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15 Strange Dutch Habits: Are We Crazy People?

Updated on September 23, 2013

Introducing You the Top 15 of Strange Dutch Habits

I'm Dutch, I was born in the beautiful town of Schiedam (close to Rotterdam) and I have lived all my life in the Netherlands. I traveled to many other countries in the world and explored other cultures. In my own country live many people that weren't born here. I talked with them about what they think of us Dutch people. They told me they love it here in general, but there are strange Dutch habits too they can't get used to.

A lovely idea to write about! At first I wanted to create a top 5 or so about the weird side of Holland, but soon I found out there are many more. I love 15, it is triple 5. We kiss people 3 times, and thus I decided to write the top 15 of strange Dutch habits.

After writing I was almost too scared to publish! When giving it a good thought the Netherlands is very weird if you only focus on our strange and sometimes rude behavior. Is my country ready for a visit to the global psychiatrist? Judge for yourself and enjoy. I had to laugh a lot while writing this somehow hilarious Lens!

1: Dutch Are Stingy and Frugal!

I think Mr Duck is Dutch ;-)
I think Mr Duck is Dutch ;-)

Lots of jokes are being told about us by our Belgium neighbors about our stingy and frugal habits and I must admit they are so right!

Here are some examples:

-When we go on a vacation we load our cars full with food That's because we don't want to spend too much money.

-We don't like to treat other people when going out for diner. But when others treat us we don't complain...

-Lots of us "Dutchies" don't easily buy others a drink when going to a cafe or so.

-Same thing goes for buying someone a present: The Dutch people tend to spend as less money as possible on gifts

-We are no great tippers when we eat out or have a drink. Lots of people I know don't tip at all!

Image Credit

Another Strange Dutch Thing We Use - The Bottle Scraper

Soft 'n Style Double-Sided Bottle Scraper
Soft 'n Style Double-Sided Bottle Scraper

Did you know lots of Dutch people use the so called "Bottle Scraper?" It is invented by the Dutch to make sure they get out all the food they can from pots and bottles! So we don't use it to clean them, but for the food we don't want to spoil...

 

Did you go Dutch?

Have You Ever Been to the Netherlands?

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2: Dutch People Are Not Very Hospitable - We Will Never Win the Perfect Host Award

The Dutch hospitality is terrible. Planning to visit us at home? It is very usual for the average Dutch family to offer you only one cookie and then close the cookie jar! We really do, can you believe it? I never liked this habit, it won't happen if your visit me. But in most Dutch households this is pretty normal. Even with their own family members!

Also don't be surprised that you won't be invited for dinner when it's time to eat.

I even know people that politely tell their guest(s) they are going to eat and then make clear with their body language that the guest(s) should leave. Amazing! If you stay for dinner (or lunch) don't expect most Dutch people to have plenty of food on the table. They cook just enough for the number of people present.

A traditional Dutch dinner doesn't take long too:We hurry eating the food, usually it's finished within half an hour if not earlier.To a lot of people who are not from my country this is unbelievable and shocking! Especially people from the Mediterranean countries spend much more time on eating their meals.

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3: Mash Your Food Honey! - In Dutch We Call this "Eten Prakken"

Dutch people like to mash their food. From potatoes to pasta. I have even seen Dutch people mash their fries! When they mash their veggies, meat and potatoes together they love to put sauce on it too. Watch a demonstration on You Tube how we do that!

Curious About Dutch Food?

Dutch & Belgian Food and Cooking
Dutch & Belgian Food and Cooking

The Dutch and Belgian (our neighbor country) kitchen is great. We eat a lot of potatoes. A typical Dutch meal is potatoes, vegetables and meat. But there is much more.

If you like to try out some of our recipes I recommend you this book full of ideas.

 

4: Strange Dutch Birthday "Parties"

How do you celebrate birthdays in your country?
How do you celebrate birthdays in your country?

In most countries Birthday Parties are great, with lots of drinks and food, good music and friends having fun. That might be at home or in a restaurant. It's always a real party. But not in the Netherlands. We do it very different here!

One funny but also weird birthday habit we have is to congratulate all people present. No matter if it are the neighbors, the parents, friends or other people. You come in and shake hands or kiss and say congratulations to everybody.

Guests are usually welcomed to sit on a chair and they are not supposed to leave it till the party is over! When you got your chair to sit on you get coffee or tea and a piece of cake. Then you get another cup of tea or coffee and again cake if you're lucky! After the coffee/tea/cake ritual other drinks are served and snacks are being served. It's in this order. If you ask for something else when you're supposed to drink tea or coffee you'll probably see the host looking at you like you're from Mars or so!

