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If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

Earlier columns: July 17 / July 10 / July 3

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


24 JULI, 2016

The War Museum in Delft - How the Dutch go to war

DELFT - Looking round at Delft, a foreigner can come to think things have always been like this in Holland. I mean easy going, tolerant and patient; the country has a feisty history. It has been over 70 years since Europe fought itself. I prefer war to be kept to museums.

Americans, generally, are patriotic and country-proud not unlike most people. However, few start their school day with everyone, right hand over heart, pledging allegiance to a flag and 'the republic for which it stands'. When I mention things like that, Dutch seem to think it odd. After all, they do not honor the King very often but do have King's Day, a street flea market day.


"The Leger Museum / War Museum was one of my favorite places to go because I love models, dioramas and 'how things used to be' exhibits. And, it takes courage to go to a battle on a pedal bike in flat country."

Americans think it bizarre that Dutch remove the ceiling light fixtures when they leave a place. They rip out closets, but you can buy things like the drapes for a little extra.

My new home had a thin back garden which was a relief from my Texas spread, a ranch house on a lot 100 meters by 300 meters. I could keep up with this garden with only scissors. The house felt very roomy, and I could open windows front and back for a breeze. The boxes arrived from Texas, roomy became crowded.

My clothes, motorcycle and toys were delivered in crates. By toys, I mean books and collectables (dioramas, art, fantasy miniatures, etc.). It all had to fit inside.

The Project grew and grew, as successful projects always do. As we neared our set goals, the company forecast costs and decided there were too many indians. The number of chiefs was increased to compensate for that necessary cut.

When my employers offered project people a severance to leave, I signed and said thank you. Quitting your day job is a little like stepping off a cliff. The question came up: do I go 'home' or stay 'home'. For no real good reason, I picked Delft.

A Dutch house can be very expansive with status gained by how much unused space is for show. Most live in more compact homes, and I am a 'most'. A man here had a job offer in Assen so priced his east-side place to move it quickly.

I spotted it while out and about so put myself in the hands of a real-estate agent, a Makelaar. Agents guide you in the process of buying a house. My bank here took a risk and gave me an euro loan and mortgage. I moved my left-behinds to Delft.

Luck smiled on me, and I learned that I could trade in my U.S., 'valid' driver's license and get a Dutch license without a test. Good thing; I could never have passed any road or written tests. I regretfully gave up my Texas drivers license ID.