Onst–mig

The weather has beenPrincess Street, Saint John fairly mixed the last couple of weeks and the only word that correctly describes it is the Dutch word ‘onstuimig’. At least I find there is some consistency: the weather is fairly unpredictable.

Last week, I wanted to mentionthe attack on the Dutch royalty in the town Apeldoorn but ended up being too busy to even bother. I’m not sure why someone would attempt an attack on the royal family: It’s not that they’re hated nor would I say that Dutch people are proud royalists. I gleefully found out that major news outlets correctly described Apeldoorn as a ‘town’ and not as a ‘city’. If I remember correctly, the number of residents living in Apeldoorn is approximately 1,001 (+/- 153,000). I have good memories of Apeldoorn, but honestly, I don’t remember seeing a lot of the town itself: it’s not really a city with a notable past or significant landmarks, except for the royalty’s Summer residence, Palace ‘Het Loo’.

The other thing I noticed that foreign news agencies always use the city of Amsterdam as a marker whenever something serious happens in The Netherlands:

The royals, who were unharmed, watched in horror as the car ploughed into bystanders in Apeldoorn, about 90km (56 miles) east of Amsterdam.

Dutch people frown on these kind of quotes and that is mainly because the distance between Amsterdam and Apeldoorn is considered to be fairly distant (so to say). From a North American view, 90 kms is just a stone-throw away. Foreigners who have driven on the highways over here can attest to that. This brings me to a silly anecdote from 2005, when my dad visited us when we still lived in Nova Scotia. We decided to drive around, go south to Lunenberg and then hit the highway 10 to Annapolis Valley. After returning home, I jokingly asked him to point out the route we took. He was 100 percent certain that we had driven all around the Nova Scotian coast and it took me a while to convince him that we’d only seen probably half or less of it. It then finally dawned to him how small The Netherlands actually is.