Monday, 28 April 2008

The Netherlands rises above sea level

All out, all out

I could almost wager that the parts of the Netherlands below sea level which includes Schiphol airport at -5 meters World have risen to a mean above sea level at least for a week.

I say this because as I was leaving for holiday on Saturday morning, the taxi queues for departures were quite long and the departure lounge was brimming with people trying to escape the dreary weather of Northern Europe despite the rare improvements in weather with some sun and rising temperatures.

One can only be so grateful for services like priority check-in, access to lounges to relax before a flight and being known by name as you take your seat on the flight - it all takes away the stress of travel.

Deluge of holidays

Netherlands usually has the least number of bank or public holidays in Europe, numbering a paltry 8 days and there are no breaks between the middle of May and the Christmas holidays.

This year, with Easter being so early, we have very rare bunching up of holidays that probably happen one in a lifetime in Calvinist Holland – the government seems to hate free days.

So, on Wednesday, the 30th April, we have Queens Day which is the day the great unwashed come into the cities and defile it buying bric-a-brac and drinking to a stupor, why people get excited about the day escapes me – we the city-dwellers take the opportunity to desert town before they arrive.

Tolerant dimensions of the Dutch

Thursday ushers in a Christian Holiday, Ascension Day, celebrated throughout continental Christian Europe and most organisations have decided there is no point having staff come in on the Friday, thus reducing the week to a 2-day week.

In that decision, you find the subtlety of Dutch tolerance – the appreciation of human inclination or frailty and an accommodation of the situation.

It explains why we appreciate people have a need for liberal sexual gratification or indulge in mind-altering substances – we recognise the situation, and accommodation it by providing a location for the activity and regulate it such that the criminal element is considerably reduced.

All abroad

Having a week set up like that, people reckon the number of sick calls on the Friday might make opening offices unprofitable so it is better to close and allow the goodwill of people having Friday off without having to feign some sickness or tell tall tales.

That explains why making of the Dutch have gone sun-seeking, then May the 12th is another holiday – Pentecost, so like me have just merged the whole weekend-holiday, week-holiday stretch into a 2-week getaway – as easy as, get me to the sun PDQ. (Pretty Damn Quick)

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