Status symbols in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country very representative of Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”. This means that status symbols are both rare and subtle. Cars are small (for easy parking and reduced taxes), government ministers bike to work, and you won’t see much jewelry on women below 60 years of age. But today I stumbled upon a status symbol that seems to be as important to Dutch people as golden necklaces were to nouveaux riches in Russia of the early ’90s: flowers. I was walking down the street with a huge (and probably expensive) bouquet I got from colleagues on my first day at work, and boy did I get some looks from passers-by! Some people were amused, some stood in admiration, and some were clearly jealous! Strangers started talking to me and made jokes (which I unfortunately didn’t understand, because of the local Limburg accent…). I’ve never had 10 different people strike up a conversation to me in Holland during a 15-minute walk! So, next time you want to show off in the land of tulips: buy flowers!

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1 Comment

Filed under Dutch Experiences

One response to “Status symbols in the Netherlands

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