Today we were supposed to go to the Klamme Handjes festival, but it was cancelled due to weather. Skyler was sick all day anyway, so it may not have been the best time. We were supposed to go with Jesse and his date, but instead we meet at Cafe Brecht and walked down to De Pijp for a double date. Stopping at a nice Italian place, we immediately felt a bit underdressed, but the staff was exceptionally nice and the place smelled great.
After running up a large tab on great food and wine, we paid and left after our complimentary strawberry liquor shots. We then walked up to Rembrandtplein to a not-so-touristy café and had more wine and some bitterballen. Jesse’s date had to leave and get up early, so we went back up to Hill Street for a couple beers before ending our night. It was a very pleasant evening, very mellow and relaxed.
Things I learned (mainly in conversation during the date):
- There is a passive racism among the Dutch people. Even if you become a Dutch citizen, if you aren’t blonde and tall, you aren’t really Dutch. Jesse’s date is half Dutch, and was born here and raised here, but even she isn’t a ‘Dutch person’ because she has dark curly hair and a slightly darker complexion.
- Even with the subtle racism, you can still be accepted here… With a lot of effort. Learn Dutch and assimilate, and work hard to gain a group of Dutch friends.
- Assimilation isn’t the end all. There is a huge expat community and they’re very accepting. Who cares if you aren’t considered Dutch or don’t have a huge Dutch circle of friends?
- Dutch people strictly separate with and personal life. In the US, it’s common to have overlapping groups of friends – you might go out for drinks with work colleagues. Here you don’t apparently. They are friendly and polite at work, but it’s rare to go out with fellow workers.
- Finding work in the US as an immigrant is more difficult than finding work here as a US immigrant. Jesse’s brother tried for 10 years to get a job in America before actually landing one. And he’s a skilled college graduate. The laws there are more strict than here regarding that type of thing.
It wasn’t just a lovely double date, it was a very culturally enriching experience, and I look forward to doing it again.