Bagai Belanda Minta Tanah

Traditional Betawi proverb which is a figurative for a person or people who are sneaky and greedy or gluttonous. Given a little they ask for more, given much they take everything. There are two versions of the folklore associated with this saying.

The first version: The Dutch asked for permission to use a piece of land. They intended to establish trade offices with an area of ‌‌land only as large as the cowhide they brought. After obtaining permission, they measured the land requested. The length and width of the land was measured with a rope made ‌‌of cowhide that they carried which of course made a lot of difference in length.

The second version: The Dutch asks permission to establish a fort which is built on three sites that are located far apart. The forts were then acknowledged by the Dutch as land that had been given to them, even the Netherlands recognizes that area of land as their property. This story shows just how cunning and greedy the Dutch people were. Given a little they take a lot and then take it all.