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There will never be a revolution in the Netherlands, because you are not allowed to walk on the grass there. —Karl Marx
Every Dutchman hates Holland. That is our cardinal national quality. — Jerome Brouwers

The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country located in Western Europe with territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, the Netherlands consists of twelve provinces and in the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. It is a member of the European Union and NATO. Its current head of state is King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and its current head of government is Prime Minister Dick Schoof.


  • There will never be a revolution in the Netherlands, because you are not allowed to walk on the grass there.
    • Full quote with translation help from Google: "A few weeks ago I wrote an article in NRC Handelsblad in which I quoted Karl Marx. There will never be a revolution in the Netherlands, because you are not allowed to walk on the grass there, and the Dutch do not do that. Some 150 years ago this would have been the absolute national truth, except for Multatuli, whose hero Woutertje Pieterse expresses a completely different view in his Robber Song..."
  • Compare Holland with Russia; you see only marshy and sterile islands in the former, which rise from the center of the ocean: a small republic which is only 48 miles length by 40 wide. But this small body is the very nerve-center of the region: immense people live in it, and these industrious people are both powerful and rich. They shook the yoke of the Spanish domination, which was then the most formidable monarchy of Europe. The trade of this republic extends to the ends of the world; and new trade appears almost immediately; it can maintain in times of war an army fifty thousand men, without counting a many and well maintained fleet.
  • But 'the' Dutch identity? No, I have not found it. The Netherlands is: large windows without curtains so everyone can look in; but also adherence to privacy and coziness. The Netherlands is: one biscuit at tea; but also great hospitality and warmth. The Netherlands is: sobriety, control and pragmatism; but also the experience of intense emotions together. The Netherlands is far too diverse to summarize in one cliché. 'The' Dutchman does not exist. As a consolation I can tell you that 'the' Argentinian also does not exist. I therefore find it very interesting that the title of the report of the Scientific Council for Government Policy is not 'the Dutch identity'. But: Identification with the Netherlands. That leaves room for development and diversity.
  • But arguably the greatest achievement of the Dutch lay in creating a republic free from aristocratic or clerical domination, as the expulsion of the feudally inclined Spanish overlords empowered the bourgeoisie. The Dutch expanded human rights, including those of religious minorities and women, and cultivated a keen interest in children and the nuclear family. Dutch culture was family-centered, inventive, sober, frugal, and tolerant. A separation of science and philosophy from religion was exemplified in the writings of Baruch Spinoza, among others. Although majority Calvinist, the country boasted large colonies of Catholics, Jews, and other outsiders, including Muslims; roughly a third of Amsterdam's population in 1650 were foreign-born. Some immigrants came as merchants or artisans, but even the poorest, observed one Dutchman in 1692, "cannot die of hunger if he works hard." As late as the eighteenth century, the Dutch Republic was regarded as a poor country, and the British viewed it as "the indigested vomit of the sea." But the reclaimed land helped raise a substantial class of small landowners at a time when most property in Europe was owned by the aristocracy or the church. The growing ranks of proprietors were the heart of Dutch dynamism, and they set down "the geographical roots of republican liberty," notes the historian Simon Schama.
    • Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: The Rise and Decline of Upward Mobility (2020), p. 76
  • The Dutch, who produced so much in their golden age of the seventeenth century, from Rembrandt to microscopes, also were innovators in war. Maurice of Nassau, who became their head of state in 1585, freed the northern Dutch provinces from Spanish rule in part because he built such an effective fighting force. He organised his forces on the battlefield in ranks, up to ten of them, and pioneered an elaborate form of battlefield movement where, as the first rank fired, it wheeled to the back, allowing the next ones to fire and wheel in sequence. The rate of fire was much greater if, and it was a major if, the troops could stand firm when ordered and move in unison on command. Without discipline, often savage discipline, and repeated drills so that movement and following orders became second nature even in battle, soldiers could not have used the new weapons effectively. The old-style armies, where the ruler hired mercenaries or got their local magnates to raise forces which then tended to disperse at the end of a campaign, were not the right sort of material for the new training and tactics. It was a strong incentive for governments to have their own armies, and, of course, in time that increased their power.

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