A sample of the many illustrations in the book. All illustrations by Chris P. Jones. Photos by Marc Resch. Text from Only in Holland, Only the Dutch.
In addition to the numerous Febos in Holland, raw herring stands are strewn across the country and are just as popular as the deep-fried food stands. These raw herring stands are not bait shops for fishermen, but food stands that the Dutch swarm to in order to eat raw bait fish – a delicacy that the Dutch, and perhaps only the Dutch, find truly delectable. To eat the raw herring, the Dutch hold the fish by the tails, tip their heads back and slowly lower the entire fishinto their mouths. The mere sight of watching the Dutch devour these raw fish leaves many visitors queasy in their stomachs. The distinct aroma of dead fish doesn’t help with that queasy feeling either.
A family bicycle ride, a.k.a. Dutch style, is certainly a site to see for visitors to the Land of the Gentle Giants. Dutch families are known to go for bike rides, with all family members on one bike! I’ve personally seen, on several occasions, a father riding a bike with his wife sitting on the bike-rack with a child on her lap and another child sitting on the handlebars. And some families are even audacious enough to put the family dog in the bike-basket!
In Dutch culture, it’s actually the norm for people with birthdays to buy or bake their own birthday cakes and to invite people to help them celebrate. My Dutch colleague, therefore, was just doing his part in Dutch society by throwing his own little birthday party. He was proud that it was his birthday and he wanted everyone to be a part of his special day and to celebrate it Dutch style. Whereas people in many cultures tend to hide the fact that it’s their birthdays, especially in the latter years of life, the Dutch advertise theirs and want to celebrate it in the Dutch time-honored birthday tradition with those around them.