Each with a heavy backpack, my brother-in-law and I arrive just too late at the ferry in Jonen, Overijssel. “Can you jump?” the skipper shouts. Once on board we buy a ticket from him. “Will there be more ferries after this to undress Westerners?” my brother-in-law asks the skipper. He adds: “The ferry is free in Amsterdam.” These comments lead to complaints from skipper and fellow passengers about “the many millions that the rest of the Netherlands pays to Amsterdam every year”. Growing up in Amsterdam, when I thank all those on board for their generous gifts, the ferry collides with the side, causing me to visibly lose my balance. “That was meant harder,” says the skipper.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of July 29, 2021