Last time we discussed Dutch geography and demography. This time we shall discuss Dutch culture. Once again I invite fellow Dutchies to comment along and share your opinions, it is anonymous after all!
So, how to explain Dutch culture…? Let’s start from an American perspective. When I was on the Descending the Tower podcast (DHV amirite) I remember someone remarking that Holland is a leftist hippy paradise. Yes there are quite a few SJW’s in Holland, but most Dutch people would not describe themselves in this way and indeed take offense to the idea that everyone here chills and smokes weed like a goddamn hippy, which is mainly a tourist and lower class thing. Yet it is clear as day that Holland is a leftist country – incredibly leftist in fact. Americans complain about Obamacare? Holland has had mandatory health insurance since the 60s. Gay marriage? We were the first country in the world to legalise it. You don’t like taxes? In the Netherlands if you make upwards of 5.500 euro a month (5.800 dollars) you pay over half of that amount (52% percent) to the government. Want to own a gun? Gotta prove you use it for hunting – self-defence is not a valid reason. You like God? Over 50% of the Dutch self-identify as atheists.
Spandrell said that China has been civilised for so long that the nails that stood out have long been hammered back in. There are parallels with Dutch culture. Gone are the days of the monarchy, arrived are the days of endless political factions that add law upon law upon law. It is accepted to complain about the regulations but it is not accepted to refuse their necessity. The Dutch accept the rules of the game. The idea that the game might be rigged is not acceptable and indeed is quite a shocking suggestion. We might not like our politicians but damnit we shall find a way to make this work! We are in this together after all!
This ties into the fact that Holland is shaped by its small size; in the US the difference between Kansas & Washington DC is huge, but in Holland we pretty much live in each other’s backyards. You need to keep up good impressions for your neighbours but you need to do this in a realistic way. The Dutch are amazing at pretending to get along with each other but they do it in different fashion than the Americans, whom we accuse of faking friendliness. Americans on the other hand criticise the Dutch for being so direct with one another but they do not realise that that is a prerequisite for not going crazy. Americans have space, the Dutch don’t. The funniest way this manifests is the way in which people discuss politics in Dutch media: everyone’s opinion is ostensibly taken seriously. Naturally leftist opinions are taken serious above all else and the more leftist your opinion the more often it will be broadcasted, but there in general is a strange absence of serious disagreement in Dutch culture. We all play to get along. There is no serious counterculture because we are all plugged into the same get-along-with-your-neighbour culture.
This unfortunately is also true for Geert Wilders. Whatever the alt-right makes of him, Wilders is essentially a leftist whose only dissenting act is that he is against Islam and the immigration of young Arab men. This by itself has earned him the hatred of every leftist in Holland and has ensured that his life has been in permanent danger for the past 12 years or so, which only goes to show how far left the Netherlands has drifted.
In conclusion, I like how the Dutch are smarter than the Belgians, funnier than the Germans and better-looking than the English. I however very much dislike Dutch leftism.