The Dutch context, reflections of a Latin American

The Netherlands is still the point of reference for several events in the technology sector, but before I immerse myself in some issues that I do not write for, like the Last times of my travels I want to release some conscious prose that await me long hours on the flight back, it costs more because the turn of the earth betrays the plane. Also because I will not be able to write above because the dream does not know whether to come or go when you are halfway there, while in Amsterdam they are the 5 in the afternoon, in Houston they are the 10 in the morning; added the little credible irony of having gone to the 10 am when the destination was the 3 at dawn. Tremendous raw data confusion for the gps we carry inside.

I will release this article with something more than a double intention, although with the generality of informing because I suppose there will be those who from this side hardly know of Holland: that there is The Hague where they judge our international affairs, that their culture maintains unmistakable icons like the shoes of wood and its windmills. Other more fans of history will know that Ruud Gullit played in the mechanical orange and more than one has heard his custom for tolerance, badly told by exchange students who bring back memories at least three reasons why they would go there to do their mastery :

Amsterdam For the exquisite museums, Among them is the Heineken beer museum, a drink that is consumed as if it were water, including the medical recommendation of 8 daily glasses for health.
Amsterdam By the spectacle of the nocturnal illumination, including the red ones of the brothels, with the girls in the showcases, activity that is licit. Suggest a campaign from the tourist office that if you went to Holland and did not consume what it produces, you better not tell us what you were.
Amsterdam For the good taste of a cafecito, Very frequent throughout Amsterdam, where they serve a coffee with a piqué of marijuana, that also is consumed of licit way.

But having an idea of ​​the Dutch context takes more than a tour of the historic mills, the flowery tulip fields or the now spectacular planting of windmills that are everywhere. So to avoid sin of simplistic, I notice that this is just my perception from a particular point of view; Half of the coffee ... if they do not agree, everyone goes there and checks it on their own.

The newspapers are right there, so that the passer takes a look at the headlines; and although nothing should scare them, they iterate in the Berlusconi scandal. They say that the three x of the official flag could mean their tolerance to life forms, which obviously collide with our context although we are aware that irresponsible paternity, corruption and social inequality are actions of our environment almost accepted as lawful; they also consider it when they refer to us.

However, although they proclaim non-racism almost religiously, they do not necessarily practice it in the cultural context. Little do they care about the sexual orientation their child takes, but that they will not join Moroccans when they leave school. So it is likely to hear phrases like:

"I'm not racist, but I'm afraid of the Poles and I can not stand the Moroccans ..."
"Children, we are not racist, but we do not accept them because they harm our society ..."

And that is how we are human beings. As different as the UTM changes its zone, our prototypes regarding how the family should function, the social relations or the spirit of improvement are diverse. Surely more than once I have had to see myself cheesy for enjoying my children in the Mesoamerican style, more now than for the first time I have shown To a non-Hispanic speaking public.

Perhaps where we most differ is in the demonstration of family affection, their family relationships are cold, not because it is bad, but because it is another environment. Some of this we see also in some of our countries, but it is not the generality. The second masters or need to make some money is disinterested that the children are born, here we regret that our daughter of 26 marries years, there they are in a hurry to go fast.

"You know my best advice, daughter, use a condom, I'm not interested in your business, as long as you do not bring a monkey here before the title."

AmsterdamAlthough as I said at the outset, you do not see it on a short four day trip when you barely have time to walk to a park (which are a treat of course), but where out of the ducks swimming in the cold water you only see Brown leaves falling from the trees and elderly people walking a stylized dog, bored in solitude and pension ...

There are no children, if they did not count, we do not count for them because they still return the message. So look with the dog, because sure is the only heir.

Of course, the rules of loyalty are in their style, fair. If your son worked in a restaurant and his boss does not pay him because he has problems and goes bankrupt, by 80 Euros you do not take him to court, but you go to eat at the restaurant with your family and you do not pay the man ... arguing that you will do it in a few months, when I pay your son. The children also return loyalty, almost equal but not in an equivalent sense; our concept of asylum is of abandoned old people in our Hispanic cities, trying to sell crafts by the mesh that gives to the public road, just as they are, with the difference that they have a life of attention with the money that the state should return them to quote while contributing to society ... questionable for us, but preferable when we remember that many of our longevity are consumed in complicated diseases, alone, taking care of grandchildren and without the necessary conditions that we are not able to give them.

I pause to clarify that I am not prejudiced with the Dutch, nor with our Hispanic customs. I only give examples because of the difference in context.

But friendship in the heat of a good coffee is pleasant, meet again in Leidseplein a couple of countrymen adapted to that environment after 18 years is interesting. Although as they embrace that culture they accept that they would not return to this country of #% @ # 9 ... (delinquency), for the same European custom of just reading the headlines; and more if our press suffers from education and lives on the yellow news of organized crime and violation of human rights, added to the few efforts of our politicians of #% @ # 9 ... (not all but almost all) to do sustainable things or at least give a better image when they are ambassadors there.

In the background they are like us, humans. Admirable for the order they have in adhering to rules that it has taken them years to build, such as the road system of Amsterdam, with a complex subway network, private vehicles, routes for cyclists, trains and waterways. Their worries are the same ours, but with different evidences: there nobody presumes like here of a gigantic truck, that in some extremes is known him like the third testicle. No, they use a compact car, for adults the boat (in decline) and the motorcycle boom: although the essential thing is the bicycle. The price does not matter, yes, with a piece of padlock that is worth more than the same, if you do not want to be stolen and ended up in a channel.


Society is fairer in many ways, although they are like us, they do not lose the falsehood: you hate the Poles because they are associated with crime, but you accept that your nephew gets you 15 Euros a headset for iPhone that is worth 60 in the shop. They would even applaud their cunning and tolerate not confessing the source as part of their privacy.

There is no shameless theft, but it is so fine that you can get your wallet in a neatly planned rose. Do not denounce it because it is an accidental loss, extreme to ours that with drug trafficking and organized crime has the scream in heaven. There you can walk for hours with your iPad in your hand and in general people would not hurt you, because time and the law has made them mature. The tricks are on another level; They fear the law because they know that urinating on the street can cost them 200 Euros, but once they get jailed they can make the life of pictures to the police in a single night. Ask the guard for water every 5 minutes, if he denies it he could be imprisoned for a month; When the guard is tired, you tell him you want to urinate. If the guard does not hurry, you will urinate inside and now he will not only have to defend an accusation for negligence but also clean up the filth. And when you're in court, which is the next day ...

- Judge, I am an honest citizen, I do not hurt anyone, I regret to have committed this fault however I am not willing to pay the 200 Euros, because I think they would be more useful 32 hours of my time serving people in need in a hospital .

So yes, the years, fines and institutional discipline make people respect the law. Although you can see someone driving a bike with one hand and talking on the phone with the other, or a girl with her dog in the front basket who only makes a bad move and tangles her tail in the spokes of the front tire to get ground in the middle of a road chaos.

That's how we humans are, different. That's the impression I have of them, in the street everything is going fast, the train, the subway, the taxi, the years, everything.


Except in a cafe, where time mysteriously stops. No one has an urge to end the conversation. No one. To the extent that I could have a coffee, a strange sandwich with egg, write my article and just as I was leaving the waiter saw my identifier, after making a couple of forced attempts he could pronounce it and interpret it.

-Gofuma, Geofoma, Geofumadas!

And he invited me another coffee, courtesy of the house.

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