A small statue in Stratford, Ontario.
The photo, of course, says it all, but, as a Canadian who was born and spent the first 7 years of life in the Netherlands, I can attest to a special affection which exists within the Dutch population for the Canadian soldiers who fought to free the occupied country during WWII.
Anyone who feels that this long-lasting friendship might be an interesting study will find far more than mere gratitude. Any Canadian travelling to Holland today will still find the people, young and old, very welcoming indeed.
I have two little stories to relate which underline what I’m going on about:
My wife and I were watching a group of street dancers in Deventer one day. The dancers, fully decked out in traditional costumes, had a sizable circle of tourists surrounding them and many had their cameras out to record the show. Diane also had a camera up to her eye when a half-dozen toughs suddenly came up to her. One of them put his hand over the lens and told her, in English; “No pictures!”. She was naturally shocked and intimidated, but, when I turned around to face them, something amazing happened. I was wearing a T-shirt which was obviously Canadian and the leader looked down at my shirt, then up to my face, abruptly apologized and pushed his fellows away.
One other time, my uncle took me to a little village southeast of Deventer. It had no more than a few houses and a pub, but, since it was in the middle of farm country, there were still lots of people milling about. My uncle and I went into the pub to buy a case of Grolsch beer and, while he talked to the barkeep, he let it be known that I was from Canada. From that moment on, we were mobbed. Everyone in that crowded bar was buying me glasses of beer, even replacing them as soon as I’d had a sip of one. They all wanted to know where I was from and started asking if I knew so-and-so from Winnipeg, or Toronto, or Regina, or Saskatoon. We didn’t get out of there for hours and I’ve never felt like such a celebrity. By the time I did get away, my uncle had to pretty much pour me into the car.
So it went on that visit and there are a hundred similar stories that I can tell.