Dutch Boy: Scottish Summers

My parents were interested that I learn English. As a result, I spent several summers in Scotland with friends of the family. I'm not sure how many people learned English in Scotland, but I did. Our friends lived in Kinrossshire, several of the boys there wore kilts when they dressed up. I never did, but as they wore their national costume, I often wore my lederhosen as it was as close to a national costume as I could get, my father being partly of Austrian extraction. Of course lederhosen are really German/Austrian and not commonly worn in either the Netherlands or Belgium.

My Summers

My summers were quite eventfull. My Summers I returned several summers to Scotland, often after having camped with my Belgian Scout troop in Germany or Austria first. That was why I had lederhosen with me when I got to Scotland. One year I went to Tyrol for 2 weeks, then to the French Riviera with my parents and on to Kinrossshire until school began in September. That year, Scotland had an exceptionally warm summer. We hiked through the Highlands and slept out in the open on the beach at Gairloch. Ah, those summers!


I am Dutch and Dutch is my first language. I had quite a varied experience in foreign languages, especially when my family moved to the Belgian Congo. I learned virtually no French during my first years in the Congo. Most of the whites on the estate were Dutch or Flemish. The odd French-speaking Belgian would have tried to communicate with me in Dutch, but I don’t recall any. There was no school around. I got home tuition by my mother and by a Dutch nanny. This included some English. With the black boys I spoke Swahili and Kinyarwanda but I have forgotten all but a few words of these languages. When I returned to the Congo much later I was in a different part and learned Lingala of which I only remember the swear words. At school in Antwerp my ‘first foreign language’ was English. French and German were taught a few hours a week each. My grandfather was as much of a language freak as his grandson and read English and French texts with me (Rip van Winkle and stories by Saki for English and Lettres de Mon Moulin by Alphonse Daudet for French). My parents were very interested that I learn English, which is part of the reason that they sent me to Scotland. While I had studied Engish in school, had never had the opportunity to speak English outside of school, although I must say that our teacher was very good. So my Scottish visits were a wonderful opportunity. Actually when I went to Scotland I spoke English much better than French. I learned some German at school, by speaking to my Austrian relatives and when camping with the scouts in Austria and Germany but I never quite mastered the grammar. My French only got better a few years later

Friends in Scotland

I was very lucky in that my parents had good friends that lived in Scotland. This presented a great opportunity for me. So my parents sent me to stay with friends in Kinrossshire. I spent several wonderful summers there and in the process learn English. I'm not sure how many people learned English in Scotland, but I did.


Our friends lived in Kinrossshire. Kinrosshire is the smallest county of Scotland and is situated between Perth to the north and Edinburgh to the south.

Our Friends

My parents friends were wonderful people. I got on fabulosly with them and was soon calling them Auntie and Uncle. In the Netherlands it is quite common for children to call adults who are close family friends uncle and aunty. They had one boy, Arthur, who was 5 years my junior.


Uncle was from Bradford in England and never wore a kilt. Auntie was, however, a born Glaswegian but she had her son Arthur wear a kilt to Church. Arthur didn't really have one, as his father was half English, but he held on to his mother's which was the Anderson tartan. Her brother, who was living at Stirling, had a kilt too. He went as far as wearing it to a wedding when I met him years later in Woking. I never tried them on myself. I don't think Arthur wore a kilt to school, but I was always there in the summer and not sure about that. He also wore his kilt to cubs and scouts. The neighbour's boys also wore kilts. They were quite proud of their tartan.

Kilt Usage in Scotland

The information that HBC is developing about the extent to which Scottish boys wore kilts is very interesting. I was espeially interested in the information about the post-World War II era becaue I spent several summers there during the 1960s. Very interesting page which reminded me of some boyhood holidays in Scotland.


As it was summer, I usually wore my lederhosen. I wore them most of the time. Of course my lederhosen had a halter. My lederhosen were shorts, flap with buttons. I never had the knickers lederhosen or the types with zippers.

As the other boys were wearing their national costume, I guess I decided to wear one too. The problem was that by this time there really was no suvh thing as a Dutch national costume. Forget all the talk about wooden shoes and baggy pants and all that nonsence. The closest thing I had to a national costume was lederhosen. Lederhosen are of course Austrian and not Dutch--but it was the closest thing I had at hand. And after all my father was part Austraian. At any rate I guess I thought, "They wear their national costume? Then I wear mine!"

Bavarian Jacket

I assume you did not have a Bavarian jacket. I did have a kind of jacket at one time, made of rather coarsely knit grey wool, with green trimmings and buttons of what must have been deerhorn, perhaps you could call it "bavarian", but not in the presence of my father. I don't recall taking it to Scotland. Maybe.

Other Clothes

For play and hiking with my lederhosen I wore open-necked, short sleeved shirts, usually plain white or with a blue/white or red/white check. In that particularly hot Scottish summer however we spent many days without anything but our short pants. Usually I wore kneesocks with shorts. I came to Scotland with the hiking shoes that I wore with my Scout uniform, but as it was rare for the Scottish boys to wear boots at the time, I soon changed over to my oxfords. I didn'like sandals. I felt they were for girls. I preferred to play barefooted when my mother was out of sight. Fortunately "aunt" Dorothy didn't mind.

Dress Clothes

When I dressed up for church I wore a blazer and tie, but not with lederhosen. My formal trousers were long by this time.


My boots and lederhosen were rather a curiosity. The Sottish boys asked me about them. I would have asked my "aunt" what to wear to Church and to special occasions such as the village fair or the agricultural show, but I do not now recall any of these conversations.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: January 20, 2002
Last updated: July 15, 2002