If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


13 AUG 2017

DELFT - I enjoy walking because I see so much on my way around the center of Delft, the more old part. Dutch seem whimsical to me and appear relaxed about messing about. Some want to open a shop. With a reliable tourist crop, there is good reason to try matching an interest to making money.

Most of the buildings in the center of Delft are in the oldest style: 3 to 4 stories, the bottom on the street and the top a sleeping attic. Thus, the street floor is often rented as a shop. A person with a little money and a line of items to sell can open a 'winkelje' - small business. Second-hand is big in Holland; the Dutch are a thrifty folk. The shop in the photo is new and has oriental, religious objects for sale. This Buddha is not the largest I have seen but is a contender.


"I've lived in Delft a little over 10 years. It retains a medieval feel because the center was kept that way, and the natural growth was pointed outward. With a glorious church tower like Delft's New Church has, a high-rise on the market square would be wrong - bad feng shui."


Almost all of the homes I have been in here in Delft have something Buddhist or Hindu in them, which reflects a pose of rising above it all. Also, there is a hint of power about these icons, they are all gods of some kind. The Romans had household gods, and the Dutch were in the empire.

One house I pass on the way to the bakery has a huge Buddha head in the front window. Mercifully, the eyes are modest, in meditation I assume. However, when I look around, there is a Buddha on my desk, a straw-witch in my kitchen and a Ganesha holding down my notes and accounts. My attitude is that seeing one of them makes what I am doing easier. Dumb and without the least fact but works for me. These are my placebos, for my spirit and such.

The designs on Delft pottery suggest things from the orient have had an impact on Dutch society for a long time. Most of the classic, blue patterns are harmonious, gracefully tranquil. Pure balance is the theme.

The tiles for sale that show Dutch faces and scenes are a bit more emotional, boisterous, rowdy. Yet there is plainly something in the Dutch soul that yearns for inner peace. Symbols of that quest are common here.

From my partner's back terrace, we can see in windows of the mid-rise across the way. We do not watch, but there is one window we have noticed. It has a great big Buddha with its back to the world, facing inwards.

It is gold colored which adds to our curiosity. This is a top floor apartment so maybe the gold is a wry reminder of the cost of living there. It must be like having an extra person in the room, one who is ignoring you.

So, if you cannot find peace and want some, you can buy second-hand enlightenment. Be aware your nirvana may vary, and you should always wear a safety belt. Peace is dynamic and has rough parts on the way.

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