A Caransa died

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Amsterdam real-estate multi-millionaire Maurits Caransa died at age 93 yesterday, Z24 reports. Caransa’s story was one of rags-to-riches, from being the son of a coalman to becoming the owner of most of the major hotels in Amsterdam.

The reason I’m reporting his death here though is that he left a linguistic legacy that few others can lay claim to. Back home, when we wanted to point out that we could not afford something, we would say: “I’m no Caransa,” which in English translates pretty much to “I’m no Rockefeller”.

Unlike Rockefeller, Caransa wasn’t anywhere near being the richest man of the world or even the Netherlands, but he had managed to literally become a household name. His fame may have been based on the fact that in 1977 Caransa was the first famous Dutch person to be kidnapped. He was released for a ransom of 10 million guilders. To this day, it is unknown who the kidnappers were.

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