The liberalism of the Dutch begins with the surrendering of their personal privacy…
Ever wondered what Esmee eats for dinner? Or what Thijs watches on his television? Go on: take a look! They’ll never know! Haven’t you always wanted to accidentally see a fifty-year-old Dutch man as naked as his window? It’s a brave game, and you’d need to brace yourself pre-peek, but one thing is for certain: the Dutch do not do curtains.
But why have no curtains? To catch more sunlight? ‘We have nothing to hide!’ Perhaps they’re simply extra-keen to show off the red wallpaper that stretches up their exceptionally high ceiling, or would like people to admire the brand-new jug that they’ve bought for their living room. Even the Red Light District has curtains, and they’re more than happy to show off their jugs!
From my voyeuristic excursions around town, I’ve learnt more about the Dutch (and myself) than ever before. The route I take means I often catch a particular family, whom I shall name the Visser family (they’re always eating fish), sitting down for their post-dinner TV viewings, gradually losing brain cells whilst watching GTST on the sofa together, all nice and gezellig.
One particular thing that I’ve learnt from observing the Dutch inside their homes is that they take as much (if not more) pleasure looking out of their window at those looking in, than we do looking back! When I catch a glimpse of Uncle Loek’s…curtain pole…through the window on the way to school every Tuesday…I can believe that.
Although this scopophilic fetish is, from my experience, a trait of Amsterdam, our voyeuristic inclinations are continually satisfied here in Groningen. Even after a year, I’m still stuck wondering: who’s the gorilla, and on which side of the exhibit am I standing?