Netherlands

December 6th, 2004 by Rijco Van Egdom

fit my clothes

fit my clothes
if you would fit my clothes
and take on a different
face
would we be more the same
when i was smiling too?

December 6th, 2004 by Rijco Van Egdom

Jan Amos Comenius: The Way of Light

The Netherlands is a country known for its religious, ideological and ethnical tolerance. But what is perhaps less known is that it is also a country religiously divided into a northern part dominated by a culture of Calvinism and a southern part, which is predominantly Catholic. Today, when people speak of ‘below the rivers’ they refer to the Catholic provinces and when they talk about ‘above the rivers’ they are pointing to the Calvinist provinces north of the geographical border of the rivers Maas, Waal and Rhine, which roughly run parallel to this historical and cultural border.

When the Netherlands declared independence from Spain in 1579 by the Union of Utrecht and were recognized by the peace agreement with Spain by the signing of the Treaty of Munster in 1648, ‘the Low Lands’ (as the Netherlands is literally translated), did not include the southern provinces. Only with the defeat of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna in 1815 were these provinces included, and not until 1831 when Belgium gained independence were the borders constituted that comprise the Netherlands as we know it. Culturally though, the southern provinces and especially the province of Limburg (the hind leg of the Dutch lion) where I grew up belonged to the Catholic sphere of influence. Even in present day the Netherlands, it makes a huge difference in attitude and perspective on life if you are from above or from below the rivers. (more…)

January 1st, 2004 by Remko Caprio