What is Den Haag without Haagse Harry?
The Netherlands has earned an international reputation as a country of tall, fit, prim and proper people, always on our bicycles, always doing the right thing. What the world fails to understand is that the further and further you get away from that global perception, you find how locals view themselves. Dutch stereotypes about its own citizenry runs towards the coarse, and the ideal Dutchman (or Dutchwoman) is often on the chunky side, with unkempt or altogether missing hair, food stains, unlaces shoes, and a ribald sense of humour. Enter Haagse Harry, a comic strip figure whose popularity became so great over the past thirty years that, shortly after his creator’s death in 2014, a monument for the character was erected immediately adjacent to Grote Markt, epicentre of daily and nightly socialising.
Adorned on his shirt is his famous catchphrase: ‘Kap Nâh!! Lekkâh Belangrèk’ And no, I won’t tell you what this means, you’ll have to ask a local. Lucky for you, that will be easy, as just about everyone in town can tell you.