Two caveats: bear in mind that it was written in the early 20th century and that the language may be a bit archaic. Secondly, I’m not entirely sure whether the pronunciation guide was written by a native speaker! However, the blurb on the front cover promises the reader that this phrase book will ‘help you along splendidly’. Whether it was any use to Richard remains to be discovered…
He may have visited Rozenburg as part of his stay – a sad reminder perhaps of what was there before the town and island were swallowed up by the petrochemical industry of the Maasvlakte (nowadays when traveling from Europoort to Rotterdam I imagine that this is what Giedi Prime must look like). The town still has a historic windmill, but most of its pre-20th century architecture seems to have gone.
Unfortunately, I’ve not had a chance to find out what other places Richard visited or whether there are any photographs left of his visit (he was a very keen amateur photographer with his own darkroom at Calke). We can only guess whether he ever used the chat-up line below or strolled around Kalverstraat (the liveliest of streets – plus ça change!) to do some shopping. I can only imagine what Mejuffrouw would have made of the Englishmen struggling to get their head around the pronunciation of vowels and tricky diphthongs!
Thankfully, the phrase book includes a section which allows the visitor to bemoan the difficulties of the Dutch language … in Dutch. Having said that, anyone trying to learn this wonderful language has my everlasting admiration.
- http://www.historischrozenburg.nl/welkom/ons-doel Website is in Dutch, but contains some lovely old photographs of what Rozenburg used to look like.