I suppose with all this stormy weather it makes sense to talk about flood insurance. Many of you may be familiar of the story of the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in a dike. What you may not know is that it is a story which is actually relatively unfamiliar in Holland.
The American children’s storybook author, Mary Mapes Dodge, who had never actually been to Holland, penned the story within a collective volume titled ‘Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates, a Story of Life in Holland’ around 1865.
The nameless little boy is purely referred to as the ‘Hero of Haarlem’. The story tells how he comes across a leaking dike and sticks his finger in it to avert a flood disaster. Nobody comes past and he ends up there all night in the freezing cold and is eventually found the next day by the local clergyman who alerts his father and the local authorities who take the necessary action to mend the dike and avert the disaster.
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I’m personally a little concerned that his father never thought to go out to look for him, although there is no mention of Social Services’ intervention in the book! Maybe the boy had no idea that his father had perfectly adequate flood insurance cover and wasn’t particularly bothered if the dike burst or not? We will never know.
Anyway, there are several statues of the little boy dotted around Holland which were erected purely to aid tourism, and the story went on to gain worldwide notoriety, even being taught in primary schools in the UK.