Things have changed

Not many blog posts these days…and that won’t change too much in the next few weeks. I’m working hard to finish two papers for two conferences next month in Austria and Ireland. Before the conferences, I’ll be in the Netherlands for a few weeks.

And talking about the Netherlands… During my frequent short term writer’s blocks I stumbled upon this video called “Sex, Drugs and Democracy”, a documentary about the liberal nature of Dutch society. At least…. the way it was in 1994. It starts with the usual stuff. By now, everyone probably heard about the sex and the drug policies in the Netherlands, so skip that.

A small part – related to society and politics – is actually quite interesting. When I watched the part I thought I was watching a video from the 1980s. And that was not only because of the hairdo (I did know our hair in the eighties was rather ridiculous, but apparently the same goes for the nineties). This part of the documentary illustrates how a society can change in just over 10 years. I’m sure that the movie is rather one-sided even for that time. But still, it’s been a long time since I have seen Dutch people being so proud about:

  • the fact that they are (were?) so equal
  • the fact that they have (had?) a very progressive tax system
  • the fact that they live (lived?) in a ‘soft society’
  • the fact that they are (were?) so tolerant
  • the fact that colour doesn’t (didn’t!) matter in Dutch society

Yes…things have changed. Most of those views are now considered idealistic or politically correct. Politics is now about excellence, profit, competition, cultural superiority and ‘them and us’. Don’t get me wrong. I still like the country. But not all things change for the better.

The video below starts at the point where the interesting part begins. Watch the following seven minutes or so. After that they return to the drugs and stuff. The whole video is here.


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