I didn’t read the full story immediately as my brain went into complete melt down and shock at the thought of the Dutch economy grinding to a halt without the productivity and work ethic of most of the Polish and east european workers in the country.
It’s a truth acknowledged by most, that regular Dutch workers are not overly fond of their eastern neighbours who arrive here, are prepared to work very long hours and rarely take breaks. They get a job done and are happy to move on to the next as soon as possible.
Sadly this does not sit well with the Dutch way of doing things, which I wrote about in a post recently entitled Dutch workmen: tips on understanding the tribe, based on personal observation. It’s very normal to have to wait weeks/ months to have a job completed, and woe betide anyone who wants to get anything done over the summer months when it seems the entire Netherlands shuts down for extended vacations. (The Dutch spent €15bn on vacations outside the Netherlands last year, mostly in France and Germany. Why? Why not push the boat out and actually head somewhere different.)
When we first moved here and were trying to get projects completed on our new home, we had a problem which necessitated a visit from a supplier. I received a phone call from them informing me they would be telephoning again in two weeks to make an appointment to come out and look at the problem.
I repeat – a phone call to tell me they would be phoning again in two weeks to make an appointment to come and see us.
I’m afraid this did not compute in my culture-shocked brain. I suggested that as I was speaking to them right now, perhaps we could skip the next phone call altogether and just schedule the appointment today?
I was met by an affronted silence followed by the phrase that has driven me to distraction over our time here, ‘Mevrouw, that is not possible,’ delivered in a tone of absolute disbelief that I should have asked the question. I could not believe what I’d heard and no amount of questioning could give me an explanation as to why, just the repetition of, ‘Mevrouw, that is not possible,’ in ever hardening tones.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from the same man who scheduled an appointment to visit four weeks after that. No further comment.
It was only as I read the news article further it dawned on me that it was referring to jobless Poles and east europeans.
Excuse me? Jobless Poles? That didn’t equate either. Are there any?
If there are, and I can’t get my head round it, then that is a whole other issue. In my book no country should have to subsidise the unemployed of another, but that’s a personal opinion not a political one.
I’m sure the EU will spend months if not years and probably more than the Dutch vacation budget debating that political hot potato.