As a (shallow) man of Jamaican heritage, I often see parallels with the land of my parents and the Dutch approach to doing things. In Jamaica, if you order a coffee and after 20 minutes have the nerve to ask what happened to your order, you’ll be told, “take it easy man, your coffee soon come”. This is quite similar to the theatrical rolling of eyes, disinterested shrug of shoulders and irritated bitter response of:

“Your order has been passed on, why are you bothering me, can’t you see it’s busy here? Perhaps you should have had a coffee before you came in then you wouldn’t be in such a hurry now!”

Ahhh, how I miss the days when I could spend time irritating serving staff at overpriced cafes in Amsterdam. Kut lockdown! This brings me to the subject of today’s post. Why the Dutch are so (bloody) slow at vaccinating the population!


Here in Holland

A while I ago I wrote about Dutchisms. As a reminder I’ve posted an explanation below.

Definition of Dutchism

1: a patronising and irritating way of explaining some aspect of Dutch culture to foreigners

2a tendency towards condescension 

  • a manner of behaving toward others in an outwardly polite way that nevertheless implies one’s own country is superior to that of others;
  • One can detect a Dutchism as they always begin with the following statement: “Here in Holland we….”

How the rest of the world is doing with vaccinations compared to the Netherlands

A Dutch ambtenaar provides her view on the Dutch approach to vaccinations

As a ‘guest’ in this country I decided that it’s perhaps better to get the opinion of a Dutch native who works for the government. She doesn’t want her name published which I respect so I’ll call her Anouk de Betweter. I showed her the chart above of the number of people vaccinated per country per capita. Here’s what she had to say.

Lies and statistics are the Dutch really slow at vaccinating the population?

“Shallow Man, even you must know that it’s easy to manipulate statistics. But more importantly, it’s a matter of interpretation. Please be aware that the chart shows the ‘actual’ number of vaccinations, whereas here in Holland we estimate the number of people being vaccinated. Now for some reason, the organisation behind that chart wants actual numbers, not estimates, which you’ll agree with me is een beetje gek. So in fact, I mean according to this chart Morocco, Poland and Romania have vaccinated more people than the Netherlands. Come off it! Have you ever been to any of those places? Nee? Me neither, but you can’t believe those numbers. In Morocco, they don’t even have bike lanes!

Well, I can tell you that in my opinion, even if the numbers are by some miracle actually true, they’re going way too fast. Have they taken the time to consider all the implications? I’m proud that we are not on that chart because you know here in Holland we like to do things properly. Seriously, what’s the rush? Everything is closed anyway, it’s not as if there’s much of a chance for COVID-19 to spread while we have a lovely gezellige curfew and lekker thuis werken!”

You know the Dutch like to complain about the lockdown but seriously what are we missing? You can still order leopard print clothes and furniture online. Hairdressers? Most Dutch women avoid them anyway, it’s only Dutch men who care about getting their hair done properly. Festivals? What a nuisance they were. I specifically bought an apartment opposite the Westerpark in Amsterdam so that I would have a reason to call the police and write angry letters to newspapers about the overlast. I say hou op met dat gezeik! In five years time when we’ve finished vaccinating everyone in this country, you’ll soon be complaining about all the tourists back in Amsterdam and the pain of having to go back to the office. Be happy!

“Lieke getting her hair done by Mieke before a festival pre-lockdown”

The Dutch strategy langzaam maar zeker!

“Here in Holland, the way we carry out vaccinations is significantly better than the rest of the world. It’s important to understand that it’s not only about the actual number of people who get vaccinated. The planning is important and I can tell you that we have spent vast amounts of time drinking coffee and discussing, discussing and discussing the best way to vaccinate the population. Here in Holland, we believe that everyone’s opinion counts. So everyone who has a stake in vaccinations has had their say.

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Health authority management
  • National and local politicians
  • Uber drivers
  • Red light district window owners
  • FEBO franchise holders
  • Undertakers
  • G-Star Raw personnel
  • Employees of Second Love
  • Tinder, Relatieplanet
  • The Hema
  • Kruidvat
  • Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Blokker etc
The official mascot of the Dutch vaccination team.

Only after careful discussion with all the affected parties, plenty of bitterballen and even more coffee could we start actually vaccinating people. Langzaam maar zeker.” And remember, if you’re not happy with the pace of vaccinations, that’s your problem. If you don’t like it here….”

No hairdressers were hurt during the writing of this post

Until next time, lettuce pray for success.