It started a few weeks ago when someone told me he was going to Ibiza this summer. And immediately afterwards: “Then I’ll see you there.”
How so? What did he take me for? Why should my presence there this summer be so natural and inevitable? In all my life I have never been to Ibiza. And I’d like to keep it that way.
Being judged as an Ibiza goer – was he trying to insult me or something? Why was I suspected of being a follower? Someone who willfully joins the annual migration between the Netherlands and the Spanish ‘love island’?
It actually started over thirty years ago. In the late 1980s, when I was still in high school, I first heard friends talking about their vacations to Ibiza, that magical place where anything was possible. I had just read Jan Cremer’s books about the flip stand, the ‘unbaked string of dough’ and the artist island of Ibiza.
The fact that Jan Cremer and his comrades discovered this island had happened 25 years earlier at that time. So I thought: Ibiza, isn’t that passé and dated? It has long since been commercialized and looks nothing like the free-spirited island that Jan Cremer described? Why would you want to go there now? And so this took place at the end of the eighties of the last century, now more than thirty years ago.
A few weeks after the I’ll see you there incident, I told a dad on my son’s soccer team about it. We were standing along the line in Amsterdam-South, finally we were allowed to visit another match. I told how for decades I have been pestered with stories about this island, that enchanting world wonder where it supposedly is so different from Mallorca or Mykonos. And I asked, “Have you ever been there?”
No, he hadn’t been to Ibiza in years. But then, somewhat ashamed of my tirade: “We’re going there again this summer.”
Dear reader, even if you and your family have booked a nice quiet house in Ibiza in a few weeks, in the north of the island, where it is not so busy, such an authentic finca in the mountains, full of original details, with its own pool and sea view: this story is not about you.
You are different from the rest. The unimaginative mass tourists who ship to Ibiza for fun on command, just like on New Year’s Eve: now we have to have fun together – you’re definitely not one of them. You are a free spirit, an original thinker who simply has a special bond with the island. Between you and Ibiza there is an unspoken bond, a deep emotional history, incomparable to the gratuitous sentiment of all those others who claim that they feel so at home on ‘the island’.
In recent years you have had two kinds of people, although there is also a lot of overlap between the two groups: the pros who go to Ibiza and the patjepeeans who prefer Dubai. Dubai is uncluttered: it feels empty, without a soul. No one would say without irony that Dubai is such a magical place, where spirituality is in the air.
Unlike Ibiza, I have been to Dubai once – by invitation, together with my then six-year-old son. He loved it, the shiny little buildings, the tall turrets and all the other artificial instant entertainment they’ve put there. He slid down the bobsled run in the ice rink they built in the middle of the desert. My conclusion was: this place is decorated to the taste of a six-year-old child. And adults who have never progressed spiritually beyond the disposable entertainment mindset of a six-year-old.
(For readers who travel to a seven-star hotel in Dubai this summer, you are different, you have an ironically distant view of the world that allows you to enjoy a comfortable luxury holiday, while at the same time realizing that all these glimmers are for simple souls who far below you.)
Dubai was built for new money without pretension. Ibiza is for new money with pretension. The people who, sixty years after Jan Cremer, delude themselves that they have discovered a gem. Who think that no one has enjoyed this sunset so much before. And taking a picture of yourself with that sunset in the background: never before had anyone come up with that idea.
Ibiza is for the people who, in a soaring voice, impress upon you how special it is that you have everything on the island: you can visit a deserted beach, or retreat to the mountains, but if you want, you can also go wild in the wild nightlife. (Oh la la, Ibiza’s always open nightclubs, you won’t find them so uninhibited and exciting anywhere else in the world.) As if this combination of tranquility and entertainment cannot be found on any other island in the Mediterranean.
And then the greatest mystery of all. Because of corona we were locked up in our own country for a year and a half. between the Dutch. So why would you – after a year and a half without travelling, without other cultures or new impressions – choose to spend your first holiday in a Zandvoort branch, among those same Dutch people again?