22 July 2013

Thank you, Amsterdam

This post will appear while I'm still flying from Amsterdam to California, moving back to "North America" after nearly three years in the Netherlands

I could probably write a book about the Netherlands, but I'll just give a few observations:
  • The Dutch learned early on that they needed to cooperate if they were going to survive in a place that could be flooded at any time
  • They also learned early on that they could make money by trading, so they became tolerant (not in an American way) of different ideas and styles
  • The combination of these two traits means that the Dutch live with a decent balance between individual freedom and communal support*
  • The Dutch spend a lot of time planning and reforming their physical space and social institutions. That's how they start off well and improve via evolution
  • The Dutch are more relaxed than most people on the planet because they are safer from crime, poverty, sickness, or unemployment**
  • The Dutch have GREAT parties. The photos are from Queens Day
I'm moving to Vancouver now, and I know that it's not going to be the same as Amsterdam, but I'm hoping that it combines a bit of Dutch style (a port with migrants) with Canadian security (health insurance) and West coast casual (sunsets). Updates to follow...

Bottom Line: Every culture is different; the Dutch seem to have succeeded at balancing individual freedom with social cohesion

* I think that the US works better with more freedom, but politicians have reduced freedom as they have increased control over individuals, quashing organic growth of communities in favor of trying to impose one community's ideas over others'

** It's "okay to break the rules" when it's profitable, nobody gets hurt, and it's not an obvious affront to the rules (cf Pareto improvement)

2 comments:

  1. David, welcome back.
    Stuart Shapiro

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good luck with this new adventure. Best, Johannes Hunink

    ReplyDelete

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