Two unusual things happened this week, you can call them a miracle or simply an amazing moment.

As I was reading on our terrace, I saw a city truck come into the neighborhood and drive onto the sidewalk. I could not figure out what he was going to do….until his truck started to spray the ground. He was washing the sidewalk. Not only was water spraying out, but it looked like it was steamy hot. He went up and around all of the sidewalks in the neighborhood, and never went on the streets, unless he had to. This man’s focus was only on sidewalks. He then drove near the sloot (a body of water, like a dinkie stream) and put a hose into the water. He was filling up the large tank in the back of the truck. Once he was done, he moved on to another area.

I have never seen American sidewalks washed before. The Dutch are known for being very clean, but this was just beyond what I imagined. This is not just about having a Dutch Swifter in every room, this is a city that washes its sidewalks. 

We had to drive an hour to the town of Doetinchem to see the next miracle. There was a  sign outside a restaurant that boldly said Always second cup of coffee/tea/cappuccino for FREE.

If you don’t know why I am so excited about this, please read the DINER post, it will explain it all to you. The fact that the restaurant had these signs out tells you how unusual an offer this is in the Netherlands. We did not go into the restaurant. We just stared at it for awhile, took the photo, and then went home knowing that refills are possible in the Netherlands. 

What a wonderful feeling to know that the sidewalks are clean and that there is a free refill in my future. This country could grow on me.

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  • Jane Moore Houghton  On April 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I wonder if the owner of the restaurant is American?

  • Aledys Ver  On April 26, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Whenever I post photos of any city or little town in NL for my family and friends back home to see, the first thing they have to say is: “how clean everything looks!” and the second thing is: “how tidy everything is!” 😀 I sometimes post a photo because of the amazing architecture or the beauty of a landscape, so I find it sometimes a bit annoying that all they seem to notice is the cleanliness and the tidiness!

    • janeduttonutrecht  On April 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

      this is just too funny and very true. I had heard about the cleanliness of the Dutch people, but I thought maybe it was an exageration. But it is not. I have yet to see a truly messy yard or a messy house. You could eat a pancake off these floors!

  • Alison  On May 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

    The fact that they advertise the gratis refill really does point out just how rare it is! On the other hand, I’ve been amused to see that at the Subway here in the center, they advertise that you always get a free cookie with your coffee. Another very Dutch thing!

  • Paula Korstvedt  On May 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    As Jane H. mentioned in response to your previous post – I can see you demonstrating “dinkie” as you say it. Similarly, I practically had an imaginary slide show of you sitting on your terrace reading and reacting to the amazing sidewalk cleaner. I love how much you transmit your pleasure with these small things that make up every-day life.

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