Category Archives: Holland

What Have the Dutch Ever Given Us?

technology, science, food, discoveries in rhyme, inventions in rhyme, creative writing, poetry, Dutch inventions, Dutch discoveries, world history, history the Netherlands, humor,

I was posed a question by a troll:
What have the Dutch ever given us?
I found the question rather droll,
Since the list is almost endless.

So, let me see. Where would we be
Without Dutch imagination?
Or the Lorentz ether theory?
As the first capitalist nation,

It was Holland that came up with
Investment banking institutions,
The modern financial center,
And many money-stuff solutions.

The rational Enlightenment,
The law of corresponding states,
31 equal temperament,
And temperature in Fahrenheit.

Thanks to us you have Holstein cattle,
Reproductive biology,
And the first international
Substance control treaty.

The dining philosophers problem,
The compact music cassette,
The feedback control system,
Brussels sprouts and the orange carrot.

The Dutch make grand discoveries
Like photosynthesis, Oort’s Cloud,
Fiji, New Zeeland and brandy,
Saturn’s rings and the Brouwer Route.

The Dutch made the first fire hose
Nuna, the solar-powered car,
We came up with really smart clothes,
And the springy Springtime guitar.

The laserdisc and compact disc,
We gave you artificial hearts,
Polychoral music and the
First atlas of nautical charts.

Mutual funds when you like them mute,
The first national anthem, and
The evolute and involute
Curves and how to find them.

We had the first wind-powered sawmill,
Cocoa powder, Rutger Hauer,
The first big science trip to Brazil,
And the first modern naval power.

There’s soccer’s Tiki-taka and
International jurisprudence,
The traffic enforcement camera
And foreign direct investments.

We gave you capitalism,
The pendulum grandfather clock,
Early liberalism and
The first European pound lock.

The telescope, Cape of Good Hope,
F = q(E = v x B),
The phase contrast microscope,
The study of human anatomy.

Miffy, physical chemistry,
Enrichment culture, dark matter,
The modern chocolate industry
And the famed Van -t Hoff Factor.

When kidneys fail, what would you do
Without kidney dialysis?
The Netherlands also gave you
Game of Thrones’ Daario Naharis.

The accurate Norden bombsight,
The Leyden jar and stock trading,
Gas light, Mennonites, ambilight,
Donuts, speed- and figure skating.

The cool, cool Moodswinger zither,
The sleeping barber problem,
TomTom, the Hollander beater
And Dijkstra’s algorithm.

We reclaimed land, we had Rembrandt,
And proof of galactic rotation,
Johan Cruyff and your Manhattan and
The Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Tellegen’s and Koopman’s theorems,
The giant bicycle garage,
Tiny microorganisms,
And the Guarded Command Language.

Predicate transformer semantics,
And Bosch of nightmare paintings fame,
Also classical mechanics
And, oh yeah, the Olympic flame!

We discovered Australia,
Liquefaction of helium,
Protozoa, Tasmania,
Hafnium and rhizobium.

Then there’s molecular physics,
And, so you can truly feel alive,
The very first car with a 6-
Cylinder engine and 4-wheel drive!

Blender, schooners, the Dutch tiger,
Mutex mutual exclusion,
Melisandre, M.C. Escher,
The commercial revolution.

The Grotian conception of
International society,
Helium solidification
And stereochemistry.

Volvox, Mandeville’s paradox,
The gyrator, Kipp generator,
‘Coffeeshops’ and the Cracklebox
And the first capacitator.

And good heavens, what would we do
Without the New York stock exchange,
Or solid proof of the law of
Equilibrium on an inclined plane?

Girl with Pearl Earring by Vermeer,
The pentode and the metronome,
Methane in Titan’s atmosphere,
And don’t forget Boerhaave syndrome.

There’s fair trade certification,
Blue-Ray, Jeroen Krabbé, and
The first Jewish congregation
In the good old US of A.

Kramer’s law of opacity,
The holographic principle,
Yachts, kolf, marriage equality
And living below sea level.

We first saw Neptune’s moon Nereid
Uranus’s moon Miranda,
Your narrow tidal straight Hell Gate,
And the dangerous giardia.

Big Brother and Fear Factor,
The law of freedom of the seas
Az well az azotobacter.

