• Revelation

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    This weekend Roger spent an afternoon watching his girls play at the park, as they were occupied with play, he read his latest book…Travel Amsterdam. Promptly upon his return home he came in through the kitchen door a look of revelation had captured the features of his face. Excitedly and boldly his first words to me were “you are so Dutch!” Interesting greeting to say the least…the guy has been romantically involved with me for ten years and only now my genetics are registering. His hurried explanation must have been motivated by the “are you dumb” look that had now captured the features of my face. Roger read this following section to me from his travel book.

    "Despite all the cosmopolitanism, Amsterdammers retain a sentimental affection for those features of the city that are truly Dutch; The jaunty sounds of barrel organs, the peeling carillons that play hymns or snatches from Beethoven to mark the passing of the hours, the comforting taste and vanilla scent of pancakes or waffles, or the cheerful sight of a well arranged bunch of flowers. This sentimentality goes by the name of ‘gezelligheid’ pronounced ‘cazelik-hide’, which is almost impossible to translate in any meaningful way. Ask the Dutch to explain it and they are more likely to give you examples of gazelligheid, rather then a direct translation, because the English word cosiness sounds far to corny.

    For a resident, gezelligheid might be singing songs around a piano to a university lecture, by contrast, it could be listening to the music of Sweelinck on a 17th-century organ. To others it is simply letting their hair down with friends, losing track of time in reminiscence, or gossiping over coffee.
    Wander the canal circle at night, staring into the brightly lit, book lined interiors of the houses, and you may conclude-correctly- that the Dutch are avid readers. The fact that you can glimpse such intimate detail at all is another endearing feature of this country. The habit of leaving the curtains and blinds open at night, to reveal chic spotlit interiors, striking works of art, and carefully chosen pieces of furniture.

    Some say that this habit of showcasing one’s interior derives from a moralistic desire to prove that you are a clean-living-citizen in effect saying, “Look through my window: I have nothing to hide.” In reality, it is more a case of people advertising to friends and passers-by what good taste they have. Walking through this city is almost like strolling through the pages of an interior magazine.'"

    Roger’s words were “you finally make sense to me”!

    For that I am glad…

    And now if you want to experience ‘looking through the window of a Dutch home’ please look at my two favourite blogs from Holland, they are very ‘gezelligheid’!