Nieuws - 18 augustus 2011

Stick to the agenda


The Dutch are well known for their punctuality, but sometimes their dedication to their schedule is really amazing. For example, no matter how hard they partied last night, and how messed up they are in the morning, if they have an appointment in the morning, then they will definitely come. And of course they will come on time.

To make sure they don't miss any appointment, the Dutch are accustomed to keeping a diary, which they call an agenda, and in which they note every single event in their lives: from the simplest to the most important things, including appointments, meetings, parties, sports events, deadlines, et cetera.
Every time you make an appointment with the Dutch, they will directly check their agenda - to see if they already have an appointment at the proposed time. If they are busy at the proposed time, they will search for available time and if you agree they will note the appointment in their agenda. It's also common during courses, when the lecturer announces an assignment deadline, for most of the Dutch students to take out their agenda to make notes, while the other students will just make notes in their lecture notebook.
I think the Dutch, their punctuality, and their agenda are like a triangle that cannot be separated from each other. I realize that even many Dutch friends who have smartphones - which definitely have planner functions - prefer to keep a book-form agenda for their schedules.
Well, I guess the old way is always better - or the smartphones are still not smart enough to keep you on schedule. 
Sacha Amaruzaman (Indonesia) MSc Environmental Science