Hans Brinker

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Potter Stewart

Hans Brinker in his personal law library.

Hans Brinker is the most famous Dutchman who ever existed. He is regarded as the national hero of the Netherlands, by far surpassing the fame of other heroes like Peer Gynt, Jan Peter Balkenende, and the kid on cans of "Dutch Boy" paint.

edit Heroic deeds

Brinker's greatest heroic deed was when he stuck his finger in the dyke near Maastricht, thus preventing seawater from flooding the entire country and saving millions of Dutchmen from death by drowning. During this heroic feat, he had to resist angry American tourists who interpreted the act as a mere obscene gesture directed at them.

Brinker subsequently attempted more heroism on the political scene, using the pseudonym Elco Brinkman. Already a national hero, it was easy to get ministerial positions in Dutch cabinets. In his role as Brinkman, he was well-known for his hypnotizing way of looking, which is one of the typical characteristics of Dutch heroes.

In April 1997, Brinker was elected Pensions Minister of Bhutan, in a surprising write-in ballot on an unannounced election day while the Bhutanese were visiting their mothers. This made him only the third fictional Dutchman to serve in the Bhutanese cabinet. As a result of this oversight, he retained his position for an entire month, before the next ritual cabinet reshuffle.

edit Birthplace

Many tourists try to include in their trip a visit to Brinker's birthplace. However, this is one of the best-kept secrets of Dutch society. When an American tourist asks for the place of birth of the national hero, the Dutch simply laugh in his face. Some Dutch may even claim that Brinker belongs to the realm of fiction. Such denial is a proven tactic in the War on Tourism. It arouses the tourist's curiosity, more tourists start looking for the secret place, and the Dutch get more chances to laugh.

edit Statue

Because of Brinker's important role in Dutch history, a statue was erected in his honour in the city of Spaarndam. Every Dutch citizen visits this statue at least once a year — a tradition they call the hajj — bringing flowers and a bottle of water. The flowers and water are piled up near the statue. The water symbolizes the threat of national flooding that Brinker prevented.

edit Death

Brinker tried to repeat his finger-in-the-dyke deed in New Orleans on August 29, 2005, during Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, this crisis proved to be beyond the ken of both Messrs. Bush and Brinker, and the latter drowned. The former's political career started to suffer its notorious damage when he remarked that, "I'm behind Brinker, one hundred percent."

edit Subsequent immortality

For the religious among us who choose to believe lies, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates.

Brinker's life was immortalized by the American author Mary Mapes Dodge, who never visited the Netherlands but did have a map of it on her wall, in her panoramic novel A Story of Life in Holland. Unfortunately, the novel gave short shrift to both Brinker's Bhutanese civil service and his pathbreaking work in flood control. Instead, it implausibly cast Brinker as an ice-skater. To this day, Brinker is known as the "Cy Young of Dutch speed-skating" by all who are ignorant of both baseball and speed-skating.

Preceded by:
Shari Lewis
Pensions Minister of Bhutan
Succeeded by:
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