Anti-Dutchism?

My wife and I were watching television this evening, when an interesting program came on. It was an exposé on Dutch drivers in Germany. They proposed to answer the question: do the Dutch really drive as badly as Germans think?

They first talked about how ridiculously much stuff the Dutch bring with them when they travel through Germany. They interviewed a German police officer who told stories about Dutch folks bringing disastrously much stuff with them.

Next, they talked about how slow the Dutch drive, in both the left and right lanes. They had video of overloaded Dutch RV's holding up traffic from the left lane.

Then they talked about how the Dutch drive too fast. They showed video of Dutch vehicles speeding and passing on the right.

At the end, they had a brief interview with someone who said that most Dutch folks drive perfectly well. In comparison with the previous segments, it was very weak.

Wow! As an American, that show was shocking! In the US, it's very politically incorrect to even imply that any race, gender, or species may or may not have any given set of characteristics. I can't imagine a program like that about anyone ever being aired in the US.

My absolute favorite part, though, was the catch phrase of the piece. Every chance they got, they refered to the Dutch vehicles as rollende Käse, which means "rolling cheeses" in German. (The word, Käse (cheese), is often used in German slang to mean junk or nonsense.) The first segment after every commerical break was a big, yellow wheel of cheese rolling down the side of the Autobahn! Only in Germany!

Comments:

Ugh. You wouldn't want to know what names we (the Dutch) have for Germans ;)

Posted by Eelco on July 17, 2005 at 09:28 AM PDT #

Interesting. Yes, it's a common thing for Western European countries to make light-hearted fun of each other. There comes a point where your fear of offending someone is outweighed by the realization that it doesn't really matter.

Posted by Geertjan on July 17, 2005 at 03:21 PM PDT #

Interesting topic. I've traveled all over and I've always thought two things about drivers of the world. 1) Every culture seems to have it's own driving style that works for them and 2) Germans consider driving a very serious business (perhaps because it is). Even in the US we make fun of other cities and states driving skills. i.e., a "California Stop". Beijing was perhaps the biggest "thrill ride", with Rome (all those scooters!) and Beunos Aires close seconds. Yet I witnessed zero accidents on the roadways unlike the almost hourly accidents I see across the US.

Posted by ThinGuy on July 18, 2005 at 03:41 AM PDT #

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