Saturday, December 5, 2015

Etiquette and Dutch Politeness, 1896

A lady is bowed to by all of her father's, brother's or husband's friends, and if a Dutch boy's father or brother has ever met a lady, that boy must recognize her.


Social Etiquette in the Netherlands Is Peculiar
Social etiquette in the Netherlands is as interesting as it is peculiar, and in its extraordinary manifestations, it is a revelation of what constituted the customs of New York hospitality of two centuries ago. The French are polite, but their politeness is nothing as compared with that of the Dutch.

The visitor notices it as soon as he arrives in the country and as he sees it in the street salutations. Everybody bows, nobody nods, and mere touching of the hat is unknown. As in France, the gentleman bows first; but, although he may have bowed for ten years, he is denied the privilege of addressing the lady. A bow is given to every acquaintance. 

A Dutchman gives an order to a workman and takes off his hat with a bow that would not bring discredit to a dude. If he meets his neighbor's footman or kitchen girl, he salutes her as he does her mistress, and the men servants give their recognition on meeting ladies. Everyone bows on passing a house where acquaintances reside, and it is amusing to see men go by and take off their hats at the windows—it is quite immaterial whether any of the family are visible. 

Moreover, ladies make a polite bend of the whole body as they pass houses where they visit. Tradesmen salute all of their customers. A lady is bowed to by all of her father's, brother's or husband's friends, and if a Dutch boy's father or brother has ever met a lady, that boy must recognize her. Every man takes off his hat to every other man that he knows, the dutchman and the pastor bowing as politely as two lords.— From Golden Rule, 1896


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