Friday, April 23, 2010

Bye to Holland

I have been here in the Netherlands three months and it is time to return home—home sweat home. I shut my eyes and decided what I want to remember about this beautiful little country and its people. Here is a short list:
Bicycles...bloemen(flowers)...canals...clogs...dogs...dikes...A great people!

Following is an expanded list, a dictionary of sorts:

  • Beer means Heineken and Amstel—that’s all
  • Bicycle means a Dutch national identity which must be triple-chained or else it is stolen! (The same way a bicycle was treated in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.) (You've heard of 'stolen identity'?)
  • Coffee shops: These are places where ‘coffee’ is served rolled in paper and smoked! Coffeejuana. (See 'drugs' below)
  • Dogs: These are full-blown citizens with national passports and citizen rights and political party! Dogs take their owners out for a walk. (See 'walkway' below)
  • Drugs: Something you should see with your eyes tightly open and discuss with your mouth widely shut.
  • Dutch bargain: Something expensively cheap. For example: ‘Rejoice: I saved two Euros comparing prices across 32 shops!’ Alle moet weg!
  • Dutch language: A language that is easy to speak—just pretend to be suppressing a bad cough—Wageningen; vereniging
  • Dutch national flag: A controversial piece of cloth: Did the French copy the Dutch or the Dutch copy the French?
  • Dutch woman: Someone that’s ever smiling--Wonder why she’s called vrouw when she hardly frowns. Could it be because she sneezes very loud? Atchoooooo!
  • Energy: Something you spend all your energy saving. For example, it’s better to be sick saving resources than to be warm spending them.
  • Flowers (Bloemen): What your host spends three hours showing you and you can’t see it because it is yet to sprout!
  • Space: Something small but enough for everyone—except now that Geert Wilders is fuming.
  • Space: Something you must economise by writing several words as one: Oldenbarneveltweg!
  • The Dutch: very friendly, so very friendly people
  • Walkway: Dogs’ lavatory—watch out!
  • ASC, Leiden: a great place of wonderful people...

I enjoyed my stay in Holland. I hope to be back someday.


Akin said...


Have a safe return home, having lived here for 10 years it is interested to see what we residents sometimes fail to notice with humour.

I enjoyed your insights on the Netherlands, I do hope you come back and maybe we can meet up for a gezellig time.

With kind regards,


Daan said...

Thanks you, Ayo! It's been a joy to spend time with you in Holland and to learn about your observations on this blog.

Having looked at your country through Dutch eyes, it is wonderful to have your take on mine through Nigerian eyes.

Tot ziens!

Jan-Bart said...


You were and are an excellent colleague. As with your view of Holland we here in Holland have our view of Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigeria could not wish for a better ambassador in the wider world than you.

We look forward to having you here again soon.

Stay strong Captain.

AlooFar said...

Hey Doctor, this is funny. Really funny.

Anonymous said...

i really admire ur writing skill. this is a very creative summary of holland and ur stay. iorver

Adeniyi said...


I am just reading ur apt is real fun and now I can tell a story about the Dutch.

The beauty in travelling is not only in the purpose but also in the openness and little curiosity that burn those subtle, beautiful memories on our minds forever...that is a lesson I have learnt from you.