How to be a Dutchie

The KB acquired a manuscript from mid-20th century in 2000, giving us a satirical view of the habits of Dutch people.

This colourful little notebook was made for the purpose of clearing away existing prejudices about Dutch people. The first pages leave no room for misunderstanding. We see a drawing of a Dutchman wearing clogs and a traditional costume, with a clay pipe in his mouth - and a big red X through the drawing. The text that goes with it has also been crossed out. The caption says: 'no! no! no! nonsense!'.

What follows might be described as a citizenship course. Foreigners are introduced to Dutch customs by means of fine pictures accompanied by explanatory texts in English. Some of the subjects raised are Sinterklaas, talking about upbringing, drinking tea and coffee at fixed times, fighting to get into buses and trams, eating 'heaps and heaps of potatoes', having at least six children, thirty different ways to say someone is silly, the traditional role patterns between men and women (a man who reads the paper while his wife is doing household chores is not an invalid),

discussions about whether lipstick is permissible, eating herring, the carnival season, silence for prayer before every meal however big or small, bicycle rides to the bulb fields, the golden coach and the concept of 'draughts' as opposed to ordinary wind.
This course holds up a mirror to Dutch people; after all, the traits - or new prejudices - it presents are not particularly attractive.
The authors, Willy & Lue, know Amsterdam well. Many of the drawings feature elements from Amsterdam. The presence of an appendix in which the colours gold, grey, green and red are presented as the colours of Denmark and the comment that the Dutch never say 'tak for mad' or 'velbekomme' when they eat their potatoes (Fig. fol. 9) suggest that a couple from Amsterdam living in Denmark produced this notebook. (AL)