Teun van de Keuken is a food critic, but the owner of the coffee bar he frequents is most likely not aware of this. The boss reacts disturbed when the customers address him in Dutch. He wants to be addressed in his mother tongue (English) by his customers. When Teun asks for ‘de rekening’ he looks disturbed.
Customers must adjust to a snobbish boss
Teun van de Keuken evaluates the situation in De Volkskrant. He writes columns in this newspaper on a weekly basis. About the owner he says: I have to adjust, because he is the boss. I am just a humble customer, who has to conform to his whims and dispositions.
Will the owner be ashamed when he reads the article? He will probably never read it, because it is in Dutch. He couldn’t care less. And so there is much more that this guy misses from Dutch culture. But as a mono linguist he doesn’t even realise.
Another possibility is, that the owner is insecure about his inability to speak Dutch. That could be a reason to overcompensate with snobbish behaviour.
Learning another language is a major stumbling block for native English speakers. Can you cope with that? Are you willing to give it some effort?
Why is this food critic irritated that he has to speak English?
Is this food critic illiterate and doesn’t he master the English language? Of course not; he is a seasoned journalist. His English is as good as his Dutch. He is even married to an British woman. And since I know many expats who speak English to their Dutch spouses, I was delighted to read that Teun’s wife has learned Dutch. Together they can speak Dutch or English. In public they speak Dutch.
Bravo, Mrs van de Keuken!
I give you a big compliment. You are the proof that native English speakers can learn Dutch. I’m sure your husband loves you for this.
Working in hospitality and not speaking Dutch? Check out my Dutch Language Hospitality Program, so you can make Teun van de Keuken happy when he visits your place!
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Sod off with your English