change minds – delicate
work- dutch people don’t like to
be told what to do
Fascinating read in the article by Raymond Zhong in the New York Times (10 10 2022), They’re ‘World Champions’ of Banishing Water. Now, the Dutch Need to Keep It.
The sub heading is ‘As climate change dries out Europe, the Netherlands, a country long shaped by its overabundance of water, is suddenly confronting drought.’
According the article, and who am I to question the NYTs, “The Netherlands’ success at getting rid of excess water helped it become an agricultural powerhouse — the world’s No. 2 exporter of farm products after the United States. This year, though, drought and energy concerns caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine have prompted anguished debate about whether it is sustainable for the Netherlands to produce so many of its famous tulips, plus so much cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables.”
Growing up with a Dutch Heritage in West Michigan, I could verify several things in the article.
The story of the Netherlands’ centuries of struggle against water is written all over its boggy, low-lying landscape. Windmills pumped water out of sodden farmland and canals whisked it away. Dikes stopped more from flooding in.
Working in all that boggy land, why do think we wore those wooden shoes!
Mr. Zhong interviewed a Dutch Farmer names Peter van Dijk, who grew, what else. blueberries!
Mr. Zhong also interviewed Gertjan Zwolsman, a policy adviser and researcher at Dunea, a drinking-water company who, in a comment about the bog land now garden spot of Europe as saying, “There is nothing natural about the Netherlands.”
Lastly, Mr. Zhong quotes Mr. van Dijk again, saying “Changing farmers’ minds can be delicate work, “Dutch people don’t like to be told what to do.”