Invader Stu: The trouble with tourists

It is a widely accepted fact that tourists are strange. It is also a widely accepted fact that they do strange things.

At the start of spring, confused looking tourists clutching maps suddenly appear on every street corner of Amsterdam like members of a badly organised invasion.

If they are not busy interrogating the locals for hotel directions, tourists keep themselves occupied by trying to put money through the card slot of the ticket machines at central station or by asking several times if a tram is going to the destination which is clearly written upon it in very large letters.

They also get confused trying to work out if the Dutch euro is the same as the euro back home if they come from Europe, and use the phrase "monopoly money" a lot during their visit if they don’t.

When communicating with locals, most tourists (especially the English) try to smash through the language barrier with the brute force of talking louder. When this fails (and when said local has been appropriately deafened), tourists will attempt the opposite and employ a strange kind of sign language that involves a lot of pointing at maps.

People start doing strange things to try and please visitors. The appearance of tourists suddenly makes it acceptable to stand in a public place and enthusiastically rant about nearby buildings. Such behaviour that would normally have locals crossing the street in avoidance will instead attract crowds of devoted listeners who want to hear about the time the architect visited Greece and got his foot stuck in a bucket.

Tourists also do things that they normally would never do in their own country. For example; entire families of tourists will happily take a stroll around the red light district because it is "famous" and "has to be seen" but they would never dream of taking the children for a day trip around the porn section of their local video store (and to suggest such things is apparently considered "crazy talk." It’s just double standards if you ask me).

Tourists are strange… And that’s not even including the ones who only come for the red light district and coffee shops.

Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.

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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