Then there’s bow dye, Wi-Fi, hardstyle,
EPROM and the pyrometer,
The cannon-shot rule (3 NM),
And the mercury thermometer.

For math there’s Heyting algebra,
For star geeks lots and lots of stars,
For storms the storm-proof umbrella,
And we found CO2 on Mars.

The study of virology,
And, Oh my goodness, what a sight!
Polarization of light by
Double refraction in calcite!

Those round stroopwafels, red blood cells,
Analytic geometry,
Zernike polynomials and
The oldest university.

Korfball, the submarine snorkel,
Sport sailing, stochastic cooling,
Spinozism, total football,
The first watch with spiral hairspring.

Oort constants, corporate governance,
Minnaert resonance frequency,
Behavioral finance, Remonstrants,
And superconductivity.

We gave you Brownian motion,
The world atlas, the electron spin,
The internal combustion piston
Engine, and don’t forget about gin!

Stock futures and the Dutch guilder,
Jan Steen, the meat-slicing machine,
And you’d be bored at war without the
Invention of the submarine!

No, we’re not the ‘Home of the brave’,
But we discovered viruses;
We gave you the rotational shave
And Intracellular Pangenesis.

The central bank, the thermostat,
Neostoicism, polders,
The blood bank and the female gonad,
Herring, corporate shareholders.

The galactic halo, Van Gogh,
The famous Cruyff turn, dividends,
Arminius, hardcore techno,
The first bourse, the Falkland Islands.

We made Bluetooth (with a Swede),
Found gas, and the Crystal bar process,
And we’re world famous, yes indeed,
For Goalkeeper CIWS!

Naturally there’s plant respiration
And technical analysis,
Temperature standardization
And continental drift hypothesis.

The modern market economy,
Investment funds, the Kuiper Belt,
Software engineering study,
And don’t forget: we had Rietveld.

We exported Audrey Hepburn,
The eyepiece, levees, DVDs,
Edam and Gouda and Beemster
And all the other proper cheese.

This list is not definitive;
I’m sure there’s stuff that I forgot.
As to what did the Dutch ever give —
I hope you’ll agree it’s quite a lot.

So I think I’ll end it here, with
Amstel, Grolsch, and Heineken beers.

Op je gezondheid! (That means Cheers!)

Finally Going to the Aldi!

20171216_224158The Aldi store has come to Austin, Texas! Or rather, to Pflugerville, but that’s close enough. When I read that it was coming I was thrilled, because on the Dutch International Cookbook/Kookboek Facebook page I regularly see posts by folks elsewhere in America and Canada showing photos of their Dutch and German finds in Aldis. Now it’s here, so today I decided to include a trip to Pflugerville in my list of errands. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet : Putting the Racial Struggle Into Perspective, Again!

zwarte piet again


So let me get this straight:

Sinterklaas can still be Sinterklaas.
He and his Pieten can still arrive in Amsterdam on the steamboat.
They can still have all the processions through cities and towns.
People can still come out to welcome them.
Kids can still wave at Sinterklaas and give the Pieten their drawings.
The Pieten can still wear the same costumes.
They can still hand out candy.
Everyone can still eat pepernoten,
and taai-taai,
and marzipan,
and kruidnoten,
and suikerbeesten,
and amandelstaven,
and chocolate letters,
and speculaas poppen
and drink hot chocolate.
Everyone can still sing Sinterklaas songs.
You can still have Book Piet, Organizer Piet, Grumpy Piet and what have you Piet (a relatively new phenomenon).
Everyone can still buy Sinterklaas and Piet dolls at Xenos (also relatively new).
Kids and adults can still place their shoes at home on Sinterklaas Eve.
Kids and adults can even place their shoes at school, at work, on the street and in the bars (again, new).
People can still exchange gifts.
Children can still make surprises.
A good time can still be had by all.

The only thing that would change is the color of Piet’s face and hair.
And this is how you react?


(Welcome to the Netherlands, where all cultures are accepted except our own.)

Have you all lost your mother-loving minds?

My original series on the whole Zwarte Piet issue starts here.

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

Fascism in America 6: Authoritarianism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Authoritarianism Is the American Way”.

Fascism in America 5: A Little Detour to the Dutch Police

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Dutch Police Training: Lessons From History”.

Fascism in America 4: Symbols and Rituals

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Flag, the Pledge, The Anthem: Patriotism v Nationalism”.