Some Dutch Idiosyncracies.

I went to the Dutch Embassy in Khartoum to pick up my mail. There was not any.
“Impossible”, I answered, “Please look under Professor Oostdam”.
“O, why didn’t you say so in the first place.
In that case it would go to the First Secretary.”
And , indeed, there was one letter, duly addressed to:
“De Hoogweledelzeergeleerde Heer Professor Doctor B.L. Oostdam”.

How did I know for sure that there would be a letter? Because I wrote it myself, one to each
Dutch Embassy of every country I planned to visit.
It contained a list of my passport number, creditcard and travelercheck numbers,
addresses, etc., just in case I lost something.
It also had the old-fashioned formal address which stands for :
“Highly Noble Very Learned Gentleman”,

attesting to the Dutch sense of decorum.

So, that’s why the letter ended up with the First Secretary, to whom I was duly introduced and
who cordially invited me to a party that evening.

His name was Floris van Duyvenbode Varkevisser,
another interesting Dutch phenomenon, nobility with its strange double names.
Literally translated his last name makes him a “Pigeon Messenger Pig Fisher.”
during a websurfingtour in October, 2000, I came across the explanation of the "Duyvenbode"-part: the name was granted after the relief of Leyden in 1573 to the person who managed the carrier pigeons which kept Leiden in touch with Prince William of Orange!

Anyhow, the party was informal and pleasant, and his charming young wife asked me
if I happened to be related to Carla Oostdam.
“Sure, that’s my sister”.
“What a coincidence, we both went to school together at the OCMA”
(Opleidings Instituut voor Christelijke Maatschappelijke Arbeid) .
“Let’s drink to that!”

Some months later, I told this to Carla, but of course I had forgotten
to ask for the maiden-name of Mrs.First Secretary....
and some months ago, my friend Herb Veeh told me that in his opinion
girls change their names upon marriage just so their former boyfriends
will not be able to find them back, not even on the World Wide Web...

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.......BLO fecit 19990710;note added 20001106