Happy and lucky to have friends (and acquaintances).

Gelukkig met vrienden, can be translated as: lucky to easily make friends or, just as correctly, as: happy to have friends.
(Just like ‘Clean Beach Challenge’ would be a better name for the competition in Dutch, schoon strand can be translated as: clean beach (no dirt) but just as correctly as: ‘beautiful beach’.

Gelukkig met Vrienden is the title of a book that Janke Greving wrote, in 2005. She found me, among others, via the internet and so I was one of the people who had learned the value of friendship and openly told the reader about it (according to the blurb, on the back cover).
I was happy to do it. At the time I was telling The Netherlands all about my life in a blog, at web-log.nl. If you read Dutch, take a look and read. If you don’t, take a look at the pictures! Please. (You might be in them, if our paths ever crossed! Do let me know if you are!)

I got on to this subject when a fellow Redbubbler, living in the Netherlands asked, privately, whether the term: ‘My friend’ has a different shade of meaning in Australia to what it has in the Netherlands and I believe it does. The obvious example is the way the term: Mate is thrown about, so easily.

During our first years in Australia my parents, naturally (although THAT has two sides too – other Dutchies avoided each other thinking that this would improve their well-being) socialised with many fellow Dutch immigrant families and naturally, they discussed their reasons for wanting to be here. One of my father’s favourite explanations was about how here, in Australia, you call the boss by his first name (‘_His_’ was used more readily in those years.)

I believe that my correspondent and fellow RedBubbler, from the Netherlands, realises (now) that on the continuum between close friend and distant acquaintance, if I am right, in spite of changes in the Netherlands (At least in its part of the www, where the formal ‘U’ (thou) has been largely replaced by the familiar ‘jij’), Netherlanders still want to keep a bit of social distance

(They’re packed so close together. Same number of people, as us, in a country half the size of Tasmania!!).

While, here, in good old, easy-going Oz, the lucky country, we’re happy to see you cobber! There’s so much space!!

I, consciously or unconsciously, make distinctions. Elsewhere I’ve told how a family looked after me when I was transferred to “Hay, Hell and Booligal” (Actually it was neither Hay, nor Booligal.). Whenever then and since, I was with them, they introduced me to others as a dear friend and I automatically describe them that way too.

Just like the lady who taught ballroom dancing, used to introduce me as her third son. She too is still a ‘dear friend’.
I always explain that the mother of our children and I are still ‘good friends’.

In high school, I had a best friend.

I also have this impression, this ‘theory’ that, in Australia, there is that superficial ‘friendship’ and the ‘real’ one. Maybe we find the word ‘acquaintance’ too awkward to use. I’m convinced that I’ve heard the term kennis and goede kennis far more often used than ‘acquaintance’ and rarely, (if there is such an expression): good acquaintance.

I rest my case, my friends!

(Peter Rowsthorn, host of ABC TV’s Can we help? uses that expression a lot. No doubt they get on well. Do they go on holidays together? Attend each other’s birthday parties? I don’t know.)

Happy and lucky to have friends (and acquaintances).


Ramsgate Beach, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 3

Artist's Description

Janke Greving wrote (freely translated):
“Ozcloggie (1943) lives in Sydney. He was born in Gouda and
in the ‘50s, in the previous century migrated,
together with his parents, to Australia. Ozcloggie was a teacher, he stopped working a few years ago,
to be able to look after his parents. His mother has since passed away, but caring for his father
has the effect that he cannot leave home very often.
His weapon in the struggle against loneliness and to have friends: the internet.”

Artwork Comments

  • Martin Derksema
  • Martin Derksema
  • Suzanne German
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