Dutch fraternities and how to succeed in them
Recently on a cold evening, the Shallow Man was relaxing at home, as comfortable as a cockroach in a doner kebab place, when I received the following message:
Dear Shallow Man, you recently helped a female reader with tips about how to be a Dutch sorority girl. Well I’m a Dutch guy, and am planning to leave the tiny one horse town where I’m from. Well actually, we used to have a horse in my town, but he disappeared around the same time as a new snack bar opened that specialises in Krokets.
I haven’t decided on where I’m going to study yet, but would like your advice on how to succeed in a Dutch fraternity. I’m quite a shy guy, and am not very well travelled. In fact, I’ve never left Brabant, which is why I intend to support Geert Wilders as soon as I’m old enough to vote. When I go to university, I don’t want them to think of me as a small town boy. Any advice you can provide on how I can be a success in one of the many Dutch fraternities, will be appreciated.
The Shallow Man loves a challenge, which is why I once attempted to get an ex-Dutch girlfriend to give up smoking.
I decided to respond to the young man’s request and provide him with some much-needed advice.
Dear Plattelands Jongen,
Coming from a one-horse town, and being shy would usually be a huge disadvantage for you in Dutch fraternities. If however, you follow my advice, you’ll not only become popular with your fellow fraternity members, but also with the screaming, wailing, smoking, howling, wannabe posh, sorority girls as well. Below is some advice just for you.
The things I do for my readers!
1. Choose the university that fits you
The first and most important step is to choose the right university and city to study in. So for example, if you like being surrounded by lots of men, and have an interest in Star Trek, I hear that the TU Delft could be the place for you.Or if you enjoy the sight of vast groups of women, all wearing their hair in the same style, you should go to the University of Utrecht. I hear that hair clips have to be smuggled in from Amsterdam, and other parts of the country and go for quite a price. This is due to the current hairstyle worn by the Utrecht sorority girls, who all have their hair pinned back, like clones from a top secret government lab. In Utrecht, the ufjes are everywhere, and they all look the bloody same.
If you’re planning to spend most of your postgraduate life living off taxpayers money and doing as little as possible, then you should follow in the footsteps of many members of the Dutch royal family, including the current king, and study at Leiden University. It’s home to the oldest of Dutch fraternities, Minerva. Lots of members of the royal family belonged to this fraternity, and it has proved to be great preparation for a life of little work at taxpayers expense.
Minerva is very picky about who they allow to join. You’ll need to invest in some good suits, as well as plenty of hair gel. You should also follow the advice I provided for joining a Dutch sorority. Stick a potato in your throat and practice speaking posh.
If your father’s rich it will help. If your parents actually work for a living and earn an average salary, then Minerva will not be for you. If you were black, Moroccan or Turkish, you might stand a chance, as they usually allow at least one of each type to join each year, but seeing as how your name is as Dutch as pushing your way onto a tram before allowing people to get off, I guess you won’t qualify on that point. If you’re allergic to the word ‘leuk’ being used over and over again, you’re better off avoiding Minerva.
Naturally, the Amsterdam Shallow Man has a soft spot for the global capital of tinder and recommends that you study at the University of Amsterdam.
2. Grasp, grab and scrape like a gold digger
The next step to success in Dutch fraternities is to borrow as much money from the Dutch Government as they’ll allow you to get away with. Do this even if your daddy is filthy rich. You might be turned down, but follow the example of Dutch women when dating in Amsterdam, if you don’t ask you won’t get. The taxpayer will get a good return on their investment, as you’ll support the local economy by spending lots of money at bars such as Het Paardje or the Pilsvogel, thus keeping lots of bar staff in gainful employment.
3. Resistance is futile, succumb to the hive mind
Prior to joining a fraternity, you need to be prepared to leave your personality and all of your old friends behind. For a successful first year in a fraternity, you need to become obedient, obsequious, passive, sycophantic, and compliant. In short, no butts, you’d better learn how to kiss butt. But even that isn’t enough. The life of a first-year fraternity member is complex and multilayered. To succeed in a Dutch fraternity you also need to decide which of the four approved fraternity types that you wish to be.
4. Choose one of approved personality types of Dutch fraternities
In 1814, Floris de Eikel, developed the template for the four personalities that are destined to succeed in Dutch fraternities. Two hundred years later, these are still required if you wish to be admired and respected by your ‘vriendjes’.
1. The Drinker
This might appear to be self-explanatory, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. To fit Meneer de Eikels template, you need to be able to drink a minimum of five beers every time you’re out drinking with your fraternity bro’s. To be a real hero in this department, you need to be be able to drink till you throw up, and then return to the bar and continue drinking. If you can be photographed kissing a girl not long after vomiting, your credibility will rise faster than a married man sprinting out of a red light district window after he’s done the dirty deed.
The great thing about being ‘the drinker’ is that you can get away with just about anything, as your vriendjes will just assume that the alcohol made you do it. So if you feel like making a pass at your best friends girlfriend, or throwing up all over the stairs of the student home, go ahead, you’re the drinker.
2. The Lover
You’ve admitted to being shy. Well just like falling off the former horse in your town, and then getting back on, being successful with women is pretty similar. The lover is a hero in the fraternity. His ‘bro’s’ keep a tally of his exploits, awarding points from 1-100 in the following categories:
- Having a woman stay over for a night proof that sex has taken place is usually required and verified. (Ladies make sure he flushes the condom down the toilet after sex, as it will make it more difficult for him to provide evidence to his bro’s).
