Strange news, copied- errr, translated from renowned sources.
Dutch culture and strange or bad Dutch habits.
Dutch internet news and interesting links.
It used to be a newsletter. Now it's a kind of weblogzineletterdiary.
Sounds good. How can I subscribe?
I can't subscribe. What's wrong?
So it's not possible to subscribe?
You got it!
Who are you?
My name is Onno Zweers. I work as an internet specialist. I like landscapes and swimming. I don't use drugs and I most
certainly don't wear clogs. In fact, I don't know anyone who wears clogs. To find out more
about me, check out my home page. But beware! Even if you
can read Dutch it will be hard to understand, due to abnormal use of irony.
Why is it called No Flood Today?
Half of the Netherlands is below sea level. One day we will regret this small design flaw.
Is there more about Dutch culture?
Here's a good start:
The UnDutchables If you want to know about Dutch culture, buy this book! It's by two Anglo-Americans who
have lived in the Netherlands for years. They sold 100.000 copies. I bought one for Maria, my Greek
girlfriend, and she was very amused. Fortunately, she still wants to marry me.
Brian Branson's "Dear Henry"
letters Very funny. This Englishman lives in the Netherlands and writes funny letters about Dutch
culture. Both funny and informative. Have I mentioned yet it's funny?
An online course to learn what some people call "the most useless language in the world".
Your English sucks.
You are very perceptive. English is not my native language. Please direct your complaints to email@example.com.
Where can I find past editions, from the illustrious time when NFT was still an email
The Dutch have a dubious colonial past. Who knows what my ancestors did wrong. They tortured,
oppressed, they made slaves and did all kinds of unfriendly things that no-one over here is eager to admit.
Once, the Dutch "owned" a considerable part of Asia. Whether this is a great achievement
or a geat mistake remains to be seen.
Take Indonesia. The Dutch have occupied it for 350 years. They robbed the country of its natural
wealth. Dutch writer Multatuli has written a
nice book about that.
In 1942, the Japanese kicked the Dutch out of Nederlands IndiŽ. After the war, freedom
fighters fought against the returning Dutch rulers. The Dutch brought in lots of soldiers to fight the
freedom fighters, including my father, who fortunately only had an office job. But under heavy
international pressure, the Dutch had to withdraw from their colony in 1949. Nederlands IndiŽ
The Indonesians don't agree: "We never, never considered the Japanese a savior from colonial
power". Not only the Dutch have been put into Japanese concentration camps, also Indonesians
have suffered at the hand of the Japanese.
You probably know already what a weblog is. I'll explain anyway, to annoy you. It's a diary of a web
surfer, noting which interesting places he/she has seen, so that you who reads the log, can also
visit the very same places.
Weblogs are hot and cool, they are beautiful, they are fun, they are hip, they rule, or in modern
Dutch: ze zijn vet.
It's a new generation that speaks out. In the sixties they probably would write pamphlets or books.
In the zeroes (you know, 2000-2010) they log.
For some unknown reason there are many Dutch weblogs. I'll try to find out why and report back to
The Dutch webloggers are one big family. They know exactly
what the other loggers write. When they copy a link, they politely name the weblogger that they took
it from. One web logger made a map of where each
logger is located. Another made a calendar when each
log has its birthday and how many candles are on the cake. I want to be part of this creative family
Some weblogs are very popular. Alt0169 has 2000 visitors per
day. That's really not bad. Many people realize that weblogs are the discoverers of the web. They
boldly go where no-one has gone before. By peeking once per day, you know what's hot before it's in
In the world of weblogs you don't praise one another out loud. You just simply link. That's all. Big
compliments are sent via email, hidden from the general public.
To my surprise, I discovered that I have a weblog too. It's my Logboek,
describing what's new on my extensive web site. It's not a weblog, it's more an autolog, but Caroline was so kind to put it in her list of logs. And now some people start to think of No Flood
Today as a weblog. Jolly good! I'm part of the family!
What else can this weblog report to you? There is no flood today. The weather is so good that
consumers go to the retail shops demanding discount on all long sleeves.
The remains of the church in Leiden where the Pilgrim Fathers stayed, will not be removed.
The municipality of Leiden decided to respect the concerns of many American citizens.
Ancestors of president Bush married in this church. Fortunately they left ;-)
That's all for now. I'm going to Barbara's birthday. To give her my condolences. Because her
birthday is always on the same day as the commemoration of the dead of World War 2.
