by my picky crap. However sharp my tongue was, my down-to-earth mind eventually persuaded me to pay the porcelain shoes and three pieces of windmill refrigerator magnets: just because I have to bring something home for my relatives, especially back from this foreign country.

Possibly you enjoy the frenzy of souvenir shopping at the end of a journey, but I hate it. To be exact I would hate myself if I just picked up some cheesy gifts such as the key-chains. Luckily at the time of writing I haven't given any mediocre gifts to my good friends, hopefully they agree with me too. So...what kind of typical Dutch souvenirs should we take home? As a student in Wageningen, my economical recommendation is a a jar of Jodenkoeken, a bottle of wine made by the Wageningse Berg Winery and a bag of organic flour from the windmill "De Vlijt". If you have any better bid, please share with me!

*N.B.: 'Giving someone a pair of small shoes' is a Chinese saying, which means 'making things difficult for someone'.


Vid of the Week

During the excursion a Dutch demonstrated us the process of wooden-clog making.

Re:ageer