- One night stand (highest number of points)
- Steady girlfriend (minus points)
- Steady girlfriend from back home (highest number of minus points)
How to become ‘the lover’ in a fraternity
If your goal is to be ‘the lover’, then Amsterdam is the best city in the Netherlands to be in, due to the women outnumbering men, and the added bonus of sorority women in Amsterdam preferring to hunt down their prey, like Special Forces soldiers looking for the late Osama Bin Laden.
You’ll need to be calm under pressure, and be able to withstand intense interrogation, as the lady or ladies in question will shout questions at you like a US customs agent demanding to know what the hell brings you to God’s own country. Now be aware that the women are well aware of fraternity mores, and won’t fall for your wicked lothario like ways easily. To earn the title of the lover you’ll need to do the following:
- Pretend to be interested in hockey or whatever other awful pastimes your target might have
- Make it clear to her that you’d really like to be friends and that you’re a nice guy
- Always carry a spare packet of cigarettes with you which you can share with her
- Don’t whatever you do tell her about the girl you’ve been dating since the age of 12 back in the village (who might also be your sister)
- Don’t whatever you do date a knor (kent onze regels niet)/doesn’t know our rules
- Pretend to love Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden
- To enhance your status, only date sorority girls, preferably ones that genuinely originate from Het Gooi or Wassenaar or even better, bed an expat student, that’s worth even more points and credibility, especially if you tell your bro’s that sex with an expat is better than with a Dutch girl. (No comment).
3. The Bro
Once you’re in the fraternity, you’ll only have vriendjes, and bro’s. If you’d like to be ‘the bro’ you’ll need to be funny, always cracking jokes. The Bro is the guy that’s always happy to settle the bar bill. (The Government loan will come in handy here) make hilarious jokes at the expense of other bro’s, and in general be what is known as the “chille gast”. In short a bit of a passive aggressive arse kisser, which will be great training if you go on to work for one of the big four accounting firms or for one of the Dutch banks.
4. The one with the richest father
If your father has made lots of money evicting indigenous people from their villages in countries not as good as Holland. Or if he’s made a fortune producing reality TV for the almost braindead, then perhaps you qualify for this role. If you do, you need to make sure that you constantly slip in references to your papa at every opportunity. For example, “yes this is a great pizza, it reminds me of the time that my daddy was so angry with the service at an Italian place, that he bought the restaurant just so he could fire the staff, you should have seen their faces when he fired them.”
Being the one with the rich father is also very handy for convincing ’emancipated’ Dutch sorority girls, to leave their Uggs outside your bedroom door, with promises of an invitation to your parents holiday home in the south of France.
5. Be assimilated
Regardless of which of the four approved types you decide to be, you must also do the following:
- Never, ever, go anywhere without your bro’s, it’s just not done. If you’re in the Kleine Cooldown Cafe, and want to go to the toilet, take a bro with you. If you’re on a first date, have your bro’s secretly sat in the same bar, and if they send you text messages that they don’t like the way she looks, get the hell out of there!
- Never go the gym alone!
- Greet your fellow fraternity members with “hee klootzak!” and either with “Mijne Heeren” or “Schoften” in the plural.
- Respect the fraternity hierarchy, ouderejaars hebben altijd gelijk/older students are always right
- Remember the charming motto of “Bro’s before hoes.” Your vriendjes must always come first, no matter what
- Always remember to wear a jacket, shirt and tie when at the fraternity club house. (This is where Dutch men learn to wear brown shoes and jeans with a jacket, shirt and tie)
- Never forget to share all details of any sexual conquests with your bro’s in as much detail as possible, or lie if you can get away with it
If you follow the advice provided above, you’ll be a hero amongst not quite yet men. You’ll be respected and loved for your alcoholic, sex mad, or brotherly ways. Or for simply being born into the right family. (See the current Dutch king). Another option, of course, is that you could simply refuse to take part in a fraternity and learn to make friends that respect you for who you are, and not who you’re pretending to be due to peer pressure. Either, way I wish you the best of luck with whichever choice you choose to make.
No alcoholics were hurt during the writing of this post.
Till next time, dat is al altijd zo geweest. Bravo!
You forgot the Networker / Bestuurtjesverzamelaar / CV Embellisher.
This type makes sure that he’s in some Bestuurtje or another during every year of his membership, including the first (he always knows how to wangle this, somehow). Since he needs some time to spend on some, or preferably all, of the other things you’ve mentioned, these sinecures can, in general, be only that: sinecures. This doesn’t stop him from listing them in minute detail on his CV which he flashes under the nose of any well-connected person (old boys, mostly) he meets anywhere, at any time and in whatever state of intoxication either of them may be. Indeed, this is the entire purpose of his “effort”. One of the posts, however, must be in one of the plum categories such as Sociëteitsbestuur or Senaat and this he invariably brings off with effortless ease by using his vast network of vriendjes. His standard attire is morning dress, which simplifies his problems in the morning (after), when the entire problem of what to wear is reduced to remembering which club tie to put around his neck.
Needless to say the complete collection of CEOs of the bigger firms in the Netherlands, as well as the top of the VVD consist entirely of people from this particular group. Most of them were members of the JOVD (Bestuur, obviously) to begin with.