Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Smile in Photo: A Must for Dutch Driving License

Yeah, quite surprising...

I take driving lessons nowadays due to my attempt here to get a driving license. I take the lessons usually on the road which is just in front of the military complex. So, the SFH (our Soldier From Holland, abbreviated) watches my driving attempts when he has guarding duty at the gate of the complex.

Yesterday I had a short chat with him after my driving lesson was over. "Commander, I got a license here in Turkey,and also one in Holland" he said. "I got 100 from the exam in Turkey, and only 80 from the one in Holland, after my second attempt to pass" he said. I had already heard once from my German class teacher that many "experienced" turkish drivers had to take extra lessons when they wanted to make the license valid in Germany. So, it looks it is noticeably more difficult to get a driving license in Germany, or in Holland as the SFH told me.

The funny part is just coming: the SFH says that in Holland they turned down the photo he submitted for the driving license: "it must be a smiling one" the authorities had told him. How surprising!.. "Are you serious???!!" was my reaction. "Yes Commander, that was also the case for the passport photo" he replied.

One of the things I admired in Holland was to see everybody smiling in streets, in hospitals, at information desks, in restaurants etc.. But, I did not know that this was "kind-of" a policy they wanted somehow every citizen "to obey"; which is really to be appreciated I guess..

I must ask my dutch friends if they are familiar with this "smiling photo" policy :)

5 comments:

A Touch of Dutch said...

I'm currently [slowly, but surely] working on getting my Dutch driving license, & once I get to the step of the photo I will report back to you ;-)

I hope all is going well for you! Have a great weekend :-)

tunahan said...

Hi Isabella! Nice to hear from you..

I occasionally visit your blog, and happy to see that you go on blogging. I can't yet make active participation since I have limited access to internet here..

Good luck with the driving license; and I am looking forward to hear your photo experience :)

Tjeerd said...

That is an interesting story you posted, because as far as I know when for example you want to get a passport here you are not allowed to smile at all. So perhaps nowadays there is an exception for a drivers license, or the rules have changed...

I asked my girlfriend and she also says that for every official documnent you are not allowed to smile.

Here an official document with instructions on how your face should photographed :)

A Touch of Dutch said...

PS: One more from me on this post :-) I've awarded you a great expat blogger! Your award is at this blog entry of mine:

http://atouchofdutch.blogspot.com/2009/05/awe-sum-and-more.html

Have a great week!

tunahan said...

Tjeerd, thanks for the comment!
I have talked to the SFH again today, and asked about this. He says that the whole family had to renew their passport; and the same request was made to all members. "My father always has a very serious/stern face; and it was funny for us to see that he had to have a new photo taken for this purpose with a smiling face" he added.

Thanks for the link; it says that your teeth are not allowed to be seen in an official photo. So, no big smile :) but only a small one is requested I guess. (Maybe the original photos submitted was with such a stern phase that they had hostile looks :) )

Isabella, just thanks a lot for this nice award! My next blog entry will be about this award..

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