Thursday, November 15, 2012

Expat Blog hop Revisited - Looking into the archives

Dismissing Myths

Before you moved to the country you are in now,
What expectations, ideas, (things you thought happened, things people did, etc) did you have then, that proved to be not true at all?

Hans Brinker
 The legend of the brave Dutch boy - Hans Brinker - He supposedly put his finger in the dyke to prevent a flood. But I was shocked to find out a few days ago that he was actually a literary invention by an American writer Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) born in New York.

Hans Brinker was made famous by her children’s novel Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates,  In one of the chapters called ‘Friends in Need’ there is a story called 'The Hero of Haarlem'. The story tells about the heroic boy who saved the people of the Netherlands from drowning by putting his finger in a dyke all night long. 
According to Dutchie he had never heard anything about it and they certainly don't mention it in Dutch schools.

Tulips and Cheese
Think, The Netherlands and you immediately think of tulips and cheese. Although famous for flowers it is actually not Holland's main export and neither is cheese. Funnily enough I asked Dutchie the question and I got the answer: Heineken, Cheese, Porn, Flowers, Lightbulbs! But turns out he was wrong too.

Actual Export facts

% OF COUNTRY TOTALAutomatic data processing equipment 8.4 Refined petroleum products  6.9 Electronic microcircuits 3.9  Telecommunications equipment  3.0  Crude vegetable materials  2.5  Natural and manufactured gas  2.5   Meat2.4    Polymers   2.2   Vegetables1.8
I then asked Dutchie what he thought were common misconceptions about his country  and he said:

Everybody almost immediately thinks of Holland and thinks of drugs. He knows one person who does drugs and has never actually tried any. 
Contrary to popular believe, Marihuana is NOT legal in the Netherlands. Although it is not against the law to smoke it the act of buying and selling is in itself illegal. 
Cannabis remains a controlled substance in the Netherlands and both possession and production for personal use are still misdemeanors, punishable by fine. Coffee shops are also technically illegal according to the statutes but are flourishing nonetheless. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted. 
It is all extremely complicated!!!

That we all wear clogs! Today, Dutch clogs are primarily a beloved tourist souvenir. Despite the fact that most Dutch no longer wear klompen for everyday use, clogs remain popular among people working in their gardens and farms and among planters. Some of the Dutch also consider wearing clogs as being healthy for the wearers’ feet..

Below sea Level
I thought that the majority of the Netherlands was actually below sea level but apparently this is not true! 
Actually only 21% of the population are below sea level.

So what did you think you knew about your country, What expectations did you have?

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