Holland, or more correctly The Netherlands, is a beautiful country, internationally famous for a seemingly awkward mix of more or less everything in between prostitution, windmills and wooden shoes, free drug use and tulips, the Amsterdam canals and our Argentine queen Maxima, a former exuberantly colonizing sea-faring nation and fries & mayonnaise. Once we were known for our liberal minds and tolerance, too.
I am Made in Holland; I have my roots, friends and family here. But then again, Holland is a small country and we live in a big world. I followed in the travelling footsteps of my far-forefathers looking for some overseas adventure. (Don’t worry, I’m not out here to rule, steal or murder.) Travelling is as much part of me as my Dutch roots. However, no matter how far I go or how long I stay away, I always come back to Holland.
That said, I never really got to know my country. I know my way around in a few places, but Holland is not one of them. It’s a shame how little I remember from what I once learned in school about history and geography. In my defense, the teaching was boring. But since I am a grown up I tell myself that one day I really have to catch up on Dutch history. Still have to, though. Also I figure I’ll travel The Netherlands when I get too old, restricted or retarded to travel the world… and I am not there yet.
However, two years ago when having an Argentine in the country for holidays, I took him and myself on a surprise tour. I loved watching him, enjoying those typical Dutch sights, landmarks, habits and pleasures that I overlooked for many years. It is very refreshing to look at your own hometown or country from a traveller point-of-view, making for a totally different, interesting experience.
So, starting today… well, any day soon … I intent to learn a bit more about my country. To do that, the first thing I’ll do when in Amsterdam is visiting the obvious tourist souvenir shop to see what they make people believe about us Dutchmen. It’d better be good.