To be specific, by cultural assimilation I mean my knack for bungling simple tasks such as public transportation and bicycle etiquette. I have not picked up much Dutch yet, but I have picked up that "juffrouw" (pronounced you-frow) can roughly translate to "excuse me, miss." For example, juffrouw! You've tried to put your bicycle in bike parking without a ticket! Juffrouw! You've tried to ride the tram across town with an overdrawn OV chipkaart tram pass! Juffrouw! You just tried to waltz right into a UNESCO World Heritage Site without presenting your ticket! I realize the pattern seems to be me freeloading my way across the Netherlands, but I promise it was all unconsciously done.
Despite my best efforts to play the obnoxious American tourist, the Dutch have been unfalteringly kind, patient, and helpful. So far I have ventured to Gouda, Kinderdijk, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Bruges in Belgium. Gouda was, predictably, filled with local cheese tasting but also beautiful cathedrals. Kinderdijk, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site I inadvertently stormed, offered stunning views of Netherlands countryside and windmills. Amsterdam was wonderful and modern, and may require another trip to fully explore, and Bruges was like walking through a medieval fairytale.
This week at IDEA in the wake of last week's "CROD" workshop on oligarchic democracy, I had the opportunity to help draft workshop reports for the IDEA newsletter and the blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and Constitution Making (I-CONnect). I have also continued researching theological perspectives on the role of religion in constitutional provisions, focusing initially on Muslim theology from jurists and scholars.
Kinderdijk, The Netherlands