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Radarlander

This morning I was catching up on some of the blogs I follow, and found myself chuckling while reading Tiffany’s Clogs and Tulips

Author and blogger Tom McLaughlin (aka Borneo Tom) was guest posting, and wrote about traveling across the globe and always running into someone from the Netherlands.

People, I am telling you, it is the truth!

I’ve written before about the Dutch being inveterate travelers.

You’d expect no less from the country that founded the Dutch East India and Dutch West India Companies, and experienced the glories of the golden age of commerce in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Seafaring folk. Explorers. Consummate traders. Empire-builders.

The Dutch put a high value on traveling. They enjoy getting out and seeing this world we live in, experiencing other cultures.

Wanderlust.

As American expats living in the Netherlands, my family shares these feelings. Traveling is a priority for us.

We save our money, foregoing pricey cable television upgrades, the latest ‘must have’ gadgets, fancy clothes and Maholo Blahniks.

(I’m the one who foregoes the latter, although Husband likes to note that I’ve never even purchased a pair of the incredibly expensive shoes. My point exactly!)

All to travel far and wide. We don’t know how long we’ll be living here, and we want to see and experience as much as we can while we are. Plus Son is heading off to college this August, and we want to share as many travel experiences together as possible.

And every time we travel, we end up meeting Nederlanders. Or rather, I end up meeting them. I find them, or they find me. Seriously, every single time.

It’s gotten to the point where Son claims I’ve got ‘Nederlander Radar’ — hence we’ve coined the term Radarlander.

You name a place we’ve visited and I’ll tell you who I’ve met. Lisbon? The greenhouse sales rep from Zoetemeer. Budapest? The couple from Eindhoven. Prague’s Jewish Quarter? Two schoolteachers from outside Utrecht. Kutna Hora? The Dutch family from Amersfoort. Paris, near the Champs Elysee? The elderly Dutch widower from Groningen. Inverness? A young couple from Katwijk. Granada? A lovely woman from Breda. Vienna? Two college students from Leiden doing a semester abroad.

Believe me, the list goes on and on.

Now when we’re wandering around a new city, exploring sidestreets and less-travelled neighborhoods, Daughter will slyly look at me and start asking in a singsong voice ‘Where are my Dutchies? Where are my Dutchies?’

She’s poking fun at me, of course. (And for the record, ‘Dutchie’ is absolutely meant as a term of endearment.)

It’s not surprising that she’ll tease me like that. She’s learned it from her father.

One afternoon we were finishing up a leisurely lunch in Karlstijn, a small Czech town west of Prague. Daughter asked if we were ready to head back to the small train station to return to Prague.

Husband’s dry response: ‘No, there have to be at least two more Dutch people here your mother hasn’t met yet.’

Nice sarcasm. Very nice.

And for the record, there were THREE Dutch backpackers at the train station. Lekker puh.*

*The Dutch equivalent of ‘so there’ or ‘I told you so.’

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