found charming and strangely refreshing. I absolutely had to start with a story of our real estate agent who would not allow me even to look at the houses which, in her opinion, were not in a desirable area, were not in a good condition or just plain not a good buy (try to find an agent like that anywhere else in the world). To underscore Dutch honesty, I moved to examples of local small businesses whose managers talked me out of purchasing their merchandise because I could do better buying it elsewhere (a totally unbelievable concept for anyone from North America). Thus I was not “allowed” to buy a couch to survive renovations in our house because it was a temporary solution and I could do better by buying a blow-up mattress in the shop up the street. I was advised not to buy summer clothing in the local boutique because I was going to Italy and “things are better there”. Finally, a manager of the flower shop, whose clients include Queen Beatrix, after discovering that I lived in his neighbourhood, volunteered to come to my house to see if I chose my plants “properly”. The inspection ended with a strong admonition that no plants would be sold to me till after I finish my renovations since” it was not good for the plants” plus I would have a better perspective of how everything looked after
all my furniture was in place. Only in The Netherlands can you find practical locals treat your money as their own and take personal responsibility for it.
landing (“not one of my best”) and assuring us that next time would be a better one. “Only the Dutch,” we said. “It’s good to be back.”