5 things the world thinks are Dutch

I have been in the U.S. for almost 2 months now. I have come across a number of things the rest of the world calls ‘Dutch,’ even though the Dutch themselves have no idea what they are talking about. Continue reading

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Why the U.S. men’s soccer team will challenge the world

A few weeks ago the Dutch soccer world was upset as one of its biggest talents announced that he would quit soccer. The 19-year-old indicated he would rather go to a university.

This example once again marks an important difference between European and American soccer academies. In the U.S. you can combine professional soccer with a college degree – you are even encouraged to do so. In Europe, you’ll have to choose. Continue reading

Some surprising things about the U.S. you only notice when you travel there

About 6 weeks ago I moved from the Netherlands to the U.S. Ever since I’ve had a great time living my American Dream. While making a couple of awesome road trips, organising our upcoming wedding, and decorating our new apartment I came across a few things truly American I didn’t know about, despite dating an American girlfriend for a couple of years. Continue reading

Increasing tax rates may not… increase taxes!

If governments face a budget deficit that is deemed to be too high, two actions can be taken: government spending is lowered, or government income is increased. The lion’s share of government income comes from taxes; increasing government income as a way of reducing budget deficits therefore translates to increasing taxes. But taxes are not increased, really; tax rates are increased.

But what few people know is that in certain situations raising tax rates will actually reduce government income from taxes.

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Zwarte Piet: Some Predictions and the Involvement of the United Nations

In the past days the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas has been criticised more severely than ever, or so it seems. The discussion culminated in the involvement of the United Nations a few days ago. U.N. reporters apparently received information that the tradition of Sinterklaas is in essence racist, and that Zwarte Piet, stupid and a servant, feeds the stereotype of Africans as second class citizens. Dutch citizens, activated by explicit racial accusations and demands to abolish their much-loved tradition, somewhat to my surprise revolted. Online petitions received hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’. Maurice de Hond, mostly known as a the most important ‘pollster’ about elections in the Netherlands, reported that a staggering 92% of Dutch people says that there is nothing to worry about, that there is no racism involved, and that it’s just about a great feast for children. Similarly, De Telegraaf (a Dutch newspaper) surveyed 5.000 people, finding similar conclusions.

I don’t wish to reiterate all the points one can find in public discussions; I do however want to make 3 points:

  1. The tradition is already lost: A prediction
  2. The tradition is already lost: The influence of current discussions on future celebrations
  3. The U.N. – WTF?!

Continue reading