They call it hooting here. It has nothing to do with owls. Hooting is using your car horn. Not honking, but hooting.

Hooting has recently made some news here. The government announced that there will be an increase in traffic fines in 2012 and some fines will double in cost. As an example, if you do not stop at a zebra crossing (this is a cross walk, not for the Dutch zebras but for the Dutch people), the fine will go from 180 euros to 320 euros. If you go through a red light or are talking on the phone while driving, you will now be fined 220 euros. BUT if you unnecessarily use your car horn, the fine is currently 180 euros and it will be 350 euros next year. That is 350 euros (about $469.00) for honking your horn in an “antisocial way”.

This fine is to stop drivers from using their horn outside a home, to pick up a friend. It is to stop drivers from honking their horn if they see someone they know. The horn is only supposed to be used in a life or death situation…maybe that means if you are driving through a zebra crossing and a red light, and you are about to hit a bicyclist who is unnecessarily using his bell to tell you to get out of his way.

The fine for going through a red light is LESS than hooting. Apparently, there is too much hooting going on in the Netherlands. It must disturb the cows and it is making them give stress filled milk. Perhaps hooting makes the windmills turn backwards and then all hell breaks loose. I imagine that hooting can be a problem for the red light district…working women are on the job in their houseboats and then they hear the hooting. Is it a potential  customer? Is it someone driving by in need of a cup of sugar? Does too much hooting make the customers too nervous? No matter what, the hooting is disturbing the peaceful activities of the Dutch.

So all of the bumper stickers will have to be removed. You may have heard of them: HOOT IF YOU LOVE GOUDA, HOOT IF YOU TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS, HOOT IF YOU WENT TO IKEA TODAY and my personal favorite: HOOT IF THIS HOUSEBOAT IS ROCKING.

Stop the madness and stop hooting! You will save yourself a lot of money by keeping your finger off the hooter. For all of you who may visit the Netherlands, just remember that this country is a hoot free zone. And never doubt that the Dutch are serious about your hooters.

Recommended reading: That old Cape magic by Richard Russo.

A running theme in this fabulous novel is what he has in his car for almost the entire novel. Hoot if you love this book.

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  • Loree Griffin Burns  On December 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I was expecting a post about Carl Hiassen. This was much funnier! ❤

  • Judy Savage  On December 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    What a hoot! I love that the Dutch are serioius about their laws. I was there during the gas crisis and there were NO cars on the road when I arrived. They meant it! I think there were fines for the first two offences and then they took your license away. Done!

    This was hilarously funny. Thanks, Jane, for, once again, writing about a serious subject with such humor. You have such a gift. Thanks for sharing.

    Reminds me about the local Quaker Meeting House bumper sticker, “Honk if you love silence”. Right……

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