Usually there are no plates or so on the table filled with goodies, The host walks around with them. Pieces of Dutch cheese are very popular as well as potato chips and pieces of sausage, toast etc. That's it. No dancing, maybe some music, but not too loud, otherwise people can't have a conversation with each other... Does this sound like a party to you? Not to me!

Photo Credit

Dutch Gouda Cheese is Famous Worldwide!

Beemster Classic Aged Gouda - Pound Cut (1 pound) 18 Month
Beemster Classic Aged Gouda - Pound Cut (1 pound) 18 Month

We call this 'old cheese'. It has a strong delicious taste. It is yummy to serve as a snack, but also great to put on your sandwich!

Beemster Cheese is one of the best Gouda Cheese I know of. I eat it frequently, I guess I'm a Dutch cheese monster ;-)

 
igourmet Beemster X.O. 26-Month Extra Aged Gouda - Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)
igourmet Beemster X.O. 26-Month Extra Aged Gouda - Pound Cut (15.5 ounce)

If you like to have a real strong tasting Gouda Cheese you should go for this one. Delicious! What more can I say!

 
Boska Holland Monaco Collection Stainless Steel Cheese Slicer for Semi Hard and Hard Cheese
Boska Holland Monaco Collection Stainless Steel Cheese Slicer for Semi Hard and Hard Cheese

To use Gouda Cheese on your sandwich you need a Cheese Slicer (kaasschaaf in Dutch) otherwise slicing this cheese is impossible. This one is perfect for older cheese. I have one myself.

 

5: Strange Dutch Toilet Habit

A typical Dutch toilet
A typical Dutch toilet

Now, don't be shocked. If you visit people the toilet is free. But if you want to use the toilet in a restaurant or other public places they make you pay. It will cost you 50 (euro)cent per visit!

The Dutch toilets are different than those in lots of other countries. On the photo you see a typical Dutch toilet.

Photo Credit

6: Strange Dutch Eating Habits

Eating out of the wall, disgusting!
Eating out of the wall, disgusting!

I already mentioned our strange habit to mash (almost) all of our food, but there are more! We eat our fries with mayonnaise for example. I love that habit, but in the eyes of people from other countries this might look weird. You should try it for yourself. I l personally wouldn't want to eat my fries different. Sometimes I eat them with mayonnaise and peanut sauce which is a delicious combination!

When a baby is born a typical Dutch habit is to serve rusk with aniseed comfits.

If it's a girl the comfits are pink, if it's a boy they are blue. If you visit the parents of a newborn you must eat it, no matter if you like it or not. You're supposed to act like you love it. The rusk with aniseed comfits is also served at work, usually by the father. So you can't escape them.

Lots of Dutch people eat their Peanut butter sandwich with chocolate sprinkles or Chili Sauce.

Personally I love chocolate sprinkles on my peanut butter from time to time. It is so tasty!

Another strange Dutch tradition is eating their hot snacks "out of the wall".

In the wall of most snack bars there are small windows. You put in a coin and get a hot snack (see photo). I think it's the most disgusting tradition we have when it comes to eating fast food! Most of the times the snacks have been there for hours! I don't recommend trying this yourself at all. You can get really sick from it and the snacks are not very tasty. Most of the times they are also not warm at all. So go for fresh snacks if you visit my country!

Taste Our Dutch Delight - Very Delicious Dutch Food

Deruyter Chocoadehagel Puur (Dark Chocolate Sprinkles), 14-Ounces Boxes (Pack of 3)
Deruyter Chocoadehagel Puur (Dark Chocolate Sprinkles), 14-Ounces Boxes (Pack of 3)

Our Sprinkles are famous. DeRuyter is the best you can get if you like to try them. Especially the dark chocolate sprinkles are great. I put them on my peanut butter sandwich ;-)

 
Stroopwafels - 20 Dutch Caramel Syrup Waffle Cookies
Stroopwafels - 20 Dutch Caramel Syrup Waffle Cookies

Another Dutch Delight are our Stroopwafels. These are 2 thin waffles in a round shape containing syrup in between. They taste so good! I always put them in my oven for a minute or so to warm them up. Warmed up these waffles even taste much better.

You should really try them out!

 

Join the Debate: Express Your Opinion About the Dutch!

Anyone can join this discussion. You don't need to be a member of Squidoo to participate. Comments will be approved by me before they are published. I allow almost everything except for the use of HTML, spamming, off topic subjects, rude and/or disrespectful language and everything that's illegal is not allowed either. So be friendly, be funny, let's talk about us "psycho" Dutch people ;-)

Do you love the Netherlands and the Dutch people?

