There are very few negatives to being half Dutch, other than the odd quarell with the border agency and the frequent mispronuciation of my name. I can deal with those and they're far outweighed by the positives. Intrestingly I describe myself as half Dutch rather than half English and it's true that my experience of Dutchness is one of halves- specifically the good half. The choice at a Dutch breakfast table, the endless coffee and Vlaai ( a cake associated with my mothers home region Limburg), the 'ke' and 'je' of the language, and the illustrations of Fiep Westerdorp. Fieps famed 'Jip and Janneke' are hard to ignore in The Netherlands, adorning everything from tea sets to plastic belts (like the one I'm wearing above).
'Jip and Janneke'
De Kabouter- Poortvliet
Nijntje (also known as Miffy)- Bruna
Yet quizing the internet in hope to gain a wholer picture of Fieps work and life brought me little more than pictures. Quizing my mum about Fiep brought only more pictures, specifically pictures by two other Dutch illustrators- Dick Bruna and Rien Poortvliet. I haven't been able to find much information on all 3 artists and so for now can only admire these charming images. Maybe the fact that these pictures are so recognisable is a greater testament to them then any nosy biography. I still can't help wishing my understanding of them wasn't only in these colourful fractured glimpses; The same goes for understanding my Dutch heritage.
Tot ziens (see you soon)