Friday, March 16, 2007

Zwolle, Pennies and Dutchness

Here's a little bit of history and a good shot of Dutch character... My mother was born in Zwolle, Netherlands. As such, she would be known as a "Blauwvinger", or Bluefinger, a legend that stretches back to time immemorable...

Once upon a time, Zwolle found itself in the mortifyingly awkward and thoroughly un-Dutch position of being cash-strapped. Their only recourse was to sell their beautiful church bells to the nearby (and rival) town of Kampen... and then the haggling began. Many days, words and curses later, a deal was arrived at: Kampen would purchase the bells at a steep price, but would be able to decide what the method of payment would be.
The payment arrived soon after, in wagonfulls of pennies! Zwolle was thoroughly humiliated, disgusted and (predictably) suspicious. They counted every last penny. The copper oxide from the pennies made their hands blue, hence the name "Blauwvinger."

Truly an honourable heritage ;)

7 comments:

Laurie said...

That's pretty funny Ruth! Is there any truth to that story? BTW, I think you meant that Mom was born in Zwolle, Holland, not Zwolle, Canada? No comments on why that error might have occurred :)

Sarah Marie said...

that's a great story ruth! haha i was going to mention sumthing about zwolle not being in canada either. that's funny!

Ruth said...

Oops, thanks for catching that! :) The story has a lot of different variations --I'm sure there's some truth to it though. Afer all, it's not completely out-of-character.

Amy said...

Absolutely go for the journalist profession, Ruth. (After all, if there is more than a grain of truth in the story, it's just a bonus, right? :P)

that was great - reminded me of the books I used to read such as "Dirk's Dog Bello" and "The Wheel on the School" which are absolutely hysterical.

Michele said...

Ha ha...Ruth that was good for a laugh. Amy...Ruth would be a different kind of journalist!! In fact I believe the truth would be her very weapon!!!

Laurie said...

Looks like you disabled comments on your handrpint post... Out here, quite a few people have had success with a primer called "Kilz"; if it's available there it might be worth a try if they're still showing up.

Peter Westerveld said...

I think they melted the bells into pennies so they could pay it off..