Yes, because...

Yes, because...

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    • Nancy VanDyne/Jones 5 months ago

      Chocolate and peanut butter..Yum.Don't know about the mayo with fries.I'll have to try it. My grandfather was Dutch. Don't remember him mashing. Thanks for the insight into my heritage.

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Nancy Hardin: Thanks for your kind words Nancy :)

    • Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Of course I do! We all have our little quirks, and you'd be surprised how many people here do some of the same things you've noted in this lens. Thanks for sharing the Dutch ways with us.

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Ruthi: Thank you! We can be really nice Ruthi :) We're not too bad hahaha ;-)

    • Ruthi 3 years ago

      Although it appears you have (at least 15) strange habits in the Netherlands, still I like the Dutch I have met online. (That would include you, of course!)

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Susan Zutautas: Thank you Susan ;-)

    • Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've met so many nice people from the Netherlands including you. What's not to love :)

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      Yes sure I love my fellow Dutch sweeties! I know we're not as dangerous as we may look like sometimes ;-)

    No, because...

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      • 7 months ago

        As a Dutch ,most of your so called info is total rubbish

      • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

        @anonymous: I want to know the Belgium top 15 please! Thank you for commenting Martine!

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        I am living in Belgium and went to the Netherlands very often and there is such a big difference between our top 15 :)

      7: King's Day Party in the Netherlands! - The entire Country Turns Orange!

      April 27, Kingsday in the Netherlands: the entire country turns orange!
      April 27, Kingsday in the Netherlands: the entire country turns orange!

      On April 27 the Netherlands gets crazy: it's King's Day! It is the birthday of our new King Willem Alexander. If you're around you'll see a LOT of orange on that day. People are dressed in orange, have painted their faces, dyed their hair orange, and a lot of foods and drinks are orange too.

      It's a funny sight! There are festivities everywhere on this day in the entire country. Music, games, people selling their old stuff on the streets, etc. I love Kings Day, but the orange thing is a bit weird. The Dutch people have the same habit by the way when our national football team is playing international competitions.

      Orange is our national color, this is because of the family name of our royals in the past. We had a King many centuries back called "Willem van Oranje" (oranje is the Dutch word for orange). Now you know why we still have this color present when it's party time!

      Photo Credit

      An Impression of Holland Turning Orange

      We celebrated King's day for the first time this year, before that we had Queen Beatrix, she retired now. This video was taken on Queen's day but King's day is not different.

      Dutch people often jump the queue! Even penguins don't do that....
      Dutch people often jump the queue! Even penguins don't do that....

      8: Rude Dutch Habits

      We are really nice people in general but we also have some really nasty and rude habits! Here is a small list:

      We always tell you what is on our mind.

      For people from other countries this often comes as a shock. Dutchies are very honest and prefer to tell you the bold truth (at least they think it's true).

      Dutch humor is often very sarcastic.

      Our humor often scares of tourists and expats. Don't be surprised if they boldly call someones baby an "ugly monster" or tell you you look like shit. They don't mean it like that of course. It is typical Dutch humor. Don't be shocked. Just laugh like you think it's a great joke. It's what we do among each other too!

      We are awfully rude when we use the public transport system.

      Lots of the Dutch people don't let other passengers get out of the train or bus first. They want to get in themselves as soon as possible, no matter what. They even won't mind to push people away who want to get out! It's accepted here. It's sort of "normal".

      I'm deeply ashamed for this rude behavior! Same goes when older people, or people with a disability or pregnant women step in the bus/train. You won't see much people polite enough offer their seat when all seats have been taken.

      Jumping the queue

      Lots of Dutch folks are simply too impatient to wait in a line until it's their turn. Especially in supermarkets. People rush to another checkout if the line there is shorter. Or they simply jump the queue, thinking that's normal or so. Another strange habit of us I'm not very proud of. But it happens a lot so be prepared when you plan to go for grocery shopping in Holland.

      Accept it or do the same. We don't mind ;-)

      When we are asked a question lots of us Dutchies will answer this with: "Why do you ask that?"

      Maybe we do this just because we are curious people. But in the eyes of a stranger this can be considered very rude!

      Dutchies don't like to make eye contact when talking to you!

      We look you in the face or stare at something else. A lot of us are a bit afraid to look in the mirror of their soul. A sign of being shy?

      Most of us have an opinion about almost everything!

      And we are not afraid to share this with you... Even when you haven't asked for it. And above all: We (often) think our opinion is the only right one... If you doubt that, Dutch people can get really annoyed or even angry so forget about it. You won't win this game. Dutch people can be really stubborn.

