Saturday, 10 September 2016

A Dutch Czech

When some of my former students organised a 20th anniversary reunion in the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice a couple of months ago, one ex-student came all the way from Rotterdam just to take part. So, once I was back in Holland, the least I could do was visit him in Rotterdam. I have great admiration for Jirka, who has a Dutch wife, Nelleke, and two kids. In a few short years he has really made the Netherlands his home and mastered the Dutch language to the point that he now occasionally uses Dutch word order when he's speaking English. Very entertaining for me. He has studied full-time in Dutch and has a job working for the government in The Hague.
To visit him I took a train to Dordrecht, then a water bus down Europe's busiest water way to Rotterdam, arriving an hour late (sorry Jirka!). He took me to the city's most famous bar strip, Witte de Withstraat, his favourite cafe, Hotel New York, and finally to a microbrewery in a once derelict wharf area, now the place where Rotterdam's cool kids hang out. Had far too many beers then still managed to get back to my bed halfway across the country before trains stopped for the night.

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