National Geographic : 1986 Oct
When my friend from Germany brings her fancy car to Amsterdam, she often gets a broken window." Last winter, when canals froze solid, the Dutch held their traditional 11-city ice skating race. Some 17,000 citizens signed up to skate, among them a last-minute entry listed as "Mr. van Buren," actually 18-year old Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and heir to the throne. The prince completed the 200-kilometer tour in 141/4 hours, and a delighted Queen Beatrix greeted him at the finish line. The prince was roundly cheered for spunk and endurance. But heroism has a price. "The palace shouldn't have let him sign up ahead of others who were turned away," some people grumbled. "It was unfair." Rotterdam businessman S.J.R. de Mon chy recalls that when his wife inherited some old family jewelry, she wanted some dia monds reset. "But the jeweler refused to do it. 'These stones were set over charcoal,' he said, 'so they would glitter less.' It was bad taste to show off." A Calvinist society with stubbornly main tained traditions. Now enter the exotics, bearing problems. Drugs, for instance.