      Watching through windows of other people.

      Most of us love to sneak inside through the windows of other peoples houses. Especially when it's dark outside and the lights are on inside. I think this is a real rude and strange curiosity! But on the other hand most of the Dutch people don't mind if others do that. Lots of people living here don't even have their curtains closed at night. And people outside think that's an invitation to watch through the windows when they pass by a house. Not that they really look at what's going on or so. They "just" do this out of habit. I do it too... it's in my Dutch DNA I guess...

      Photo Credit

      9: Dutch Workers Are Lazy

      Dutch people only work an average of 29 hours per week!
      Dutch people only work an average of 29 hours per week!

      Dutch people are sort of lazy when it comes to working! Did you know that Dutch employees make world's shortest work weeks? The average number of working hours per week in the Netherlands is only 29 hours. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of Dutch women work part time because of the care of their children.

      Dutch workers also hate to work overtime, especially if they don't get paid for it. Most Dutchies start cleaning their desks 5 minutes before their shift is over!

      The most lazy workers in the Netherlands are the construction workers: in the summer they get a holiday that lasts for at least 3 weeks. Officially because it's too hot to work. Then during the winter season Dutch construction workers also stop working for several weeks because it is too cold to work. I think the Netherlands is the only country that tolerates this!

      Photo Credit

      10: Very Dirty Dutch Habbits - Eeksssss.....

      Okay, do you still love the Netherlands? We are rude, lazy stingy, etc. and we also have some very dirty habits that are tolerated. Our top 3:

      Nose Picking In private or in public doesn't matter, lots of Dutch people do this without any shame!

      Burping out loud The louder the better and some people even consider this funny!

      Farting Yes really! Accidental or on purpose, Dutch people have no problem doing this and even laugh about it. Not about the smell though...

      Photo Credit

      Give Me Your Bold Opinion (like the Dutch always do)

      Love From Holland
      Love From Holland

      Do you Still Love the Dutch?

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      11: Child Benefit and Mortgage Interest Deduction

      The Netherlands is the only country in the world that has this!

      All parents in the Netherlands receive "Child Benefit", which is unique in the world. Every 3 months parents get a certain amount from the government, how much depends on the age of the child, the number of children and you get even more if your child is in a clinique or so. The older the child, the more you get. You get it until the child reaches the age of 18 years. Want to know how much Dutch parents get? Click here to see it!

      Another unique bonus in the Netherlands is the so called "Mortage Interest Deduction". If you're a house owner you can deduct a certain percentage from your yearly taxes. It's a bonus invented in the last century to stimulate people to buy a house. There is also a monthly benefit for people with lower income, who rent a place.

      I'm proud of these "strange habits". But let's admit it, we're unique doing this. Lots of countries will laugh about it (or be jealous!)

      Photo Credit

      12: The Dutch Are Not Proud of Their Country

      We have no strong national pride in the Netherlands and that is a shame! On certain occasions like on Kings Day or the international football competitions of the Dutch football team we have some feeling of love for our country. But in general there is no Dutch identity at all! We don't care if people speak our language when they live here or not. Even the government and local governments rather translate official letters in several language than teaching all citizens from abroad the Dutch language.

      Even our national anthem is strange. You'd think there would be something in it like you have Dutch blood flowing through your veins. But it is not like this at all! Instead of that we sing we have German blood... and also that we honor the Spanish King... now that is VERY weird! Most of the Dutch don't even know the lyrics of our anthem!

      13: Dutch People Use Diminutives for Everything They Do!

      Dutch People Use Diminutives for Everything They Do!
      Dutch People Use Diminutives for Everything They Do!

      A typical strange Dutch habit is the use of diminutives. It must sound so funny if you understand the Dutch language! Actually I think it's kind of cute! But I haven't seen this anywhere else in the world.

      Photo Credit

      Make an appointment to visit your Dutch friends!
      Make an appointment to visit your Dutch friends!

      14: Making an Appointment to Visit Your Friends

      If you want to visit your friends, family or other people you know you must make an appointment! Most Dutch people are not very amused if you spontaneous ring on their doorbell!

      There is an agenda for everything.

      You can't go to the hairdressers without an appointment, no way you can see a doctor without one and so on. I have no clue why! People also get mad at you when you're too late, especially when you have an appointment to visit your friend(s). If you're 5 minutes late you can expect a grumpy face.Coming earlier is no option either, Dutch people just don't appreciate it, they are very punctual!

