Typical Dutch: Unmoved by music

Dear Dutch people, life is too short to keep still at a concert!
Illustratie: Henk van Ruitenbeek

I have been living in Wageningen for almost three years, and I never experienced major culture shock. Until recently, that is. It happened when I started attending concerts in the Netherlands. I expected the same collective euphoria that I know from home. But as it turns out, this is not the Dutch way.

I was talking to a Chilean friend recently about the kind of concerts she and I had attended. I asked her: ‘Have you noticed the lack of emotion?’ She answered: ‘Ah yes, that is called the Dutch disease’. Her Dutch boyfriend had told her that. It means that people just go on standing or sitting still, talking and drinking, no matter what kind of music the artists are playing.

Dear Dutch people, life is too short to keep still at a concert! 

Unlike in the Netherlands, in South America massive concerts only take place in big cities such as Santiago, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. When world-famous bands play, people may travel more than 1000 km to hear them, and sometimes people even camp outside the stadium (speaking from my own experience). Once the concert starts, the collective euphoria rocks the entire stadium. Throughout the concert, people sing, jump, scream and sometimes cry. They never talk!

I have just obtained a ticket to attend Metallica’s concert in Amsterdam next year. I am looking forward to seeing how the symptoms of the Dutch disease will show up then.

Dear Dutch people, life is too short to keep still at a concert. Feel the music!

Pamela Bachmann Vargas, PhD candidate of the Environmental Policy Group, from Chile

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.

NL: Stilstaan bij een concert

Zuid-Amerikanen reizen soms duizend kilometer om hun idool te zien optreden, vertelt Pamela Bachmann Vargas uit Chili. En tijdens een concert zingen, springen, schreeuwen en huilen ze dat het een lieve lust is. Nederlanders doen daar niet zo aan, is Pamela opgevallen. Geen collectieve euforie hier. ‘Mensen blijven gewoon stilstaan of -zitten, praten door en drinken hun drankje.’ Ze vindt het maar een kille bedoening. ‘Lieve Nederlanders, het leven is te kort om stil te staan bij een concert. Voel de muziek!’

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