Archive for March 10th, 2007

Fall into the Gracht

Dutch Word of the Day
dronken: drunk
De Nederlanders geven niet om dronken mensen.
The Dutch don’t care about drunk people.

Or clumsy sober people. Or people learning to ride bikes. So many of the grachts don’t have any guard rails at all, and are just a plain sheer drop into deep and dirty water. In the picture above, you can see that there are cars parked along the canal and there isn’t much danger of people falling in. However, in De Wallen (the Red Light District aka the drunkenest place in the world), there is a gracht on a very popular street with no cars at all. It’s not like they’re manned by lifeguards or police boats or anything, either.

The Red Light gracht sums up the Dutch attitude towards a lot of things. There are no return policies in the stores so if you buy something, you’re stuck with it. They’ll sell you drugs and it’s you’re own damn fault if you turn into a bum. There are many ways to fall into the gracht here if you’re not careful.

I’m very shocked that there’s no formalized Mafia here. Brick shoes would be very common in a place like this. The fact that bodies are (during certain years) common in the Hudson River makes me wonder about this place. I know they find hundreds of bikes under water every few years. I wonder about murders.

Not just murders, but suicides. In some parts of Japan that are serviced by bullet trains, there’s a little suicide problem with people jumping onto the tracks right as the train comes. In New York, there are frequent attempts to jump off the major bridges. Since the weather can be very dark and depressing, I wonder if they have a problem with it over here. According to the Trimbos Instituut there were 94,000 attempts in the Netherlands in the past year, but they didn’t specify which were in Amsterdam or about the methods used.

I’d research it further, but this crappy connection won’t let me.

March 2007
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