Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dutch Folk


On our final day in Haarlem we spent a fair bit of time just wandering round on a bright, sunny and somewhat windy day.  As we weren't flying until after nine, we had plenty of time, so interspersed wandering with the odd beer here and there.  As I have already remarked, the Dutch seem a tough bunch, being completely unflinching as they drank and chatted in the open air while I gently froze. Maybe they all had thermal drawers on? Dunno.

We had agreed to meet our friends in one of the local pubs just across from the hotel where our luggage was being stored. Our first choice, Café de Zwaan, was thronging and had a DJ though it is a pretty traditional local boozer and one we had visited several times - and liked. He was the worst kind of DJ. He was a singing DJ. Even worse, he was a Frank Sinatra singing DJ, so we did it our way and buggered off across the road to Het Wapen Van Bloemendaal, described outside as "Golden Oldies Café". Well not sure if we actually qualified, but near enough, so in we went.  We'd been there before and noted one of these really top notch bar staff, who remember you immediately. She found us a corner and we watched as a folk group set up. The placed was rammed and there seemed little doubt that the group were popular.  As they started their set to much enjoyment by the customers, our waitress came over. She explained to me they concentrate on Dutch national songs and thumbing a nose at the increasing use of English instead of Dutch in everyday argot.  Clearly we couldn't understand the words, but it was all very jolly with customers joining in the chorus and laughing a lot. The place was going like a fair. After a couple of beers we left to get our bags. We'd been treated well by staff and customers and I reflected that a bit of gentle poking of fun at others is pretty damn universal and if done without malice, isn't such a bad thing at all.

At best a local pub should be welcoming and warm, have a great atmosphere and be nonthreatening. This was the case in every way here and it was good to see the Dutch being themselves amongst their own folk.  And why shouldn't they?

Sunday afternoon entertainment in Dutch pubs? Is this a thing or were our two just a co-incidence?

The bus back to Schipol Airport was on a dedicated bus only road all the way there. Not a bus lane - a bus road.  The other road was alongside.  Wow. 

1 comment:

Martin Taylor said...

The Dutch know how to have a bit of fun. A bit of harmless jossing can make a place. Few years back the Viennese boozer openly laughed at my attempt at "Helles" in a totally affectionate way that didn't offend at all.