After your first weeks or days in the Netherlands you probably will have found a lot of things that are typically Dutch. But are they as Dutch as you think?
If you arrived here by train, you have probably seen thousands of them: bikes. The bike is the number one way of transportation in the Netherlands, and there are very few Dutchies who do not own one. The Dutch landscape is ideal for biking and every Dutch city has special biking lanes. Even when the weather is terribly bad, the Dutch are biking happily around the city. So we can agree, the bike is typical Dutch, is it? No it is not. The bike may be integrated perfectly in the Dutch culture, but it was a Frenchman that invited the bike: Pierre Michaux.
Did you go shopping in the Herestaat last weekend? And did you hear the barrel organ? On busy shopping days you will find it in every Dutch city center, playing all kinds of Dutch song. We even love the barrel organ so much that at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010 in Norway, the barrel organ was flown in to complete the act of the Dutch participant Sieneke. But is the barrel organ really typical Dutch? No it is not, originally the barrel organ is from Italy, and in Belgium and Germany it was used earlier on than in Holland.
Obviously the Dutch love cheese! It is so popular that in most households there is even a special cheese slicer: the kaasschaaf. This slicer is about the most dangerous thing you can find your fingers, but it works perfectly on Dutch cheese. So the cheese slice is typically Dutch is it? No it is not, the cheese slicer is invented in 1927 by Thor Bjørklund from Norway. The Netherlands is not the only country where the cheese slicer is in common use Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany do use a cheese slicer as well.
In springtime, The Netherlands are coloured by the country's most famous flower: the Tulip. The Netherlands is the number one tulip supplier worldwide. Thousands of tourist are visiting the Keukenhof and tulip fields every single year. But how Dutch is the Tulip? The Dutch climate with its cold winters is perfect for the tulip, but the original the tulip is from Turkey. The tulip was imported into the Netherlands in 1593.
Already met Dutch people? In that case you probably have tried drop (liquorice). The black salty sweet that the Dutch love, and the rest mostly hates. But did we invent it? Negative again, the Egyptians made it as well, it was even found in the graves of the pharaohs! Of course, the recipe is changed over the years.
And last but not least, the Netherlands are well known forthe mills. In the 16 th century the mills were necessary to keep the low parts of the Netherlands dry. They have to be Dutch, don’t they? No even the mills are not Dutch from origin, credit should be given to the Chinese, who can put this is in their extensive list of inventions.
So after looking into all these ' typically Dutch' phenomena, maybe we can say that it is typically Dutch to embrace foreign inventions.
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