Today I did another great ride from Amsterdam, this time West through the extended estuary to the coast at Sandvoort, then South a bit and back via Schiphol airport. At some point my philosopher iPod dialed up Santana's You Are My Kind, which was amazing because I was ruminating on the Dutch, on being Dutch, and on how, despite never having lived here, nor having any plans to live here in future, I feel more comfortable here than anywhere; truly I am one of their kind.
If you are a regular reader you know I place significant stock in genetics; not that genes are destiny, but they are certainly part of it. In today's weird liberal ethos this point of view is considered "bad" - since all men are created equal, we must pretend that all men are created the same, which is foolishness - but I prefer honesty to political correctness. Whenever I am in Holland the culture embraces me with its familiarity. And that culture (like all cultures) is born of its people; the libertarian social approach (not to be confused with liberal), the steadfastness and self-reliance, the competitiveness, the entrepeneurialism combined with enlightened altruism, the easy acceptance of sex and sexuality, the embrace of family and quiet religion undertones. It all feels comfortable, there isn't the tension between the people and their way of life you feel in America.
I suppose a key element of this cultural feeling is the underlying homogeneity, which can't be found in larger countries like the U.S. Certainly the sizeable Muslim immigrant population in the Netherlands doesn't feel comfortable; they haven't integrated very well with the Dutch and their imported culture clashes at many levels; a problem which is being exacerbated by their much higher birth rate. It is reminiscent but perhaps worse than the situation created by the large influx of Mexican immigrants in the Southern U.S.
Anyway it is really nice to be here, even if only temporarily. I can soak up the feeling and carry it around with me. You can take a Dutchman out of the Netherlands, but you can't take the Dutch out of him :) Ik ben echt wel Nederlands.