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 conscientious prose that long hours await me on the flight than back, it costs more because the turn of the earth betrays the plane. Also because upstairs I will not be able to write because the dream does not know whether to come or go when you are halfway, while in Amsterdam it is 5 in the afternoon, in Houston it is 10 in the morning; added the little credible irony of having left at 10 am when the destination was 3 in the morning. Tremendous raw data confusion for the gps that 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 from this side who hardly know about Holland: that there is The Hague where they judge our international troubles, that its culture maintains unmistakable icons such as shoes from wood and its windmills. Other fans of history will hardly know that Ruud Gullit played in a clockwork orange and more than one of them have listened to his habit of tolerance, poorly told by exchange students who bring back at least three reasons why they would go there to do their master's degree :

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 in the brothels, with the girls in the windows, an activity that is legal. A campaign by the tourist office suggests that if you went to Holland and did not consume what it produces, better not tell that you went.
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 getting an idea of ​​the Dutch context takes more than just a tour of the historic mills, the flowery tulip fields or the now also spectacular windmill plantations that are everywhere. So to avoid being simplistic, I note that this is just my perception from a particular point of view; in the middle of the coffee ... if they don't agree, everyone goes there and checks it on their own.

The newspapers are right there, for the passerby to take a look at the headlines; And although nothing should scare them, they are iterating on the Berlusconi scandal. They say that the three x's on the official flag could signify their tolerance for ways of life, which obviously clash with our context, although we are aware that irresponsible parenthood, corruption and social inequality are actions in our environment that are almost accepted as legal; they also consider it that way when they refer to us.

However, although in an almost religious way they proclaim non-racism, they do not necessarily practice it in the cultural context. They do not care about the sexual orientation that their son takes, but that he does not go to meet Moroccans after school. So you are likely to hear phrases like:

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

And that's how we human beings are. So different as the UTM changes areas, our prototypes regarding how the family should function, social relationships or the spirit of improvement are diverse. Surely more than once I must have looked corny to enjoy my children in the Mesoamerican style, more now that for the first time I have shown To a non-Hispanic speaking public.

Perhaps where we differ the most is in the demonstration of family affection, their family relationships are cold, not because it is bad, but because it is another environment. We also see some of this in some of our countries, but it is not the generality. The second master's degree or need to make some money has them disinterested that children are born, here we regret that our 26-year-old daughter is getting married, there they are in a hurry for her to leave quickly. 

"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 beginning, you don't see it on a short four-day trip when you barely have time to walk to a park (which is a pleasure of course), but where outside the ducks swimming in the cold water you only see Brown leaves falling from the trees and old people walking a stylized dog, getting 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 loyalty rules are his style, fair. If your son worked in a restaurant and his boss does not pay him because he has problems and is going bankrupt, for 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. Children also return loyalty, almost the same but not in an equivalent sense; Our concept of nursing home is of abandoned elderly people in our Hispanic cities, trying to sell crafts through the mesh that overlooks the public highway, just as they are, with the difference that they have a life of care with the money that the state must return to them. for contributing while contributing to society ... questionable for us, but preferable when we remember that many of our long-lived people are consumed in complicated diseases, alone, caring for grandchildren and without the necessary conditions that we are not capable of providing them.

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

But friendship in the heat of a good coffee is pleasant, meeting 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… (crime), due to the same European custom of only reading the headlines; and more if our press lacks education and lives off the tabloid news of organized crime and violation of human rights, added to the few efforts of our politicians from #% @ # 9 ... (not all but almost all) to do sustainable things or at least give a better image when they are ambassadors there.

Deep down they are like us, humans. Admirable for the order they have in adhering to rules that have taken them years to build, such as the Amsterdam road system, with a complex network of metro, private vehicles, routes for cyclists, trains and waterways. Their concerns are the same as ours, but with different evidences: there, no one boasts like here about a gigantic truck, which in some extremes is known as the third testicle. No, they use a compact car, for adults the boat (in decline) and on the rise the scooter: although the essential thing is the bicycle. The price does not matter, yes, with a piece of lock that is worth more than the same, if you don't want it to be stolen and it ends up dumped in a channel.


Society is fairer in many ways, although still, 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 will get you for 15 Euros some headphones for iPhone worth 60 in the shop. They would even applaud your cunning and tolerate your not disclosing the source as part of your privacy.

There is no blatant theft, but it's so fine that your wallet can be pulled out in a neatly planned rose. You do not report it because it is an accidental loss, extreme to ours that with drug trafficking and organized crime we have the cry in the sky. There you can walk for hours with your iPad in hand and in general people would not harm you, because time and the law have made them mature. The tricks are on another level; They fear the law because they know that urinating in the street can cost them 200 Euros, but once they are arrested they can make the life of pictures to the police in a single night. Ask the guard for water every 5 minutes, if he refuses it, he could go to prison for a month; When the guard is tired you tell him that you want to urinate, if the guard does not hurry you urinate inside and now he will not only have to defend an accusation for negligence but also clean the filth. And when you are 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, age, fines, and institutional discipline make people respect the law. Although you may still see someone riding a bicycle with one hand and talking on the phone with the other, or a girl with her dog in the front basket who just makes a bad move and gets her tail tangled in the spokes of the front tire to get crushed in the middle of a road chaos.

This is how we humans are, different. This is the impression I have of them, in the street everything is in a hurry, the train, the subway, the taxi, the years, everything.


Except in a cafe, where time mysteriously stands still. No one has an urge to end the conversation. No one. To the degree that I have been able to 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 and interpret it.

-Gofuma, Geofoma, Geofumadas!

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

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