There’s a small village, Bredevoort, that lies about 7 kilometres distant from us. It’s a pretty little village of about 1,500 inhabitants, and it also has a disproportionate number of antiquarian bookshops in it. That’s because, since 1993, it has become known as a Boekenstad (book-town). Apart from the 20 or so bookshops, there are also regular antiquarian bookmarkets, with market stalls placed in and around the central market square.
I often go along to the bookmarkets, and when I do, one of the things I invariably see is a queue of people waiting to get cash from Bredevoort’s one and only cash machine.
Today, I read in the Volkskrant that the Rabobank, the bank responsible for the cash machine, intends to remove it from the village. According to Nicole Olde Meule, the person responsible for the bank’s consumer clients in this area, the number of transactions has fallen by 9% over the past year to 25,000 per year. And that, she thinks, is justification enough to remove the service.
She clearly needs her head examined. At a time when the Rabobank has had its image severely dented by being fined €774m for its part in the Libor scandal, she thinks its OK to heap further hardship on the village, tourists and booklovers.
She knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.