As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.
It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works.
We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:
The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025
Healthiest country in the world for diet
Keeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisoners
First to legalize same-sex marriage
Highest concentration of museums in the world
Highest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first language
Highest population density in Europe
Home to more bikes than people
Cycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the world
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world
83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high rises
Largely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest
Dutch design house Nightshop sourced soft urethane nonskid foam, which starts off as a liquid that you squirt out of a syringe, and they proceeded to weave a series of handmade rugs out of it. Read the rest
Studio Drift's Dandelight uses a "stem" of copper that mounts directly to a 9V battery, and its halo of dandelion seeds are hand-plucked from a real plant and glued, one at a time, to the business-end. Read the rest
Here's my jam today: the Comedian Harmonists' "Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus," in a modern arrangement performed with a choir and orchestra at a concert hall in Maastricht. If this doesn't put you in a good mood, I don't wanna know about it. Read the rest
Simone C. Niquille's REALFACE Glamoflage shirts are designed to confound Facebook's face-recognition software by covering you in famous faces when you venture into public. The project was sparked by a(nother) privacy-undermining Facebook terms-of-service change, this one allowing the company to auto-tag the people in the photos you upload. The shirts were part of FaceValue, a master's thesis in design at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, and Niquille's explanation of her work is fascinating: Read the rest
"The DIY (Drone It Yourself) v1.0 kit offers you the opportunity to turn any object into a drone*, simply by attaching four motors and a control unit -- no technical know-how needed. The kit consists of multiple parts that are easy to assemble and can be attached to a wide range of different objects"
DIY (Drone It Yourself) - Jasper van Loenen Read the rest
These grave markers -- pressed up against either side of an imposing wall, with a pair of clasped hands reaching over the wall's top -- date to a time in Dutch history when Catholic and Protestant graves were strictly segregated. A Catholic and a Protestant married couple, separated in death, arranged for this unique workaround in order to rejoin one another:
Read the rest
In 1842, a colonel in the Dutch cavalry, JWC van Gorkum, married a woman known as JCPH van Aefferden. The union was controversial — van Gorkum was Protestant and van Aefferden was Catholic. Despite the prevailing culture at the time, the two remained married for decades, only separating when van Gorkum died in 1880. He was buried in a cemetery near the Dutch town of Roermond called Begraafplaats Nabij de Kapel in ‘t Zand (“the cemetery near the chapel in ‘t Zand”). Pillarisation was taken very seriously — each community had its own schools, media, and graveyards — and Begraafplaats was no different. It took this segregation literally, with each religion having its own section. Van Gorkum was buried in the Protestant section, as would any other Protestant during that era.
But when van Aefferden passed away eight years later, she couldn’t be buried with her late husband; even in death, Catholics needed to stay with their own. While alive, she made her wishes clear — she did not want to be buried in her family tomb, and, instead, wished to be as close to her husband as possible. The solution, seen above, is her grave site.