Prettige dag verder.
2001, May 3
Tomorrow it will be five years ago that I made my first web site. But that's not what I wanted to
Disasters always seem to happen when I'm not around. I don't have enough misery to entertain
you. I'm thinking now of the day in September 1999 that Maria and I went to walk on a mountain near
Athens. Only 5 days later that mountain was the epicenter of a major earthquake. I was in Amsterdam.
I'm also thinking of the ferry we took from Greece to Italy. On the same day another boat of the
company sank because the crew was watching soccer.
Last Monday it was queens day. There was great chaos around Amsterdam central station. Roads around
the station were blocked, so people could not leave the station square fast enough. The square was
completely filled, and so were the platforms. Trains could not enter the station. So the frustrated
passengers stepped out of the waiting trains and walked along the rails. Because of this, the trains
could not move anymore. Chaos was complete. NS closed the station. There were fights between public
and police. Hundreds of people had to spend the night outdoors.
I missed it. I was in Germany. I missed it because it is in my nature to miss all the action. I have
a great talent not to be a reporter.
My friends, the boss of the biggest trade union, FNV, is a man to my liking. He wants the
people with 300 times the minimum income, to pay 100%
taxes over every next guilder. This way the managers should be stopped from giving themselves
excessively high incomes. Manager salaries have increased very much in the last years.
My friends, have you ever had a perfect excuse for not going somewhere? Maria asked me to be at a concert of her German class mates
"Is your piece going to be performed? No? Then I won't be there."
"But my classmates asked me if you could record it on video."
"Tell them I won't be there. Tell them... Tell them it's the day that the Dutch celebrate the
liberation from the Germans!"
But Maria's flute piece will be played after all. I will go to record it with the camera. Probably
all sorts of adventures and disasters will happen in Holland, while I am in Germany. Perhaps a
flood, who knows!
It's now five past midnight. Happy birthday, my web site!
Prettige avond verder.
2001, April 23
Last week Monday, Maria and I went to Cologne by car with a box full of delicious foods. But when we
had left Amsterdam, I panicked. I remembered suddenly that a few weeks before, I had seen on TV that
travelers at the airport Schiphol had to give all their foods to the police. Why? No food was
allowed to be exported. With such measures they tried to keep the foot and mouth disease from
What a pity. Our box was full of delicious chicken meat, onions, tomatoes, cucumber. We also had
lots of juice, because the German juices are really disgusting. And probably we would have to give
them all away at the border... Why didn't I think of these border checks before? What a pity.
On the other hand, if you think of all the animals that have been killed to prevent the disease
from spreading, a box of chicken meat would be only a small sacrifice to make. If they find
one sick animal on a farm, ALL animals on that farm are killed. As if this isn't enough, also all
animals in a 2 kilometers radius are killed. Even if they are in perfect health. Why? To prevent the
disease from spreading.
The unlucky farmers are pretty desperate. They don't understand why the animals can't be vaccinated.
The European Union does not allow its members to use vaccinations. Why not? Because it is bad for
the export of meat. All meat is checked at the borders for traces of foot and mouth disease. But
also vaccinated meat will trigger the foot and mouth alarm. So, vaccinated meat cannot be exported
to countries like the USA and Japan. This loss of profit seems to be more important than the well
being of the animals.
What to do with our foods? We decided not to hide anything and just to see what would happen and
hope for the best.
One and a half hour later, at the border, all traffic was directed through a checkpoint. Five
policemen were looking through the windows of the car. But they were not alarmed at all and we could
continue without stopping. It seemed that only the transport of living animals was forbidden.
We felt very relieved. But I could understand a little bit better how the unlucky farmers must have
2001, April 10
There are some things you should know about the Dutch railroads. The BBC once had a
documentary about railroads, in which they masturbated at the thought of the Dutch NS (Nederlandse
Spoorwegen). The NS compared to British rail as a swan to a dead parrot.
The last few years things have changed. Trains are full. Trains are late. And last week, trains were
on strike. Why? Trains are late and full because the NS has not enough trains. They have ordered new
trains but it takes years before they are ready.
They striked because the NS administration wants the personnel to cover smaller distances. Now, a
conductor travels from Haarlem all the way down to Maastricht. Next year, they have to travel from
Haarlem to Amsterdam, where another conductor takes over the train and the first conductor goes back
to Haarlem on another train. They call this a rondje om de kerk (around the church).
