Netherlands Ambassador Reminisces about Amsterdam and 'Going Dutch'
The Dutch reputation for thriftiness is not entirely without justification, acknowledged Hendrik Jan Jurriaan Schuwer as he prepared to wrap up his mission as the Netherlands' ambassador to the United States.His countrymen have long believed that "what you don't have, you cannot spend," Schuwer says in explaining the philosophy behind the expression "go Dutch," meaning to share a restaurant or other bill."My parents bought their house basically with cash. I bought my first house with a mortgage, and my father called me and explained to me that I had sold my soul to the devil," Schuwer relates with a laugh."Now I think everybody in Holland has a mortgage," he adds during an hour-long interview in his simply furnished Washington office. But for the generation that had gone through the Second World War, the credo was "don't be ostentatious, don't spend too much, etc., etc." Even today, Schuwer says, many Dutch people insist on living strictly within their means, especially in the countryside. There, he says, one still hears the expression, "One cookie is more than enough with the tea, not two cookies."Despite having enjoyed a long career representing his country abroad – including a dozen years in the U.S. -- Schuwer can still feel nostalgic for his homeland, especially its capital city Amsterdam."At 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, you can sit outside on the canal and drink your coffee; the city is slowly waking up -- people have all been out partying on Saturday evening. You can look out and imagine: This is what it looked like in 1650."Take away the automobiles, "all the houses are basically the same [as they were in 1650]," he says; "the cobblestones on the streets are the same, the boats on the canals are the same, the little bridges are still the same; it's... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Netherlands Ambassador Reminisces about Amsterdam and 'Going Dutch', simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Sunday, 25 August
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