an observation of the netherlands: its culture and its inhabitants
Version 3.1 -- the third edition (updated)
Colin White & Laurie Boucke
1993-1998, White Boucke Publishing, Lafayette, Colorado
"For those who prefer their sustenance in liquid form and a little stronger dan milk, Dutch bars are also places of intense social discourse and atmosphere. Some are open 24 hours a day, some daytime only, some evenings/nights.
If you drink alone, there is no chance of boredom as most bars provide a monumental display of curiosities and collections on their walls. If the bar has a history, you'll find it on the walls; if the owner has a history, you'll find it on the walls; if its name suggests a theme, you'll find it on the walls; and so on. If you find a bell hanging from a rope, or a rope hanging from a bell, don't ring it, despite possible encouragement from the locals. By doing so, you're agreeing to buy all present a drink of their choice. Be cautious when using the phrase, "Let's have a drink" (borrel or borreltje), as it can easily be interpreted as, "The drinks are on me."
Dutch gin (genever) can blow your head off. Dutch beer (bier; pils) is sweet, tasty and strong. Ordering a beer can be confusing for foreigners who attempt to do so for the first time in Dutch. No matter how you refer to a "beer" in Dutch, the bartender will respond by using a different term. Here, the obsession with diminutives (see Chapter 16) comes into play:
Mag ik een
(May I have a beer?)
Een biertje? (A beer? - lit., A little beer? doesn't refer to size)
Mag ik een pils? (May I have a beer?)
Een pilsje? (A beer? - lit., A little beer? doesn't refer to size)
For a small glass of beer, use the double diminutive:
Mag ik een kleintje
pils? (a small beer
- lit., May I have a small little beer?)
Een kleintje? (A small one? does refer to size)
Beer is generally served in small, flower-pot shaped glasses. When poured or pumped into these containers, a considerable amount of froth or "head" develops, which is sliced flush with the rim. The resultant offering often shocks European visitors. Germans laugh at the sawn-off "head" and protest the lack of quantity (as usual) while Brits laugh at the lack of quantity and protest the overabundance of "head". French and Italians just drink it and think romantic thoughts of home, while Americans eye it with pity, demanding,
I'll have a low-cal, low-cholesterol, extra oat-bran, sugar- and salt-free beer with a twist of lemon - and gimmie some diet floss and decafeinated ketchup with that!
Rock 'n Roll, etc....
The drink is the locally-bewed Heineken or Amstel Pilsener beer.
The Right Stuff
Understandably, the Dutch cuisine (see Chapter 17) is not so represented, but another lifeline is: Beer. Usually paraded as "HEINEKEN EXPORT -- brewed in Holland" or the Amstel/Grolsch equivalent, renegade Hollanders will flock to the stuff like iron fillings to a magnet and orgasmically utter:
<TO BE ADDED>
Maybe Dutchness ain't so dead in Australia after all!
One thing that will never die is the stubborn adherance to one of the
strongest hereditary weaknesses known to clogdom: the rivalry between
their best-loved brews -- Heineken and Amstel beers. But here the two have
learned the art of samen wonen and live peaceably in sin in
beachfront bliss in areas where their patrons are plentiful and well out of
sight of their Fosters parent.
Appendix A - A View of the Dutch through the English Language
Dutch feast: a party where the entertainer gets drunk before his guests
(The Oxford dictionary, Clarendon press, 1989, Vol. IV, p. 1140-1141.)
Dutch gleek: heavy or excessive drinking.
go Dutch: to have each person pay his own expenses.