The term ‘Dutch courage’ comes from the trading wars that the Dutch and English fought in the 17th and 18th centuries, although it didn’t come into popular use until the 19th century. English soldiers noted the bravery-inducing effects of jenever on Dutch soldiers, and the term was meant as a slur against the Dutch meaning that their confidence was gained by alcohol rather than true-grit. That’s not to say that the English had the moral high ground or drank any less… in fact the daily ‘rum ration’ on British Royal Navy ships only ended in 1970, much to the distress of sailors.
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