The Duch & Such index page

By Mark van Engeland

Oh, my God!
It's the end of the world!
The sky has fallen!
To the lifeboats!
Oh, the Humanity!

We've been *€urifid!*

Well, when I say 'we', I naturally include myself only as a guest.  It's Nederland – along with Italy, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Finland, Ireland and a couple of less important countries – which has been eurified.  As a Briton, I'm temporarily exempted from this terrible fate.


As I stand here, the scene is one of utter devastation.  Dutch men, women and children are spending themselves into poverty, because everything looks like it's suddenly been cut down to half price!
People are wandering aimlessly around with dazed expressions on their faces, trying to cope with having to count individual cents – the smallest coin, pre-eurification, was the 'stuiver', or five-cent piece; items might have had prices which ended with the odd ninety-nine cents, but this was rounded up (or down, from ƒ4.37c to ƒ4.35c, for example).
The plaintive cries of shoppers, wailing: "Where is the €25-note!", and "Why, oh why is there no 25-cent piece!" are unbearable!

<A Typical Day in the Stroopwafel Shop mode on>

    Check-out Girl :  Hello.  {immediately turns and gets on with something else, rather than waste time talking to yet another customer}
    van Engeland :   Hello.  {immediately turns and gets on with looking vacantly in other directions, rather than waste time talking to yet another check-out girl}

      {various clicks and beeps, as the check-out girl casually checks the day's supply of stroopwafels through – and grunts and panting noises from van Engeland, as he frantically rushes like a maniac, trying to keep up with her}
    Check-out Girl :  That will be 62 Euros 25, please.
    van Engeland :  No it won't.
    Check-out Girl :  Pardon?
    van Engeland :  I said:  "No it won't".
    Check-out Girl :  But...  But you have to pay!  {looks around for support from the shop's SWAT team}
    van Engeland :  Oh, I don't mind paying, but I'm only paying €62.23.
    Check-out Girl :  Hunh?
    van Engeland :  {points at register display}  That's what it says:  €62.23.
    Check-out Girl :  Oh.  Oh!  Sorry!  Sorry!  I thought...
    van Engeland :  Yes, well, never mind.  {hands over €100}
    Check-out Girl :  Have you got anything smaller?
    van Engeland :  Than whom?  And don't be so bloody personal!
    Check-out Girl :  Hunh?
    van Engeland :  Never mind.
    Check-out Girl :  {turns away from 'yet another idiot customer' to count out the change}  So, that's €62.23... 24... 25... {looks back and forth, several times, between the contents of the till and the change in her hand} ... Oh, shit!... Um... Thirty!... then fifty-five—no! ... Wait, let's start again.  €62.23... 24... 25....
    van Engeland :  *Yawn* 
    {Three hours later} 
    van Engeland :  {exits shop, drops to knees, and opens arms to the sun}  Free, at last!  {stops short, looks at hands, then goes back into the shop to pick up the stroopwafels he'd left on the counter} 

<A Typical Day in the Stroopwafel Shop mode off>

And that's another thing:  Cash machines (known to APIHNAns as 'Automated ATM Machines') over here seem very anti-public.  I only carry cash to buy little things, like bars of chocolate or cups of coffee; so, when I go to the machine to take out a 'float', I don't want it in the highest possible denominations!
If I punch in for €100, don't want it as a single €100 note!  I want a fifty, a twenty, and a couple each of tens and fives (actually, I want Three fifties, a handful of twenties, a big stack of tens, and as many fives as I can carry; but it never gives me that, either!  That's downright unfriendly, if you ask me).

<A typical Day in a Sweet Shop mode on>

    van Engeland :  I'll have a Mars bar, Please.
    Check-out Girl :  There you are.  That's eighty-nine cents.
    van Engeland :  {hands over €100 note}
    Check-out Girl :  Have you got anything smaller?
    van Engeland :  What!  Not you, as well!  That's the problem with this country:  You're all sex mad!

<A typical Day in a Sweet Shop mode off>

Yes, yes.  I know that there's usually an option to choose what notes the automated ATM machine dispenses (it's labelled 'Andrew Bedrock and Billy the Kid', or something), but who wants to go to all that trouble?  I just want the money given to me in usable notes.


<Tommy Briton mode on>

    After escaping from the prisoner of war camp, we all decided to split up and try to make our way back to Blighty by different routes.
    After weeks of hiding in barns, crawling through sewers, and doing things that would make a very exciting movie (Ealing and Hollywood please take note), I made it to Churchillplein Metro station, in Rotterdam.
    I was inspired by the way the brave Dutch resistance had managed to name the station 'Churchillplein', but, since the trains always run on time, perhaps 'Mussoliniplein' would have been more appropriate.
    I did not need to take a train.  I simply had to make my way from one resistence cell, housed in the offices of lawyers de Brauw, Blackstone, & Westbroek, to another cell in the building of investment advisors Robeco.
    But it was raining, and I was worried that the colours in my hastily-dyed escape clothing would run, making me stand out to the Nazi guards; so I took the ramp down to the Metro station at the de Brauw end, and walked along the platform, intending to exit at the Robeco end.
    It was not to be.
    As I was leaving the platform, making my way up the stairs, I noticed a crowd at the exit gates.  Something was slowing down the flow of people, as they left the station.
    My heart leapt into my throat as I saw what was happening!
    Hitler, Goering, Guderian, and Goebbels were manning the exit gates, checking people's travel documents!
    I frantically looked around, but there was no way to escape!

    Tommy :  But I haven't been on a train!
    Guderian :  Ja, ja!  Ze Führer says it iss zo, unt der Führer is alvays right!  He is a vonderful Führer, and can do no wrong!
    Goering :  Ja, and vhat a nice botton you have, liddle Dutch traveller!  So cute unt firm unt pretty!
    Hitler :  Ach!  Pay ze fine unt get aut of here, before Hermann exschplodens!

    I couldn't believe my luck!
    I had escaped from the most evil comedy troupe the world has ever seen!
    And it had only cost me twenty-something units of their funny-money!
    I hurried on to Robeco, and freedom – swearing that I would return to take the Metro again!

<Tommy Briton mode off>

No kidding, there.  The rotton buggers really did charge me for crossing the road!
They could see that I hadn't been on a train, because it had only just started raining – I was drenched, but everyone getting off the trains hadn't yet been out in it.

So, what's different about the Euro?
I have to pay bloody fines in it, that's what!


Ok, so we've gone past the end of March; that's the end of a whole quarter of Euro-usage.

Question:  What difference has the Euro made?
Answer:  Discounting that it's now a damned sight less trouble, if I want to pop into another European country: absolutely no difference, whatsoever.
I'm actively going around, telling people that once the Guilder has finally filtered out of the system, in a year or so (there are still a few shops which have items marked up in Guilders, etc.), they should stop calling the Euro 'Euro', which is a horrible name, and call it 'Guilder'.  When in France, call it the Franc; in Germany, call it the Mark (superb name!), etc.
If the tiny-minded British are still insistent on retaining the Pound, by then, they can just call it a re-valuation; calling it the 'Euro-Pound' for the change-over period.

I can solve any problem!
{cracks knuckles}
Now for war, famine, and disease!


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