In the Netherlands, I’ve learned it’s very important to ‘Doe Normaal.’ But beware: ‘Normaal’ is different depending on the timing. Timing is Everything.

Most days, if you arrive at work dressed as, say, an enormous Super Mario, Dutch people will look at you weird. BUT if it’s the Tuesday before Lent, then it’s different. For Carnaval, they look at you weird if you DON’T dress up like Super Mario.

Granted, there is the stereotype about tolerance. If you want to dress up like a baby, in nothing but a diaper and a bonnet – as the gentleman by my kids’ school does every day – they won’t stop you. …But they will look at you weird. OR if you want to dress up in a thong and rollerblades, they won’t stop you. …But they will look at you weird. AND If you wear a burqa, they won’t stop you (yet). …But you may want to hire a lawyer.

All that changes, depending on the calendar. All through April, the dress code is long pants and rain gear. UNLESS the calendar says 27 April, and it’s King’s Day. THEN ‘Normaal’ means dressing up in an orange diaper, or an orange thong, or an orange burqa – with orange rollerblades.

Everybody is in to it on that day
Everybody is in to it on that day

 

Sometimes ‘Normaal’ depends on the hour. Yes, business hours are Monday-Friday. UNLESS it’s cloudy and rainy for 3 days and all of sudden the sun comes out. THEN it’s ‘Normaal’ to stop work, find a terrace and quit early.
Sometimes ‘Normaal’ depends on the month. Yes, most months the ‘normal’ dress code is Business Casual. UNLESS it’s every 4th February. THEN it’s ‘Normaal’ to dress up in skin-tight body suits and ice skates. And then to act interested in people skating around in circles.
And the normal dress code for June is Summer Casual. UNLESS it’s every other June. THEN it’s ‘Normaal’ to dress up in a full-body lion costume, or as Queen Maxima, or in an Orange Nazi helmet.

And sometimes ‘Normaal’ depends on the season. THEN it’s normal to dress up in blackface and insist it’s only black because of the chimney. Dutch ‘Normaal’ can change depending on the day, month or season. …But not the century.

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gregchoking
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