Thursday, 24 March 2011

White, Colin & Boucke, Laurie "The UnDutchables"

White, Colin & Boucke, Laurie "The UnDutchables: an observation of the Netherlands, its culture and its inhabitants" - 1989

Two Americans who had lived in the Netherlands for 22 years together published the first edition of this book in 1989, it has been updated every other year since then and is a huge bestseller both in the Netherlands and many other countries.

The book was meant to be a humourous view about living in the Netherlands, mainly the Holland part. The authors don't just laugh with the Dutch about anything that's different here but also give some useful tips for expatriates living in the country. I wish somebody would have given this to me before I moved here. And I wasn't the only one, our book club members (all expatriates at the time) couldn't agree more.

There is an interesting website about the book with a message board and further links; The UnDutchables
They also published a second book: Dear Henry - Letters from the Lowlands

We discussed this in our book club in November 2005.

From the back cover: "A hilarious yet profound and revealing look at the Dutch, their customs and their mentality. This exquisite satire explores the most diverse aspects of daily Dutch life, from coffee to child rearing, from train travel to the toilet.
Learn why the Dutch believe, 'It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it,' and why it's so hard to learn the Dutch language: 'The more you try to learn Dutch, the more the Dutch refuse to speak Dutch to you and the more they complain that you haven't learned it.'
Other topics include Dutch moralizing & criticizing, cozy Dutch homes, flowers & plants, money & thriftiness, work ethics, welfare, commercial cunning, telephone habits, the national passion, rules for shopping, driving, Dutch customs, bikes, language, gay community, food, sex, drugs, phobias, the Dutch abroad and the 1995 flood disaster.This book is a must for anyone with Dutch connections and who enjoys wit and humor. A perennial bestseller in Europe, and an increasingly popular book in North America.

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