      Photo Credit

      15: Sweet Dutch Kisses - Triple Kisses from me to you!

      I don't hope you have the impression the Dutch have gone mental or so, or that all is negative here. It isn't. We have a beautiful country and the people here are not too bad once you know them and are prepared for the national habits of the Netherlands!

      The best "strange" habit we have is that we kiss our friends, family members, etc. 3 times when we greet/meet them! Now isn't that sweet! We beat all other countries that only give 1 or 2 kisses. Over here your lips get trained.

      Does Your Country Have Strange Habits? - Share Your Thoughts or Just Say 'Hi'

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          Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          My son eats mayonnaise with his fries too. I like mine with vinegar. Here in Canada parents receive a child tax credit once a month, up until the child turns 18. Enjoyed you lens and would love to visit some day.

        • kerbev profile image

          kab 3 years ago from Upstate, NY

          Well I learned a few things here. Not saying I liked what I learned, but I learned.

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @kerbev: Hahahaha, Kab, it is still perfectly safe to be in my country ;-)

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @Susan Zutautas: Ah, your sun must have some Dutch blood flowing through his veins, Susan ;-) Fries with vinegar, does that taste good? I'm not sure... You're a very brave woman you still have the courage to still like to visit us, you're welcome of course, make sure you visit me!

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          Ruthi 3 years ago

          I rather enjoyed learning the strange habits of your Netherlands and many I do not find strange at all. Oh dear, wondering here if I have Dutch blood in my veins! I would go along with that number fourteen, as I do not like uninvited guests just showing up at my door and I am all for punctuality!

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @Ruthi: Thank you Ruthi :) You must have Dutch DNA ;-) Have a lovely day!

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          Sydney 2 years ago

          It is not all true, I am Dutch to

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          Sydney 2 years ago

          It is not all true, I am Dutch to

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          eva 2 years ago

          more like the habits of rotterdam, not the rest of the netherlands ;)

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          popi 2 years ago

          I visited the Netherlands 3 years ago and I was excited about the country and the people. They gave me me the impression that they are kind enough and I think that I like most of your "different" behaviours and habits. Maybe it's because here in Greece we are too "open" with everything and that has tired me. I think you live in one of the best countries and you must be proud of it.

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          Anne 21 months ago

          I don't agree with most of them. And I am Dutch. You make us sound way worse than we actually are haha.

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          Otto 19 months ago

          Thanks for sharing your pessimist perception it is very obvious that you are from Rotterdam ;) In Amsterdam we arrogantly think that we are better then the rest of the world! We grew up to be the tallest nation, indication of socio economic environment and the dutch kids have the best childhoods in the world !

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          Raquel 12 months ago

          I am brazilian and needed to make my english's final work about any country I chose, and I wnated to do about the Netherlands. After browsing and writing a lot of things, I finally found this website! I loved this! It is amazing and helped me a lot, thank you and congratulations for you job! I hope I get a great note :)

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          Conny 10 months ago

          Wat een ontzettend leuk verhaal! Heel herkenbaar. Ik heb zelf veel tijd in Italie en Amerika doorgebracht en heb de Nederlandse gewoonten daar een beetje afgeleerd. Maar ze vallen me inderdaad nog steeds op. Mijn kinderen noemen mij al jaren een halve Italiaan of Amerikaan, zo on-nederlands. Als ik dit stuk lees, ben ik daar ineens blij mee.

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          Grey 9 months ago

          I really had to laugh! It's so true. Like you can not avoid the rusk when a baby is born. ;-(

          But I also must say, that people here in the south of Holland are so much more hospatible. We are burgundian. If you want a taste of that? Try to visit some small villages in Brabant or Limburg!

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          Jasper 7 months ago

          I am Dutch too and I do not agree with all your opinions, I think that we have great hospitality and we certaintly don't make appointments to meet up with friend. Also I like to believe that we are very proud of our country and for the once that are not, than that is your problem.

          one point to add is that we are very crititcal.

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          Shelley from USA 4 months ago

          I have visited your country four different times and found your country to be very beautiful and the people very kind to Americans. I traveled with my sons at the age of 12,10 and 15. I was kind of sad to read many of the things you mentioned about people from your country. I always mentioned to my friends to visit the Netherlands because of your beauty and kindness. I did have an encounter with a horrible man in Voladam selling eel who told me to leave the store and go buy some wooden shoes, I had a few choice words for him and won't ever forget him. I still think about that ........ My country has many strange ways, but I was kind of shocked about some of the cheapness you say your people display. I guess I was lucky to find some of the kind ones with the one exception of blank, blank eel man. You should be proud of your country.

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