Why don't people wear hard hats in Rotterdam? Building's legal expert is not sure and despite his better sense he soon finds he's going Dutch himself
No hard hats here. Rotterdam is spending squillions of euros on their equivalent of our Kings Cross Station. Masses of huge plant and equipment are digging, drilling, even diving. I don’t know what the Dutch word for ‘anorak’ is but I fit; who on earth gets excited watching a massive piling rig, driving, reinforcing and concreting. Yes me.
But no hard hats here and, if you come with me to Central Station, Rotterdam watch out for the bikes. Sit-up and beg contraptions zoom all around you. Mums and tiny blonde two year olds on equally tiny saddles scoot everywhere.
Clogs are missing and so too, no hard hats here. Spotted a Dutch bobby on a BMW motorbike, no hard hats here. Scooterists no hard hats here. Mind you, not many scooterists. As for the driver of a huge Graafmachine op rufson (tracked excavator to you and me) expertly manoeuvring the device in his stocking-feet, he did it beautifully. Nice socks too, though a tad grubby.
Holland, I adore; the people, their civil engineering skills, windmills, little mice with clogs on . . . where? There on the stair? Where on the stair? Right there! Well I declare!
How come that they utterly reject the hard hat? Honestly, the site was packed with plant, men and materials but not one man wore a hard hat. And honestly the bike fiends – oodles and oodles don’t bother with a hard hat and honestly neither does their police force on motorbikes.
So at Rotterdam Central Station soon to see the high speed Thalys on a new rail line, did I wear my hard hat? Hell no. When in Rome . . . just stay in your stocking feet.