The Island At The Center Of The World

Apparently, some of the sayings in the English language that are dismissive of the Dutch and their culture stem from the time we fought the English over Manhattan. Not only did the English in the end win that battle, and the power over the first American colonies, but they erased the influence of the Dutch from official history, and tried to ridicule them as much as they could. Russel Shorto tries to set the record straight with his excellent book The Island at the Center of the World, in which he traces a big part of modern Manhattanite culture to the original New Amsterdam colony, and rewrites history in the process. Not only for the Dutch, but also for all New Yorkers and history buffs, this is a very interesting and fun read.

In Paris it is quite normal to go to a restaurant or bar with a group of friends, and each pay for yourselves exactly the amount due for what you had to eat or drink. Going Dutch, would be the expression to describe this phenomenon. But for us Dutchies, it is a bit a strange habit. We are used to pay rounds for eachother. Or divide the total amount due by the number of friends in the group. This all based on the idea that in the end, it all will even out. Going Dutch, therefore, is not as Dutch as the saying implies. So, for a while now I’ve wondered where this came from. And now, I know.

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