Invader Stu: Dutch-British cultural exchange

When I first moved to Holland, I quickly realised there were a few things that were done differently from my homeland.

These were things I had to get used to. For example: Dutch coffee shops are not the best place to buy coffee, unless you want to order a Triple Latte Cannabis Espresso.

Better for Britain

During the years I have lived in the country, I’ve been witness to Dutch innovations and ideas that might benefit Britain.

It is for this reason that I would like to propose the following list of ideas to the British government. However, I will not be suggesting Starbucks starts selling cannabis (no matter how much it might increase their profits).

 Polderising Britain

Britain could increase its landmass by utilising the Dutch technique for reclaiming land from the sea.

This would make it possible to expand outwards through the surrounding waters and solve the over-population problem. As a test, the Isle of White (to the south) could be connected with the rest of Britain first.

However, if this is successful, a great deal of care will have to be taken when re-naming the newly combined island. Simply putting the two names together (Isle of White + Britain) could lead to a very bad misunderstanding.

The second phase of expansion could connect Ireland. Then in the third phase, Britain could physically become a part of Europe, connecting along the edges of the Netherlands and Belgium (but probably avoiding France).

Even if this did happen, however, it is unlikely that the British public would give up the British pound in favour of the euro.

 Exporting things people actually like

Britain could also follow Holland’s example and try exporting cheese and tulips instead of the casual violence and binge drinking it currently delivers to holiday destinations and football matches around the world.

An extra benefit of this would be that the British government would no longer need to apologise for the actions of its tourists.

 Exchanging vital knowledge

Soho and the Red Light District could set up a work exchange programme to learn from each other and combine their knowledge.

 Enhanced language learning

Education could be improved by following Holland’s example in a way that would also bring our two countries closer together.

A lot of Dutch children learned to speak English by watching re-runs of The A-Team. British children could expand their language skills and cultural understanding in a similar way by watching repeats of Flodder.

 Improved public transport

The traffic problems in major British cities could improve with the addition of canal networks. Public transport barges would reduce the over-crowding on the London Underground particularly.

This would also require that the famous catchphrase, "Mind the gap," is replaced with, "Mind the murky water and whatever you do, for the love of God, don’t drink it."

Help for Holland

For a reverse cultural exchange, I would like to detail possible ways in which Britain could assist Holland. We’ve already provided them with loud drunk English lads stumbling through the red light district on stag nights and hippies that have not been able to find their way out of the local coffee shop since the 60s.

Both of these might have helped fund the country's tourist industry, but there are other forms of aid we can provide:

 Hill-erising Holland

Britain has an over-abundance of hills and mountains which could be used to transform the flat and hill-less terrain of Holland.

A percentage of Britain’s undulating terrain will be shipped in boxes to Holland and re-constructed in key locations where they will provide the most use to walkers, skateboarders and motorists trying to jump start their cars.

British people who are accustomed to hill climbing will be on hand at each location to help Dutch people acclimatise to the unfamiliar thinner atmosphere and out-of-breath feeling that comes with climbing something higher than a speed bump. This export of terrain will also require that Britain’s Peak District is renamed the Flat District.

 Culinary improvements

Emergency supplies of salt and vinegar will be collected by charity workers from fish and chip shops around Britain. They will then be flown to Holland where they will be dropped via parachutes near snack shops around the country in the hope that they will realise they do not need to put mayonnaise on everything.

Then, Jamie Oliver will be sent to Holland to demonstrate that it is in fact all right to cook herring.

 Comparing successes

The NS (Dutch railway) and British Rail could run a "who has made the biggest blunder" competition.

 A bit of a stiff upper lip

The surplus of English reserve and restraint is so excessive that it can be bottled and shipped to Holland where it will be used to suppress the Dutch comfortableness with public nudity.

This one is simply for me so I don’t have to stare at the floor or ceiling whenever I am trying to navigate past the naked people between me and my locker in the gym changing room. Avoiding obstacles is not easy when you are trying your best not to look at them.

Invading Holland is a finalist in the Best European Blog of the 2014 Weblog awards. If you would like to help out and vote click here.

Stuart B


Stuart B

An accident prone Englishman living in Holland since 2001. Still not great with the language but finds stampot lekker.

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