This is unacceptably boring for the personnel. So they strike.
And which is the only part of the Netherlands where they don't strike? Exactly! The region where
they already go rondjes om de kerk. They don't seem to mind it.
During the strikes, everybody uses their car. Because of this, the roads are completely jammed with
traffic. A colleague of mine has been 8 hours on the road on last Thursday, just enough to have
lunch at the office.
It seems that our swan is in a severe coma. How is the British parrot? Still pining for the fjords?
2001, April 9
Dear people, let me tell you about Dutch democracy. The queen is not elected. The prime
minister is not elected. The mayors are not elected. Managers of companies, even the important
companies, are not elected. Oopsy! It seems that Holland is no democracy!
How does it work then? The kingship is inherited. We vote for a political party: the biggest party
gets to pick the prime minister. Mayors are appointed by the queen. Fortunately, we do elect the
city council. And the queen has no power - officially. But behind the curtains she is said to talk
I would be very interested to see a democratic company! To choose your own boss... That would be
On the 25th of April there is a referendum in Amsterdam.
We get to choose if the city center should have its own stadsdeelraad (city part council). Frankly,
I couldn't care less. What I do want is to elect the mayor. And why don't we get to elect our own
Dear friends, the Volkskrant magazine, that comes with the Volkskrant newspaper, had a special on
the victims of the Volendam cafe fire. On new years eve, a few people were killed and
something like 100 people burned, some of them severe. The owner of the cafe had neglected several
safety precautions, even after warnings.
That's another disaster that I failed to report to you earlier. Oopsy!
Otherwise the papers are full of Maxima. So I unsubscribed from the Volkskrant. I will read the news
from internet and Teletext (It will save me 200 guilders per year and half an hour per day.
Another subscription I will terminate is the cable internet. UPC, the cable company covering
Amsterdam, has made so many losses that they are raising their internet fee from 90 to 100 guilders
per month. While UPC has the worst reputation of all providers. A nice moment to quit.
By the way, there was no flood today. Prettige avond verder.
2001, April 6
I have not made an edition of the No Flood Today newsletter since 13 march 2000, that's one year.
That calls for a celebration! So I went to the bakery to get a birthday cake with one candle.
Unfortunately I didn't have enough money. A great emptiness has come over my bank account since I
met my wonderful girlfriend Maria, and spend lots of guilders
on phoning and airplaning to Greece. So, no cake today. Instead, I feast on the most
wonderful mousakas you could ever imagine.
I have decided to turn No Flood Today into a web letter.
During this year, I failed to report on the big fireworks disaster in Deventer in may 2000. A
few blocks of houses were destroyed and something like 20 people were killed. You would think that
Dutch people have had enough of fireworks now. Wrong. New years eve has been explosive as ever.
Our crown prince has a girlfriend. Her name is Maxima. When I hear the word maxima I usually
think of people with high income. The Dutch royal family certainly has a high income and Maxima will
soon get her share of it.
Maxima has one problem: her father. Zorreguieta has been a minister in the Argentinean junta of
dictator Videla. This is not politically correct. What to do now? To become queen or be friends with
Since last week, Maxima and the prince, Willem Alexander, are engaged. It went with lots of royal
hugs, kisses and blushes from the prince. He could easily have been mistaken for a fire brigade
truck. Maxima declared in charming Dutch that she didn't approve of her fathers support to the
junta. Her father will not be present at the wedding. This way, the Dutch public can forget about
nasty juntas in Argentina. Problem solved. Now, everybody loves Maxima. She's politically correct.
I want to emigrate to a republic!
Another nice thing. Thousands of cows and sheep are killed because of the Foot and Mouth
disease. Not because they are ill, but because there is a chance they are ill and will spread the
disease further. I urged the minister of agriculture to go for vaccinations instead of preventive
killing. Now, in some areas the cattle will be vaccinated.
Why does Europe want to kill instead of vaccinate? Because vaccinated cows can not be exported to
the USA. We would sell less meat. The cows die because of our boundless greed.
A month or two ago, a French woman published a book about Dutch men. They are totally
unromantic and unsexy, she complained. No wonder. When surrounded by Dutch women, even a foreign man
would become unromantic. I got my woman from abroad. I rest my case.
There is no flood today, nor has there been one this winter. The water had defied all
physical laws and ran up the English hills instead of into the lowland swamps. That's it for now.
Prettige avond verder.