On the Dutch

Fraser sent me a mail about Zlatan. As a reaction to that, I started bashing my own people. Fraser said that I should blog about it because he thought it was highly educational, and since I haven’t been writing anything here for a while because I lack the time and inspiration, I thought “why not publish our mails?” So here it is. To be read from bottom to top.
Ah and yes, there is some exageration here and there. Sue me.
Hi Dave,
This is great stuff, entertaining and educational.
The Heineken ad makes more sense now. It’s set in a supermarket, where
all the customers and staff are dressed in bondage gear with multiple
piercings etc. A similarly dressed customer is called a “weirdo” and
asked to leave when he asks if there’s anything else to drink apart
from Heineken.
You should write a blog.
Thursday, September 2, 2004, 9:27:31 AM, you wrote:
DR> Well that’s another thing: the Dutch are afraid
DR> of extraordinary people, freaks or whatever, but only when they are
DR> few. In the case of the Dutch football “fans” almost literally
DR> everybody dresses up in silly orange outfits. “Ha ha, look at us,
DR> we are a silly lot, we.” The do that, because “everybody does it”,
DR> so it is normal.
DR> There’s this Dutch singer called Frans Bauer who’s incredibly
DR> popular in the Netherlands, in fact, never has a singer been as
DR> popular as this guy. There was a documentary on him a while a guy
DR> and the interviewer asked the man in the street why he likes Frans
DR> Bauer. 9 out of 10 people answered: “Because he’s such a normal
DR> guy.” Not “He’s such agreat singer”, not “He’s so handsome”, not
DR> “His songs touch me in a way no-one else’s do”. That about spells
DR> it out, doesn’t it?
DR> Bands that sound “different” have no success in The
DR> Netherlands, atleast not until they have toured the US. Check
DR> Urban Dance Squad. Nobody wanted to hear them when they released
DR> their first album, but then they had a bit of success in the States
DR> and basically everywhere except in The Netherlands (and probably
DR> England, heh), and suddenly they were huge in The Netherlands, too.
DR> Until Rudeboy (the rapper) started bigging himself and his band up
DR> in the media (because well, he’s a rapper innee?) – they fell as
DR> fast as they had risen. In The Netherlands, that is. It has
DR> happened and is happening to so many bands.
DR> The Dutch are control freaks. Everything is taken care of,
DR> there are rules for everything, even for the things that are not
DR> allowed. Example: illegal postering in Amsterdam. You cannot put up
DR> a poster for anything without a permit, but of course there are
DR> subversive elements in society who don’t care about the rules, such
DR> as squatters, who organise illegal parties and such. They put up
DR> posters wherever they want to, which of course is unacceptable. So
DR> City hall placed three or four columns on random places in the city
DR> centre, especially for those who have no postering permit. So they
DR> can “illegally” put up posters.
DR> This is also where the drug and prostitution policies comes
DR> from: it’s not allowed, but let’s half allow it so we can control
DR> it (and getshitloads of tax money from the “illegal” drug dealers,
DR> pimps and prostitutes).
DR> Or the Dutch support for Bush and Blair’s war in Iraq: we
DR> kind of not agree with it, but we “support the allied forces
DR> politically”. What the hell is that? They want to say no to Bush
DR> because the people won’t have it, but they don’t want to say no to
DR> Bush because then Bush will get upset with the Dutch, so let’s
DR> support him anyway, but only half. As soon as the war was “over”
DR> they sent a couple thousand soldiers to Iraq. “Humanitary help”
DR> they call it.
DR> Of course this attitude has its good sides, a lot of things
DR> are allowed in The Netherlands that aren’t in other countries, and
DR> it’s also realistic to allow people to buy and smoke dope, because
DR> they will anyway. But the thought behind it I don’t like.
DR> And back to the footy: why do you think they hate Seedorf?
DR> Because he’s arrogant. He can’t keep his mouth shut, always knows
DR> better, doesn’t want to play on a position he knows and everybody
DR> knows he’s not the right man for. But he has to, because the coach
DR> says so, and so he plays on the assigned position. But it’s just
DR> not the right position for him, he should be in the centre, not on
DR> the right, not on the left. So he plays crappy, and then everybody
DR> says “See? He’s got a big mouth but he plays like shit” and then
DR> they boo him. So he doesn’t want to play in the Dutch team anymore,
DR> because after all, who likes to be bood when entering the pitch,
DR> especially by your own? So the Dutch say “See? That arrogant
DR> bastard, he doesn’t even want to play for the national team”. But
DR> every week we see him do brilliant things with his own club on
DR> telly. Well, used to, because he’s not that good anymore, but
DR> you know what I mean.
DR> It’s weird, the Dutch always want to be the best, they want
DR> to win with the most beautiful play of all, but to do that you need
DR> brilliant players. And brilliant players are usually arrogant, have
DR> a drinking problem or like the ladies a bit more than the average
DR> guy or whatever, and they don’t dig that in The Netherlands. “Just
DR> be normal,that’s already crazy enough”.
DR> Dave
DR> Fraser Lewry wrote:
DR> Woo.Great reply – very interesting.
DR> The phrase “Be normal, that’s already crazy enough” is
DR> interesting. Have you seen the Heineken advert which portrayed
DR> Dutch people as bizarre cross-dressing freaks? It was a part of a
DR> series of ads (I can remember Swiss and US ones) that were
DR> supposedly based on national stereotypes.
DR> Fraser
DR> Dave Roozendaal wrote:
DR> Ah yes, Zlatan. He’s a good lad, and a terrific player indeed.
DR> The thing is Ajax let him go for a mere 16 million euros, which struck me as odd.
DR> Since the boy is somewhat of a pain in the derrière, I
DR> suspect Ajax wanted to get rid of him. Which is very, very Dutch.
DR> Why, you ask? Well, the Dutch don’t like extraordinary
DR> people. One of the most popular phrases in The Netherlands is also
DR> one that is a painfully perfect example of the Dutch mentality:
DR> “Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg”, which means something
DR> like “Be normal, that’s already crazy enough”. Once a person stands
DR> out only a wee bit he orshe is taken down, eliminated, because,
DR> god forbid, he or she might think he or she is special. There will
DR> be no special people in The Netherlands! Just be normal, like
DR> everybody else.
DR> Why do you think the Dutch are always going on about the players’ big salaries?
DR> Zlatan is not normal. He’s a difficult man to deal with for a
DR> coach. Because Dutch coaches can handle a genius, but only when
DR> they follow the rules, just like everybody else. So no arriving
DR> late at training hour, no fancy car, no big house, no misbehaving
DR> on the pitch. If you do or buy any of those things, you will be
DR> gotten rid of, no matter how many beautiful goals you score, no
DR> matter how many opponents you ridicule with excellent play. You
DR> think you’re special, you go.
DR> Another thing the Dutch like to do is complain (this mail
DR> being a perfect example ;-)). So no doubt next Sunday we will be
DR> seeing and hearing Ronald Koeman go on about how all the good
DR> players are being bought by big clubs form Italy, Spain and the UK,
DR> and how Dutch clubs therefore will never have a chance of winning
DR> the Champions League.
DR> Ronald Koeman is the Dutchest of all coaches. He let Mido go
DR> because he wouldn’t listen to the coach, now he let Zlatan go
DR> because he isarrogant.
DR> What a bunt.
DR> Dave
DR> Fraser Lewry wrote:
DR> Hi Dave,
DR> I just watched footage of Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring an
DR> amazing goalagainst NAC. I knew he was handy, but not *that* good.
DR> So I thought I’d write and congratulate you on having such a player.
DR> So and google him to make sure I’m spelling the name right.
DR> And discover he’s just signed to Juventus.
DR> Fuck.
DR> Fraser

