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    I wonder

    Why do the Dutch wear the same clothes at +10C or -10C? The difference in temperature is enormous, yet I hardly see any difference in the clothes people wear”, says Daniel Siregar from Indonesia, a PhD candidate at Mechanical Engineering.

    The question is rather funny, when you look at it through Dutch eyes. For what we have noticed is that -once the winter is over- we just need a glimpse of nice weather and half of the Netherlands is walking the streets half naked. So here we have a clear case of a difference in the frame of reference. Which is not all that odd, when you realize that in comparison with the Netherlands there are hardly any temperature differences in Indonesia. Roughly +20°C to +40°C in Indonesia versus -20°C to +35°C in the Netherlands. Up to +10°C the Dutch wear winter clothes, for that is what we call cold. Summer clothes only begin to appear when it gets warmer, and nowadays this turn in the weather often occurs quite suddenly.

    Having said this, we also have to cope with an awkward period, especially for Dutch women. Between temperatures of 10°C and 16°C we do not find it cold anymore, but not warm either. So what is to be done? A short-sleeved sweater or a long-sleeved blouse, a pantyhose or woolen tights, summer coats or winter coats?

    However, once we get to above 16°C, we let it all hang out. If tomorrow’s temperature is 17°C or 18°C, all coats are left at home. Even though we are numbed with cold on our bike in the morning, and we regret on the way that we decided not to put on any gloves. (HB)

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