Xenophobe's® Guides: The efficiency in Dutch culture
Dutch life runs with a quiet efficiency, due to a belief that good organisation helps make life 'gezellig'.
Xenophobe's® Guides: A book series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations with insight and humour.
Dutch life runs with a quiet efficiency. Streets are cleaned and letters are delivered the day after they are posted, without any fuss, simply as a matter of course. Unlike the Germans, the Dutch are not ostentatious about achieving this order, nor are their systems fettered by tradition, like those of the English.
A good example is the system employed when the Rolling Stones announced an impromptu concert in Amsterdam in a hall which could accommodate just 1,200 eager fans. The organisers let it be known that there were three possible ticket outlets, but that only one of them at the given hour would actually have tickets on sale. As the points chosen were sufficiently far apart, this not only prevented a large queue forming at one place, but instantly reduced the numbers by two-thirds. Then, the box office which was doing business with the lucky ones, instead of issuing tickets, gave out plastic bracelets, which would break if removed. In this way only those who had gone to the trouble of queuing could get into the concert, and there was no temptation (indeed, no possibility) of reselling tickets at a substantial profit.
Good organisation helps make life gezellig, and is worth whatever it costs (though it doesn’t do to flaunt your success at it), and changes that improve old ways are readily accepted.
Respectable citizens participate in life’s systems – public and private – with honesty. They run up tabs at the bar, and don’t disappear without paying; they pay their taxes without too much fuss, and frank their own tickets on public transport. People who break this trust can expect to feel the full thrust of social and legal disapprobation.
For more, read The Xenophobe's Guide to the Dutch.
Reproduced from Xenophobe's Guide to the Dutch by kind permission of Xenophobe's® Guides.
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