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(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


20 NOVEMBER, 2016

Binnen en Buiten / Inside and Outside - Part II

DELFT - I came upon a news article recently that provided counts, by county of birth, of the population broken out by whether they were born in the Netherlands or not.

Surprise: Delft is one fifth foreign born, out of a total of 100,000 people living here. Of course, you have to consider many of those are likely students. Even so, there are 305 people like me: American-born residents, which is quite a crowd of us. Chinese are our biggest minority, then Turkish and Surinamese. There are about as many born in Canada (111) as Hungary (112). For all Mr. Wilders comments, there are 662 Moroccans - and 698 Germans, 742 Iraqis, 645 Indians; non-specific: 987 Asia, 865 Europe and 712 out of Africa.


"It's all very well for Delft to look pretty for tourists but it takes work to keep it that way. For all Delft's clean high tech, sewers, utilities and street repair are manual labor and done brick by brick."

Going to the market, I walk up my side of Oosteinde street, hardly noticing the city was still working on the other side of the canal. They have been at it for a long time and have cut down all the trees. During work hours, the diversity in Delft is plain to see: there are Dutch working alongside people who speak Dutch but do not look Dutch.

At the Thursday market, you are as likely to see a head scarf as others I am guessing are from Africa, South-East Asia and Eastern Asia. That is in addition the stereotypes of Dutch shoppers: older shoppers come early, students pass in flocks and housewives wheel loaded bikes. In that mix, this American is right in - there for Lekkerbeck (a fried fish) and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Yesterday, Sinterklaas came to Delft. Like last year, he was on a canal boat with Zwarte Piets dashing about on jet skis. Kids were hanging off the railings and waving to the crowds along the banks. Children from the region were out to see it.

From smallest to near teen kids were dressed in bright colors and sporting Zwarte Piet caps. Candy was tossed by even more costumed folks who were weaving through the joyful bystanders. I saw kids with and without sooty faces - all happy.

It was the kid's choice how fancy they wanted to be and some went full black face. Zwarte Piet goes down chimney's and leaves gifts for good boys and girls. Sinterklaas doesn't do much except wave and look kindly. It is a Christmas legend.

Its about a bishop and his Moorish servant coming to Holland from Spain to bless the people, who were ruled from Spain at the time. Like Christmas trees, gift giving at the end of the year, and such traditions, it began long ago and is for children.

Delft keeps changing at the same time it keeps maintaining and restoring. You have to respect a people who keep things in good repair. Meanwhile, peoples come and go and have always effected Delft; it seems to have survived and prospered.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved -
In memory of Herb Caen