Proposing, Dutch Style by Hans Westerbeek

There was still a long line of INSEAD participants waiting in front of the telephone booth on the vast square between the Cour des Adieux and the Residence, because, as already mentioned, for some unexplained technical reason this phone suddenly allowed long distance calls without payment.

Hans Westerbeek got in line after an assortment of Japanese colleagues as soon as he learned about the reason of this unusual gathering. Finally it was his turn. He called his girlfriend back in Amsterdam, which he had not done for five weeks for financial reasons.

Apparently unimpressed by the unique opportunity of talking to Hans for free, she asked: “Yes, I understand, but why are you calling me?” Hans was in the mood to make a feeble joke and replied: “I want to get married!” Her next question took him completely off guard: “Why?” Since no better idea came to his mind, he stammered: “Because – because I fancy a party”. Her reply was on equally romantic terms: “OK, let’s get married!”

So, thanks to the opportunity to propose for free, Hans and Carla have been happily married now for forty years.

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