wooden shoe, wooden head, wouldn't listen.

Published Categorized as english

That is not the most positive comment of the Canadians about the Dutch immigrants, but a pretty fair characteristic.
We, my friend and buddy, caretaker and overall guidance Nancy Fernhout and me were invited at the Folkerts family. This lovely sweet couple had been our adopted grandparents during our time in Toronto (2010-2012). They took care of us in so many ways. She borrowed her little cot, just as she did to 40 other families who got a baby, which made that Laurens was the fiftieth baby in the cot from the fifties! They celebrated birthday’s with us, giving the most beautiful little gifts such as freshly picked -forget me not- flowers straight from her own garden for Femke’s 7th birthday.
But now, we were having dinner, continuing our friendship. Schattebout, you should rest a bit. Worried as she was, because I just came from the air plane and had had already two talks to two big groups. . Schattebout, don’t make yourself too busy, and a few more of these caring comments.
I hold the silence for a few seconds and said to this -all her 84 years- hard working,- loving and caring for others- big mother heart having mother:
You would do the same as I do…
And than she replied: O Yes!!!!
The four of us burst out in laughter!
Wooden shoe, wooden head, wouldn’t listen is what Nancy says.. and she is right -again-
Opa Folkerts read some scripture, from John 17 after our meal, one of these old Dutch customs what they still keep all their lives.
Some of those stubborn customs for wooden heads are actually very good ones.
If we have the ears to listen.


  1. My father’s family lived in Holland, Michigan for many decades – ‘Wooden shoes, wooden head, wooden listen’ was sometimes heard around the house – I always took it as a quaint, self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek way of saying ‘I’m only human’ – or to chide someone else(but not harshly). Not surprised it has international understanding.

  2. Hi Daniel, Thank you for sharing this. I have to say, the way I understand it, that there is some truth in it…Dutch people can be stubborn and holding on to their idea’s and do not give up easily. Which can be strength and weakness at the same time;-) All the best to you!

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