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The Undutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands, Its Culture and Its Inhabitants Paperback – 13 Mar 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Colin White & Laurie Boucke; 6 edition (13 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888580445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888580440
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 846,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A book which tells you, very good humourdly and very straight about the Dutch Culture and its people. As a Dutch national living in the UK for twenty years I read the book with mixed feelings ( Iam not like that! I don't do that!) But is has been a joy to read .It has certainly been interesting how people see us gloggies. If you are dutch and live abroad this is the book to give to your friends ( after you have read it yourself). It will show that through all the funny little quirks and mannerisms the dutch are a generous and caring nation ( most of us).
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Format: Paperback
This enjoyable little book first caught my eye 20 years ago. Its longevity speaks volumes. The authors (a Brit and an American) spent a combined total of 22 years living in the Netherlands. Throughout the years I've read some of the updated versions and have found that the book has evolved along with Dutch society. The book makes a lot more sense and seems a lot more funny if you have lived in the Netherlands or if you have Dutch relatives.

Chapter 1 gives a brief history of the Netherlands. The other chapters cover different aspects of Dutch life and customs in a mainly humourous fashion. One of my favourite passages is the one about how the Dutch drink their beloved coffee. Another funny part discusses Dutch toilets. There is a chapter covering the Dutch in their former colonies and other places where they have been very influential. The 3 appendices contain some amusing and helpful material about the Dutch language such as a list of Dutch-English words that sound similar (false cognates) but when used incorrectly can be embarrassing.

As for the writing style, the book paints a caricature, using humour, exaggeration and other elements to expose and describe quirks, habits and traits, not all unique to Netherlanders but that create a colourful cocktail or mosaic of these interesting people. I have given copies to several Dutch friends and it is always well received. Indeed, they tell me the book is a laughing mirror, and they like the book title.
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Format: Paperback
I think some of the people who wrote the reviews below should lighten up. The book is funny to read and should not be taken as an attack towards the dutch. It is fun to read and a lot of subjects are recognized by people who are either from Holland or know someone from there! I don't think it is a book you will open and read in one go but it is fun to pick it up every once in a while and read a through it. (or place it in the toilet as a lot of people over here in holland do).
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Format: Paperback
A great -I dare say indispensable- book for anyone, particularly anglophone, spending some time in the Netherlands. It would make a great gift for anyone in Holland for some time for study or work. Particularly apt would be to give it to someone after they've been in Holland for a few months --just long enough to start really picking up on the quirks of the lowlanders.
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By A Customer on 11 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
I gave this book to a friend of mine, who wanted to learn Dutch. She speaks it very well, so I thought let's give her the Dutch translation. In a week time 5 friends of her. They all like it very much. It is a must for everybody who wants to understand the dutch, and even for Cloggies is it very amusing to read it! (I am Dutch)
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By A Customer on 21 April 2005
Format: Paperback
The book was given to me by my |Dutch boss on my first day working in the wonderful Netherlands. Perhaps this ability to laugh at oneself is one of the reasons British tv humour is so popular (and not dubbed). Its a very amusing book. An early version of Bill Bryson
Read and giggle !!
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Format: Paperback
My now husband brought me this book when I had just moved to Holland, I knew hardly anything about Dutch culture apart from the usual, Clogs, Tulips and how flat it was (oh and the 'coffee shops'). I read it and didnt really find many of the traits and quirks relative to how I saw Dutch life, that was until I had been there a few months, every now and then something would crop up and it would remind me of something I'd read in the book, it was only then after reading it again I thought how funny and well written it was. My husband, (obviously Dutch) thought it was funny and true enough to give to me, to, in his words "break me in gently to living in Holland". I started calling him Clog after I read it and 10 yrs later so does everyone else
I have had to rebuy the book 3 times after I lent it out to friends and family, never got them back as they in turn lent it to their friends. So all in all a funny book, not to be taken seriously, it's just an insight into Dutch life.
Have a read, even if you have never been Holland or know anyone Dutch.
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Format: Paperback
The authors both lived in the Netherlands for some years and some of the book will be more meaningful to those who have intimate knowledge of the denizens in their home environment. The book includes observations on home life, child rearing, the cinema, work ethic, habits and customs, language, food and (IMHO) the main obsessions of shopping and money. I laughed out loud at the descriptions of the national obsession with coffee and the unique features of the smallest room. The book confirmed my view that it is nigh on impossible to have a conversation in the native language unless one is 100% fluent and 'accentless'. My only criticism is that it does not cover, in sufficient depth, regional competitiveness and the characteristic of tact(lessness), but perhaps that is personal experience. Highly recommended (I hope my Dutch relations will continue to speak to me)
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