For all of those who say: “you got to try everything once”. No, you don’t.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kjWBgA81LM]
What happened? The Dutch government in the past couple of weeks introduced the following new rule:
Apart from the new law the following two bits of information also came out in the last two weeks:
Now if you think the Dutch would go out on the street and demonstrate, you are right. There was a big demonstration today in Holland where the truck drivers honked 3 times to express their disapproval of the upcoming 3 cent tax increase on gasoline. The government was not impressed. Link (in Dutch).
Every year on the 30th of April the Dutch queen celebrates her birthday. The day is celebrated with bands, beer and kids selling stuff on the street.
I lived in Rotterdam from 1990 until 2000 and during those years “koninginnedag” has always been a pleasant party. I would normally watch a band, buy a beer and walk to the next stage to have a look at another band, buy another beer… Oh and there is (almost) always the added benefit of great weather.
That does not seem to be possible anymore. Due to some soccer related troubles, Rotterdam had in the past, you are now no longer allowed to drink a beer in the street. You are only allowed to drink beer in front of a bar surrounded by a metal cage. You are not allowed to leave this prison before finishing your beer (I admit, that is a nice way to spent prison time).
It seems that the beer cage only goes for Rotterdam. I think it is a shame that Rotterdam accepted these rules. Koninginnedag is a day for party.
I have been on my way in Holland again for the last 12 Months. A lot of things happen in this small country where I was born. When I left in 2000 the country was a pretty open society where people were proud to live together with a lot of cultures. Although Holland is still known for its ‘open atmosphere’ the reality has changed since then.
Due to a couple of incidents, most notably the assassination of Theo van Gogh and the planned attacks of the “Hofstad Groep” Holland is struggling big time with its multi-culture values. It seems like a lot of people I meet here have a hard time keeping up the old concept of tolerance, Holland was so proud to have. Things have even become so bad that the right-wing populist Geert Wilders has become salon-fähig.
When I come back home in Germany I often have a hard time explaining what exactly is going on and why I think Holland is changing. The German magazine Spiegel today posted an article about the state of Holland, in which they describe in a very clear way the changes that are happening.