What I have noticed about the Dutch recently is that they are comfortable, comfortable in their own skin. They literally have a saying in Dutch “lekker in je eigen vel” which literally translated means, feeling good in your own skin. It has a very broad range of meaning but I basically narrowed it down to mean, they literally are feeling good about themselves and are not worried about what others think.
I recently took my 1-year-old son to his wellness check and one of the questions they asked was if he was “lekker in zijn eigen vel” and as he skillfully took the play area apart, not even noticing the strange Dr. in the room, I said “yes”
From young the Dutch want their children to feel comfortable just being themselves, to be happy when they play, and to not be so worried about what others think. This can be seen by the lack of strict rules for school dress codes and how the Dutch tend to express themselves very easily (and sometimes very loudly)
I visited my daughter’s school website to try and find a dress code or list of rules and what I found was that there are 4 basic school rules:
- Take care of your own things, the school and those of others
- Keep the school inside and out clean
- If you need something, just ask. If something goes wrong, tell someone.
- Be nice to others, then they will be nice to you!
That’s it!! No rules about what you can or cannot wear, what color your hair can be, how long or short the boys can have their hair..nothing..nada..zip..because they want the kids to be comfortable with who they are and if that means pink hair, then so be it!!
It was certainly a learning curve for me, especially when my then 11-year-old daughter came home after a few months of school and she wanted to dye her hair because all her friends had done so. I of course said no, as its my personal choice to say how old she can be to dye her hair, but at the age of 12/13 I lost the makeup battle as many of the girls were already wearing it. You see, the kids are happy, they express themselves how they want. Girls can wear makeup, or be tomboys, they can dress any way they want because no one makes fun of each other.
This all transfers into adults who are happy to laugh out loud, jump up and down in the street if they are having fun, hug their friends, even if its a group of guys and a wide variety of people dressing any which way they want. It is rather refreshing to know that the society on the whole just wants you to be happy with who you are! Can you honestly say your comfortable in your own skin?