Americans think Dutch people dump their kids in the woods and the clapback from Dutch Twitter was brutal
We’re grateful to @guyonessed for flagging this revelatory article in the New York Times which suggests Dutch parents have a habit of dumping their kids in the woods and leaving them alone to find their way home.
The Dutch do childhood differently. Children are taught not to depend too much on adults; adults are taught to allow children to solve their own problems. And so there is the custom of "droppings" — leaving kids in the forest to find their way home alone. https://t.co/WHkBnMREMg
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) July 21, 2019
Here’s just a little bit of the article, which you can read in full here.
‘This is the Dutch scouting tradition known as a “dropping,” in which groups of children, generally pre-teenagers, are deposited in a forest and expected to find their way back to base.
‘It is meant to be challenging, and they often stagger in at 2 or 3 in the morning. To make it more difficult, adult organizers may blindfold the children on their way to the dropping.
‘In some variations of the challenge, loosely based on military exercises, adults trail the teams of children, but refuse to guide them, although they may leave cryptic notes as clues. To make it more difficult, adult organizers may even blindfold the children on their way to the dropping, or drive in loop-de-loops to scramble their sense of direction.
‘Sometimes, they hide in the underbrush and make noises like a wild boar. If this sounds a little crazy to you, it is because you are not Dutch.’
Maybe it was that last bit which riled Dutch Twitter so much. Or maybe, you know, it was just the whole thing.
But either way, the clapbacks it prompted are a very fun read. Even more fun than getting dropped in the woods in the dark by your parents, probably.
That's in summer. Winter is different. On New Year's Day, my dad would take me, aged seven, out to sea in a boat. He would row five miles out, then put me overboard to swim back by myself. Which, I must say, was relatively easy once I'd made my way out of that cloth bag.
— GJ Groothedde 🇪🇺 (@eetschrijver) July 21, 2019
You had a boat…
My father took me to the Pier in Scheveningen, put a ball and chain on my ankle and then threw me in the freezing cold North Sea to make a real man of me.
This all happened providing I could find my way back home from the Forest in summer.
— Rebecca (@MrsvanP) July 21, 2019
Nobody mentioned the wolf-rite yet? There are those who think it's cruel for 4-year-olds, but luckily most of us stick to old traditions.
— Edde Beket (@eddebeket) July 21, 2019
Truth be told: it's hard to get lost here. We have no real natural forests anymore in The Netherlands. So all you have to do is walk in a straight line for 10 minutes and you'll find a house or a signpost. Also, since cheese grows on trees here, we're never hungry.
— Kaj Leers 🇳🇱🇪🇺 (@kajleers) July 21, 2019
It's true. My parents dropped me in a forest when I was 7, I lived of berries and marihuana for 3 years. Eventually I found my way back to civilisation, but I ended up with a family I didn't know. But we've made it work and I think that is beautiful.
— Rianne Meijer (@globalistaa) July 22, 2019
When I was six, my parents dropped me in the middle of nowhere. Being Dutch, I had made survival skills of course, so I killed a rabbit and cooked it. Then I used the stars to find my way home.
Pretty standard in the Netherlands. Highly recommend it!
— SuzyQ 🏳️🌈 🍳🐱🦄 (@MyDutchCourage) July 21, 2019
No actually, it is quite different. We go on our bycicles and drop of our children on a canal and then they have to wait till it freezes over and then they have to skate all the way home
— Annemieke (@A_mieke) July 21, 2019
I grew up in the western part of the country, where there are hardly any forests. In those areas, your parents take you out at sea and drop you there. You have to swim several miles back to the shore. Those without any sense of direction wind up in England.
— Nationaal Gyurka Jansen (@ThE_ED) July 21, 2019
True. It’s part of our beautiful Dutch culture.
That’s why I gave birth 8 times in the forest.
3 of them eventually made it home, the strong and independent ones.
— Ellen (@EllenNGNG) July 21, 2019
You miss the part where our children have to fight an angry cow at the age of four. Those that fail are sacrificed to the ocean so we may survive another year without being flooded.
— Daan Koopen (@D_Koopen) July 21, 2019
OMG THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO COME BACK?
— Ethiek is overal (@Gert_van_Dijk) July 21, 2019
There was also no shortage of comments like this.
Also, in the Netherlands, our kids don't bring guns to school, we still do fist fights!
— Rutger van den Noort (@RutgervdNoort) July 21, 2019
Also, we have health care 👍
— Roy (@RoySantiago) July 21, 2019
And here it is happening in real life.
— Douglas Portari (@douglasportari) July 21, 2019
he is wearing a helmet.. That is not a dutch child.
— Erwin Greven (@bowelrupture) July 21, 2019
There is a father figure present and the child is clearly old enough to independently ambulate.
Clearly not Dutch.
— Cynthia, Fully Exonerated (@Ab_Synthia2) July 21, 2019
To conclude …
The replies to this tweet from actual Dutch folks are A+ https://t.co/TBJBW2DkPi
— Kameron Hurley (@KameronHurley) July 21, 2019
Oh, and this.
This thread proves that Dutch humor is seriously underrated.
— Daran Glenn (@daran_glenn) July 21, 2019