The unwritten rule of the Netherlands

Travelling to the Netherlands three or four times a year I have realised that they have an unwritten rule that lie as a duvet over the whole country. It has to do with Gerard Joling – and De Toppers – and I can’t live up to it.

When talking about De Toppers in the Netherlands it is clear that Jeroen van der Boom never really was accepted as a part of the trio, at least not in the eyes of the Dutch population. To them De Toppers are Gordon and Gerard Joling fighting for the spotlight in front and a quiet René Froger somewhere in the background. Jeroen is the nice guy who stepped in to help them go to the Eurovision Song Contest when things once again exploded between Gordon and Joling. No one really believes that Van der Boom actually wanted to be a part of this trio whose existing has turned out to be a soup opera. Now that it is all falling apart he is the good guy who helped out in an emergency situation. It is not his fault that the patient is dying, people seem to agree. René Froger might or might not be held responsible for not helping enough, but the accident was caused by both Gordon and Gerard Joling. It is not easy figuring out whom of those two made it all crash, but people do agree on that it didn’t come as any surprise. Gordon and Joling together have been a tragedy waiting to happen for years – now that their break-up appears more final than before two big questions are still to be answered: Who has the final responsibility for what happened and is there still space enough in the Netherlands for the two of them apart? The answer to the first question is blowing in the wind – a wind with many directions and only time can answer the second one, but it lies in the back of people’s head that there is more to come when it comes to the couple Gordon & Joling.

It is not difficult finding people who have an opinion about it, but finding a fan is still like searching for a needle in a haystack. They sell a lot of records, but as a foreigner I still haven’t learned the unwritten rule that you hide those albums and you certainly don’t admit in public that you like Gerard Joling´s – or De Toppers’ music for that matter. This weekend I came a lot closer though when I was at a wedding party and among all the music I didn’t know a familiar tune appeared: Joling´s Maak Me Gek. I rushed to the dance floor just to find that no one else was dancing to it – the unwritten rule had hit me again!

I might have the entire family in-law in the Netherlands – and my coming children might be half Dutch – but by being open about having bought several Gerard Joling albums and liking the Dutch 2009 Eurovision Song Contest entry I have clearly shown that I can never become Dutch as I constantly break this unwritten rule – It is a good thing then that I am proud of being Danish!

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