Ok. I apologize. I was wrong.
I did not understand that only 3,5% of the Dutch want to live and work abroad and that the Dutch want everybody in the world to come and live in the Netherlands. If everybody did, that would solve all problems in an instant.
And technically it even is possible. The Caribbean island Ilet a Brouee has 500 people on 4000 m2. With 7.9 billion people world wide if they all come to the Netherlands with 41.453 million m2 each can have over 5m2.
On that little island they each have 8m2, but then we have a world wide fully natural empty back garden. Let's say we give half our population a working holiday in that garden of 6 months a year. And voila. There is 10m2 of Dutch Utopia for everyone in the world.
You can imagine that Hugo, who was working in a tiny dusty office above his bookstore very close to the Pieterskerk in Leiden, was concerned about me not living in the Netherlands.
He was running that bookstore all right, but he was working for the foreign office and they were not pleased. Living up to the maxim of the British philosopher Hobbes, "what I cannot have also someone else should not have. "
Hugo was a smart man. Nobody really knew his age, how old he was. But it was rumored he was already around when the Pilgrim Fathers shipped from Leiden to the Americas. Yes, persistent rumor went round he had designed the Wall at Wall Street. The very first wall of the kind to create apartheid. Yes, some even bolder people, who love to proudly tap themselves on the back for Dutch ingenuity, Hugo even had dreamed up Santa Claus.
Now. Hold your breath.
It was he who had been diligently working at means to make me come back to the Netherlands.
Not that I am so important.
Not by a stretch of even the people of Leiden's imagination. No. Just to demonstrate his skills. Nobody escapes the attention of Hugo.
And it was not so hard after all.
Just let me receive some advice to follow some procedure for a visa, which in the end proved the wrong advice and there he had me swiftly with a plane ticket home.
Ok. I apologize.
After me staying unlawfully in New Zealand for over a year.
♬ Berend Botje went out sailing.
With his boat across the surf.
the route was straight
the route got crooked
Berend Botje is back at his turf.
The Dutch are a mercantile people. But also people of the Sea. Other nations fought each other for their piece of land. But not the Dutch. They fought the sea. And if they took land by hard ingenious work from the sea, Who could ever dispute that?
Admittedly. The Spanish had tried. A generation long. But in the end the law of the Sea and Admiralty triumphed. And the Dutch built their commerce on that Sea and that Admiralty. Dwarfed as they were between the old nations around them. The English. The French. The Germans. People who should be pitied for not being Dutch. One after the other tried to take from them what their own hands had acquired.
The Dutch could only answer by becoming very good in International Relations.
'Polderen'. They called it. 'Live and let live. '
'Work 'n Save. '
And so they were a welcoming nation. And their people were to be found in every harbor in the world.
Perhaps they loved their law of the Sea a bit too much. The money side of it. They were the first to discover that with money you can make money. And if you speculate very hard, people will run crazy for it. A rat race for the money. A tulip mania. Yes, the Dutch must have thought. If you make land out of water, why not make money out of tulips? And that was well before in Afghanistan they had their own poppy fields. And so they learned from the first market crash in the world. To come out of it better. To build back better.
Because, in case you do not know, the Dutch are always better in being the best. Do not stick your head above sea level, because this invisible archetypal character of the Dutch lurks, standing his ground, to protect his supremacy.
It is not entirely clear where they learned that. It seems, yes persistent rumor has it so, that this invisible archetypal character is Hugo. And he lives 'boven de zaak', above his bookshop. His occult bookshop that is. Much ado in his shop window about Solomon's Temple. But believe me. That's just much ado about nothing. It really is this invisible archetypal character who makes the Dutch the best in the world. While all the same they go out of their way to be as normal as they can.
That's crazy enough after all.
Of course. If you want to become the best in the world. You need a University. And so William of Orange established a University in Leiden.
The new knowledge was to be the keys to the future. St. Pieterskerk is a reference to St. Peter the Apostle and his keys. Whereas the Apostle and his successors in the Vatican yield the keys of Heaven and Earth. Leiden yields two red keys, for the sake of freedom.
Heac Libertatis Ergo.
But still for eyes to see and ears to hear. Both keys were red. Both keys served the same purpose. The sake of commerce. Not that dreadfully tiresome job in the Vatican to assist humanity for the good of their souls.
For the good of prosperity. And if the Dutch merchants would prosper they could yield those two keys so much better. Which really is one. For the freedom of 'them' to prosper.
And in the Vatican they were at ease with that. "If we can't have them, we will give them to you first", persistent rumor has it the then Pope had whispered in the ears of William III of England.
"You can have your pound of flesh".
In the 19th century Leiden became overshadowed by Delft and Hugo went underground.
But no damage was done. Leiden and Delft somehow carbon copied the English Oxford and Cambridge. Had to be after Holland became crafted into a commercial partnership with England.
So the first industrial revolution also entered the Netherlands. Whereas England itself had already started on its second one. It would of course redefine everything from monarchy to life in the small villages.
♬ 'Saw two bears
Eat some pears.
Oh it was to wonder.
I stood by and pinked some tears.
I thought it was interesting. witty and unique. will be somewhat arcane for some folks