Crazy Dutchies: Part I

Dutch people are an amusing interesting folk, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like them. Some of the things they do are just plain weird. Curious? Get ready for a little summary:

1. The Law
As in every other country, the Dutchies have their law. But not only is it the least strict law known to humanity, it’s also the strangest one. Why? Well, let’s say you cross the speed limit with 3 kilometers per hour. You’ll get a large fine for sure. But, if you decide to spend 10 years of your life stealing money from old people (and we’re talking a total of several millions here), they might put you in prison for 2,5 years. Yes, might. Being in prison is expensive, so they might just let you go because that’s cheaper. Murder gets you 2-5 years as well, by the way, so if you ever need to get rid of somebody… Haha, just kidding. Moral of the story: crime pays here. But only if you do it right. 

2. Prisons
Dutch prisons are unlike any other prison I’ve ever seen (on TV that is ;)), and mostly they’re reminiscent of four star hotels. A Dutch prisoner has a cell of his/her own, 4 meals a day, TV in the room, and if desired a PlayStation/XBOX/whatever can be brought in. They have time “off”, time to exercise, and what not. So if and when they put you in, enjoy. Because in this country, for a lot of people life in prison is by far more luxurious than daily life.

3. Politics
Politics-wise, this is a strange country as well. Every idiot with an x number of supporters’ signatures can start a political party. And that’s how, in 2006, we had a pro-paedophile political party, the “Party For Neighbourly Love, Freedom and Diversity”, which we “normal folk” called the “Pedo Party”, because that’s what it actually was. Luckily, it turned out that they didn’t get enough support to become eligible for election, and the party was dissolved in 2010. But seriously… Pedo party?

4. Legalization
As known to most of you (since that’s what the Netherlands are famous for), soft drugs and prostitution is fully legal here. The reasoning behind the first one is that, if it would be illegal, more people would be using because everything that’s illegal is attractive. Pretty smart, huh? If you ask me, both of these points are merely there to generate more income from tourism. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing to see here, really.

5. War
Unlike a lot of other countries, we haven’t really had in-country wars after the 1800’s. Sure, during World War II we hated the Germans (still do) and printed illegal newspapers, and sold out our Jewish neighbours (although everybody will tell you they didn’t), but apart from that… But we love to meddle help out other countries. So we’ve messed around in Bosnia during the Bosnian Wars (up to date, nobody really knows what happened there, but it sure was sufficient for the entire 2002 government to resign), hated Serbia during the Kosovo war, and we’re currently involved in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libiya. And when one of our soldiers dies during war, it’s national news. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t death a risk during war? I doubt that Americans -who have by far more soldiers stationed there- collectively cry every time something happens. On top of that, it’s not that we’re in to help out all those Afghans/Iraqi’s/whatever, noooo… We’re in to support the United States. Because if and when we’ll have warfare of our own (terrorism and all that), they will support us back… Which makes sense, until you realize that the Netherlands are so freaking small, that war here would be the most pointless thing ever. And not only because of the fact that if you drop a bomb here, the whole fucking country is gone. Terrorists are idiots, but they’re not that stupid.

See what I mean? They’re just plain weird… In fact, there’s more, but  I’ve decided to make a series out of it because it’s way too much for one post. And we wouldn’t want any Dutchie overkill, now would we?

Anyway… Feel free to share your thoughts and as always, thanks for reading!



Newsflash – Trains Going On Schedule!

I came across a news item on trains the other day. It stated that the NS (Dutch Railway Services) has gained a new record for trains being on schedule last year. While I was still in University, I had to go by train daily, and I’ve had many moments of frustration while doing so because of the trains simply not following their schedule. It used to be a huge nuisance, until I took a four week train trip across Eastern Europe with a friend.

We decided to go by train pretty much because we didn’t have any other options. Both of us didn’t have a drivers license, and I tended to go crazy on planes, which is not charming at all. So we took off one early Saturday morning, to go to Slovenia first. All good, had to switch trains a few times, but nothing unexpected, because we had that part planned out pretty well. We arrived in Slovenia after approximately 14 hours (which is, by the way, literally a pain in the ass time to be on a train!), and decided to stay there for a couple of days. After a day or two, we wanted to take a daytrip to Zagreb in Croatia, which is only a few hours by train from Ljubljana. All good again, until the part that the train had a breakdown of some sort, and didn’t cross the border into Croatia. Luckily, we were feeling adventurous, so we crossed the border by foot. At the time, that felt really awesome for some reason. After we crossed the border, and ended up on a small road, we started to look for the train station. After being questioned by the police -up until today no one knows why they stopped us- we finally found the station and continued our trip. Again, all good, and Zagreb was lovely!

A few days after that, we decided to continue our trip and go to Bosnia. We were supposed to take the same train to Zagreb, as we did last time, and switch to a train for Sarajevo there. No problem there, unless the train would break down again, but we guessed that they probably don’t break down that regularly and left. We had to switch trains somewhere in the middle of nowhere again, but there was some time in between them, so we just hung out and admired the nothingness. And the cows. After quite a bit of waiting, it seemed that the train we had to get, had a delay. When you live in The Netherlands, a delay is usually not longer dan 15 minutes; enough to be late, but not ridiculously late. Well… Guess what? In Slovenia, they last for at least an hour. I guess anywhere before that would just be marked as “in time”.

After quite a wait, a train to Zagreb finally arrived and we got on it. Once in Zagreb, it turned out we’d missed the connection to Sarajevo. Dutch as we were, we just figured to take the next one, since we’re used to having 4-8 trains to one place every hour, which is great because you never have to wait long for the next one. But, as you’ve probably guessed by now, in Croatia they don’t groove the same way. Not just a little, nooooo, they have a groove of their own: The next train to Sarajevo would leave the next day, meaning there was only one train going there every freakin’ 24 hours!

And that was just the first week of our trip… But this wouldn’t be a good story if there weren’t any morals, so here goes:

– If you’re ever thinking of taking a train trip outside of the European Union: DON’T. Their unscheduledness isn’t even the worst part of those trains. Their smell is.
– NS really isn’t that bad (unless there’s snow out there). They’re just ridiculously overpriced.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little rant ;)