The Netherlands: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world the Netherlands, the preferred job of professors, number of books publishsed, television system, the Kabouters or Dutch hippies.



No Dutch boy ever used his finger to plug a leaky dike. The story is a creation of the 19th-century American writer Mary Mapes Dodge, and is unknown to Dutch schoolchildren. Nonetheless, the Dutch are willing to go along with the joke and have built a statue honoring this nonexistent hero at Spaarndam, near Haarlem.

When asked what professions they admired most, the Dutch put university professors at the top. Directors of large corporations ranked well behind physicians, judges, city mayors, and engineers.

More books are published per capita in The Netherlands than anywhere else. The Dutch also have more bicycles per capita than anyone else.

In The Netherlands, television is Government-subsidized. Owners of television sets (about 73% of all Dutch homes include at least one TV) pay about $20 a year for a television "license." The Government-owned Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation is responsible for filling up 40% of TV transmitting time. The remaining time is allocated to broadcasting organizations. Any group wishing to become a broadcasting organization must conform to certain standards; its broadcasts must meet with the cultural, religious, or spiritual needs of the Dutch people, and the organization must have at least 100,000 members paying for radio and/or television licenses. Organizations that conform to cultural standards but do not meet the membership requirements may be granted provisional broadcasting licenses provided they have at least 15,000 listener (radio) or 10,000 viewer (TV) members. Commercials were introduced on Dutch TV in 1965. These are broadcast as blocks of advertising spots before and after the newscasts. Advertising time is sold by a corporation set up by the Government. The proceeds are used to help finance the programs of the broadcasting societies and to compensate the press for loss of advertising revenue caused by the introduction of radio and television advertising.

The Kabouters, cousins of the hippies, are young people who have set up self-governing communities ("states within the State") in order to organize and propagate their political ideas. The Kabouters are opposed to contamination of food products, and water and air pollution. They are nonviolent. The Kabouters' housing plans call for relief of the housing shortage by allowing homeless people to occupy abandoned buildings. The Kabouters' Orange Free State has its own ministry and Parliament, its own currency and press, and a national anthem called "The Owl Was in the Elms." In 1970, 5 Kabouters were elected to seats on the Amsterdam municipal council, 2 on both the municipal councils of The Hague and Leeuwarden, and one each on the councils of Arnhem, Leyden, and Alkmaar.

Sixty percent of the Dutch population lives behind dikes, on reclaimed land with an elevation below sea level.

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