We have now completed a three-week course in Dutch, sponsored by the EU. According to the brochure, this is how we should feel right now:
“The programme itself made me discover myself and transformed me into a citizen of the world.”
Ahem. So far we have discovered this about ourselves and our fellow EEU-members (we’re still waiting for the life-changing transformation):
- The one thing everyone knows about Norway is that it’s expensive. There might also be mountains.
- In the Czech Republic, on the morning of Easter Sunday the men slap the women with a twig to keep them eternally young. In the afternoon, the roles are reversed. No one knows why this is so.
- One third of all Finnish girls have cool neon red hair.
- Greeks are short.
- Authentic Swedish is much harder to understand than broken English.
- Dutch people are just as bad at receiving complements as Norwegians.
Also, some observations in the same vein:
- If you’re a couple, the University gives you a 50 square meter apartment. If you’re here on your own, you might have to share your bathroom and kitchen with 16 other students. What’s up with that? (Also, people from Scandinavia are much more likely to complain about housing than people from the south of Europe.)
- Dutch has a lot of words that sound almost like certain Scandinavian (dialect) words, and mean the same thing, eg.:
- “soms” ~ «somme» (some)
- “net” ~ «nett» (just)
- “gezellig” ~ «koselig» (untranslatable)
- “ongeveer” ~ «ungefär» (about)