Everywhere in the world people seem to cope without agendas. But the Dutch? So incredibly social!

You’re in the canteen with your usual Dutch friends. You slurp up your soupje. You look over the table: Femke is pecking croutons from her tray. Probably a good time to leave, you think.

‘Hey, you guys wanna come over tonight?’ you ask the others before you get up. You turn around to tuck in your chair—they haven’t replied? You turn back around to find that, in perfect unison, your Dutch friends are below the table rummaging around in their bags. Hoe onbeleefd!

They then snap black books out onto the table and furiously flick through, exhibiting the first manic signs of hypergraphia… What the formalities are they doing?!

Checking their agendas, of course! The Dutch don’t go anywhere without them. Anytime you try to schedule a spontaneous salsa session, or want to go out for a drink or two off-the-cuff, the Dutch first need to meticulously check their agendas before scheduling you in. The Dutch are incredibly social, you know; so, to save brainpower, they jot all of their ‘appointments’ down.

As much as I disagree with the concept of making ‘appointments’ with friends (the word alone brings back terrifying memories of trips to the Doctor, Dentist, and Dogecoin dealer…don’t ask…), it could be a good thing to write this stuff down.  Rather than have dates and times swirling chaotically in your head, you could save some room in your black box for things like extra exam study, remembering where you parked your bike, or for keeping on top of your FIFA team transfers.

Still, the rest of the world seems to cope without agendas. I manage to get dressed (and by dressed I mean hang various bits of cloth over various areas of my body rather than compose some sort of coordinated uniform or garnish), attend lessons, and watch Game of Thrones without them. Even after the first week of class I can usually memorise every lesson, time, and room in my schedule, and the extra social bits like meeting up with friends are incredibly easy to remember! I don’t quite understand the agenda’s necessity.

Yeah, I said it. It’s not that I couldn’t fill an agenda (I like to think I could fill a few, even if it meant doodling Dick Bos strips over some of the days), and I don’t feel as though the average Dutch person is any busier than me or any other International. Although I respect the agenda, I do not like agenda.  They’re too regimented, and there’s a certain social weight to capturing dates in writing.

And no matter how many times people call me the Anti-Agenda, AgenDan (this one is just stupid), the Agenda Agitator (I’m copyrighting this super villain), the Agenda Bender, or a dom Britse klootzak, I will still see agendas as bad news. Only when I’m senile will they become useful. The clue is in the word: AGEndas. They’re for people with decrepit memories…and the Dutch, apparently.