The Dutch like to be cosy and friendly and they have a special word for it: gezelligheid. Coffee is an integral part of this and we are always offered coffee at the beginning of an interview. And not just instant coffee – every workplace has some kind of coffee machine delivering at least four different types of coffee. You can appreciate how lovely we thought this coming from our Melbourne cafe culture.
This is where a health warning needs to be issued: the Dutch like their coffee strong. Heart starter strong. And it’s really not a good idea to take up the offer of coffee at every interview if you have a string of them in one day. We learned that lesson very quickly.
Gezelligheid is also seen in the architecture and interior design. Even the business hotels make an effort not simply for comfort but for gezelligheid, an atmosphere of relaxation among friends. Some are more successful than others. The one we’re staying at the moment hits it rather well. This is the view from my window. In the bottom right corner is my knitting. Perfection!