"It was not difficult to find Pierre Brassel. He was, so to speak, on display. The Dutch have a peculiar habit of never closing curtains, except sometimes, bedroom curtains. Tourists make it a point to walk the streets of Dutch cities, peeking into rooms as they pass by. Nobody takes offense. On the contrary, the Dutch take great pride in their interiors."(Jan Vermeer, Street in Delft, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
That's an accurate observation, acknowledged by the Dutch themselves. It calls to mind those great seventeenth-century Dutch paintings in which a viewer is invited not just to peer into a house or courtyard but to do so in depth. (Space being at a premium in the Netherlands, Dutch houses tend to be narrow and thus to seem deep.)
I especially like this observation, evocative of the distinctive Dutch settlement pattern in which there are few American-style suburbs and lots of rural village/bedroom communities:
"The place was pleasantly crowded.Oh, and this:
"Farmers came from the outlying areas around the village. Civil servants and businesspeople came from the bedroom community. Shopkeepers came from the small town. All had responded to the invitation."
"Then he thought cynically that his path, at times, seemed to be literally strewn with beautiful blonde women. But of course, there were a lot of beautiful blonde women in Holland, and a lot of them looked alike."© Peter Rozovsky 2009