Dutch youth heavily binge drinks on Crete

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leidseplein-kreta

Apparently, the popular city of Hersonissos on the Greek island of Crete is a popular piss-up destination of Dutch youth. And they get really blasted, and the numbers are scary, and thousands of young people end up in the hospital. Oh, and the boys drink 3-4 times as much as the girls if they go on holiday alone. This is as alarming as it is unflattering. You could easily compare it to the Americans going to some Caribbean island to drink without their parents around, Canadians doing spring break in Florida (guilty, I have it on tape to prove it, and I was of US drinking age), or the British going to Ibiza, Spain and coming home with sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

When I booked my very first vacation to Crete (where these pics come from) back in 2006, these Dutch cafés were mostly in or around Hersonissos, the city everyone told me to avoid. I stayed east of Hersonissos, walked along the coast to it, and kept going to Heraklion, the capital of Crete were the Cretians and normal tourists congregate.

You can’t miss the Dutch enclaves of orange, Dutch beer and Dutch junk food if you’re in Hersonissos, ‘littering’ the view of the old town. I can only imagine what that is like at night. I sipped Metaxa quietly at my hotel with the owner at night, a born and bred Cretian man who told great stories.

An elderly man at a bar on a terrace in Montréal one summer once said to me there were two distinct ways of drinking: alpha and omega, the A and Z of the Greek alphabet. Alpha was drinking too quickly (now referred to as ‘binge drinking’ ) and according to his gross generalisation, the way most of the Anglo-Saxon-oriented world seems to drink: cheap, shots, happy hour specials and quick, and all about quantity, not quality. Omega was the opposite, it was sipping good wine slowly the entire day in the sun on a terrace and getting wasted every so slowly like he was doing.

Even though it is – and I repeat – a gross generalisation, it has stuck with me all these years.

frietvanpiet

(Link: volkskrant.nl)

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