Published On: Fri, May 12th, 2017

Canal nudity

"Sorry, my attention is distracted," I wrote, "there is a stark naked person on the bench in front of the house."

Oh, well, I thought, no fuss! It's the way, it is. This is Amsterdam!

After only a few minutes, the nudist was now in full front of a rapidly growing crowd of by-passers and tourists, all with eagerly extended iPhones. Clearly, this person was not only a nudist but also an exhibitionist; he, or she, loved the attention.

When a second and a third nudist showed up, it started to look like a manifestation. Good gracious, I thought, soon the cold will trigger their bladders, and they will ring my doorbell, asking to use the toilet. " No," I would say, "use the canal."

At that consideration, I was interrupted by other urgent matters and forced to delay my eye-witness account until the morning.


The next morning, I had some doubts whether I could or would tell you the outcome of the Nudist-Exhibitionists manifestation in front of my house. You see, it may shock you as it shocked me.

They say that God's punishment is instant, but by being a nudist, no sin was committed. And God's punishment without sins committed would be outrageous.

What comes immediately to anyone's mind is February 1534, of course, the height of the Munster crisis. Jan of Leyden had concurred Munster, crowned himself to King, and proclaimed that all citizens should go naked in anticipation of the arrival of God's Kingdom. The New Heaven on Earth would not have fancy, fashion retail stores. A group of seven men and four women, all Anabaptists and devout followers of Jan, burned their clothes in an upper room in Amsterdam and ran naked onto the street claiming to be preaching the "naked truth."

By shedding their clothes, the Amsterdam nudists had overcome sin, the original sin of Adam and Eve, they said.

Protestant's endless appetite for theological squabbling confused the Civil Guard, the Lord Major, and the local Judges: it was hard to know which ethics applied, and which truth prevailed. So, with some regularity, the City Elders called on the Waterlanders to bring separated brethren back on one track. Waterlanders had to uphold a fearsome reputation that they could force brothers to remain, brothers, no matter what the argument.

But back to the incident, at the Keizersgracht. The nudist-exhibitionists fell off the canal wall and landed in murky waters. The draft at that spot was one of shallow waters; no more than three feet. The poor fellow yelled and screamed so loud that all believed that he, or was it a she, had broken a leg.

So, a second naked person jumped into the devil's drab to rescue the unfortunate victim by giving his a leg-up.

Possibly, I thought for a moment; they could be descendants of those seven of 1534. That stout cold-blooded behavior is how real Amsterdam, Christian brothers-and-sisters come out of the woodworks, or rather the mud.

Soon, an ambulance arrived, and the naked persons were all taken away to hospital after a grandiose rescue operation by the fire brigade. The crowd applauded for minutes, furnishing the drum beat for a cacophony of sirens of the departing rescue vehicles.

What is bred in the bone will come out is the flesh, even after 500 years.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist Curaçao Chronicle

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