VRDays Meetup In Low-Poly Amsterdam: VR Truth Before VR Empathy?

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Join us in a low-poly Amsterdam during VRDays Europe for our second year in a row! Last year our theme was, Can Social VR Save the Planet? Apparently so, since it's still here :) Anyway, this year our theme is... "Truth before empathy?" (see below). Hangout along one "Venice of the North"'s famous canals while chatting about virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

VRDays Tickets: https://vrdays.co

P.S. "Truth before empathy?" Sound like a stretch? Looking back over the years, some of my most memorable conversations have been with extremely direct Nederlanders. Read this: "Dutch directness. Now you’ve heard the rumors, the stereotypes, the hearsay, and the clichés -and I’m here to tell you, that like the majority of gossip, they are, in fact…all absolutely true! Dutch people are direct. Direct to the point of shocking at times. Direct to the point of “what the f@#$ did he just say to me?!?. ...

This Dutch trait has gone by many names; call it what you will – abrupt, bad-mannered, barbaric, blunt, brusque, cheeky, crude, curt, direct, discourteous, forthright, frank, graceless, gruff, honest, ignorant, impolite, inconsiderate, insulting, intrusive, matter-of-fact, open, outspoken, plain, point-blank, raw, refreshing, rude, sincere, straightforward, surprising, uncouth or unmannerly. Essentially, the bottom line remains: the Dutch speak their minds.


Dutch people don’t mince words. You certainly won’t find them biting their tongues, dying for the courage to finally speak freely. Don’t feel like hearing from your co-worker that she actually doesn’t think your new haircut is all that nice. Too bad. Don’t want to know that the speech you made and worried might have sucked, did in fact, suck, big time. Get used to it. In the Netherlands you are likely going to hear a lot of statements, that in other cultures politely fall into the category of “better left unsaid”.


Dutch people revel in such lively and opinion-fueled debate. Dutch people value honesty and sincerity. What we (non-Dutch peeps) might consider rude or blunt, the Dutch perceive as honesty and truth. In fact, they pride themselves in having and expressing an opinion. Don’t have an opinion? Well, you had better get one fast!

The Dutch are in fact proud of all this directness and their very unique tell-it-as-they-see-it mentality. They often consider the English or American forms of politeness a sign of weakness, and reeking of insincerity and hypocrisy (two traits Dutch people absolutely despise). It turns out for the Dutch, there isn’t much in between those two startling extremes (directness and insincerity) and when faced with such a choice, there is obviously only one answer. Not quite sure which side you choose? Well, in the words of the famously rude direct Dutch speed-skater, Sven Kramer, “Are you stupid?” (Dutch Directness, https://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/2011/05/28/dutch-directness)

Everyone goes on-and-on-and-on about VR being an empathy machine. So this year's theme is, "Truth before empathy?" Might VR/AR/XR benefit from some brutal honesty? Wanna call out what you see as BS? This is your lucky minute.

(BTW, re the theme, "Truth before Empathy?" It's adapted from "“Others may think that we don’t have empathy. And maybe that is so because we think truthfulness goes before empathy...”, see http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180131-where-dutch-directness-comes-from and related https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/dutch-culture-brutally-honest-people).

P.S.S. Ask me about my most memorable anecdotes about experiencing the very direct Dutch!

P.S.S.S. This informal meetup is unaffiliated VRDays Europe.

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