11 replies on “On the Dutch”

Once they got rid of Mido (or Dani, another fine example), he didn’t exactly blossom at the French team he went to. If he’s going to do well with Rudi Voller @ AS Roma, I seriously doubt it. A pain in the ass can be one thing, if you don’t fit in the team, the team don’t win, right? Take a player like Ruud van Nistelrooy, he’s a “common is crazy enough”-guy, but heck, does he know how to play in a team and score.

Footy magazine Hard Gras published a piece by a Swedish writer just before Euro2004. This perso claimed the Swedish couldn’t handle extraordinariness, and certainly not arrogance. This was supposed to be a very Swedish thing called Janteloven (though I’ve since heard this is well-known in Norway and Denmark too). No one should think they are better or bigger than anyone else.
It struck me that this poor Swede thought the Dutch were any different. But it’s probably a general northern European thing (maybe a protestant influence on our culture?)*
I’m sure he’ll be appreciated more in Italy.
*This could be true: catholic cultures love their excentrics, their weirdoes, especially if they are exceptionally gifted as well. Protestant cultures hate this.
As always, the British have a fucked-up love/hate relationship with people like these (but then their version of protestantism is just catholicism with the queen in place of the pope).

If that’s true about catholics, Zlatan would’ve been an excellent PSV-player. They had theire share of unmanageble players as well, Ronaldo, Romario, etc.

Interesting comment, Vasquesz. The British (more specifically the English) also have a love of eccentricity – the ‘English Eccentric’ is almost a stereotype in its own right. Think of The Moster Raving Loony Party, or even Paul Gasgoigne. They’re both loved and mocked, but always with a degree of affection.

Luba, —16th Sept. in the Beursschouwburg, Festival van Vlaanderen- Klara.—-
did you notice that Dave Douglas will be playing trumpet with Ikue Mori ( laptop) in BXL on

Dave, nice piece, found it very interesting to read part of your personal correspondence, looking forward to the next similar post 🙂

You’ll love this anecdote about Pieter van den Hoogenband I read in NRC (and with which he earned my eternal respect). The Dutch olympic swimming team would engage in some sort of lame role playing team building effort. Van den Hoogenband refused to take part. He preferred to train under the motto: “Topsport begint bij jezelf.” Guess who won the medals?
Never liked Seedorf though. It’s one thing to be sure of yourself if you are the best (like Lance Armstrong), it’s another thing to volunteer for a penalty and then miss it.l

Gracias a tu pagina he podido recuperar el manual de Urbanidad.
Soy profesora de etiqueta y protocolo y lo habia perdido. Es un gran tesoro gracias por ponerlo aqui. No he entendido mucho tu pagina, pero gracias.

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