Amsterdam: some thoughts about The Netherlands

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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When I confessed to my friends that I had never been in Amsterdam they could barely believe me. What kind of a Dutch-speaking 24 year old who lived within 3 hours of Amsterdam had never been there? Well the answer was me, and I figured it was about time to change that. (I have been in other parts of The Netherlands often before, just not Amsterdam)
Being Flemish I think we have a completely different view on The Netherlands then people from other countries. We share a border, we speak the language and can watch their TV stations. I think most of the world sees The Netherlands as an ultra-liberal anything-goes country where they once went to smoke pot, drink some Heineken and walk through the red-light district. And of course this IS a part of The Netherlands, but it is only a small part of it.
In Flanders Dutch people actually have more of a reputation of being obsessed with rules, we see it as a well organised country that creates 20 commissions as soon as a problem arrises, to try and create the necessary rules to solve the problem. Everything happens in a transparant and orderly way, it is no coincidence that the ruling political party has been elected on a platform of "norms and values". In contrast in Belgium things are handled in a slightly more chaotic way where problems are only really adressed when they arrise and discussed over long dinner conversations and receptions. These differences can also be seen in the architecture. The Netherlands doesn't have the extreme ugliness of some belgian cities and houses where you just kind of build whatever you feel like building with little need for the proper documents, but neither does it have the extravagance and splendid detail that some belgian buildings have. Here you can find a hideous concrete building right next to a beautifully decorated 500 year old building. In the Netherlands you wouldn't be able to see that, not the ugliness, and not the extravagance, everything is nice, taken care of, yet this can give a sometimes slightly boring feel to certain neighbourhoods.
Of course I'm generalising here, it's just an impression I get every time I'm driving around in The Netherlands.
My real blogpost about Amsterdam will follow later :-)
Yaryo0or says:
Interesting things to hear. I've read some info on the Netherlands being different places with similar culture but still confused!
Posted on: May 14, 2009
Koralifix says:
Congrats on your feature! Well done!
Posted on: May 14, 2009
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