Return From the Lands of Nether

I have finally returned from The Netherlands. I love it over there (and it’s not because of the semi-legal dope or the sex workers). The Dutch have a different way of looking at things and going about their lives – I believe Americans could learn a few lessons from them.

However, while I was over there I did watch a few films on television. Over there they don’t have many commercials and they don’t cut their films (another example of why Europeans laugh at us in the Colonies). Here is what I’ll be writing about in the next week or two.

1. Movies 4 Men: A really terrible channel I watched a few times.

2. Basic Instinct

3. Back to the Future

In the meantime here’s a picture of a windmill I saw. Thanks. =)

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4 responses to “Return From the Lands of Nether

  1. Encrazed Crafts

    Hope you had a great time down thar’! I had mostly good memories of the place, cept for falling into a nettle bush. Luckily, ate some nettle cheese to make up for it. Take that, damned weed! Ha-HAR!

    Also saw a lot of those windmills, and that red light district (by boat, though). Actually I think I saw a few windmill interiors, one was milling something and turning it into a white powder, the other had strong glass-like floors where you could see all this water flowing due to the spinning wooden turbines. Was nifty, and as a kid kinda scary to think about falling through the ‘glass’.

  2. As depraved as some Americans would think The Red Light District is it’s not bad at all. In fact, I didn’t feel unsafe once while in Amsterdam or any other parts of The Netherlands (especially among the sex workers). I honestly think it’s probably the best place I’ve ever been; it’s definitely the safest place I’ve ever been. Without trying to insult my native land (too late) I feel like the Dutch live in an adult culture where they trust their citizens while America is still an adolescent and fights violence with more violence. I noticed the police over there try diffusing situations before resorting to force or incarceration. It’s quite refreshing.

    Another thing I noticed is nothing is censored on television. Basic Instinct was on and they showed everything, including Michael Douglas’ ass. I think I caught a glimpse of his scrotum too. However, I find it hilarious that The A-Team is still a big show over there (on every single day at 6pm). I didn’t spend my time sitting on my butt and watching television but I did throw it on every night before falling asleep and it was refreshing that primetime television over there has almost no commercials and doesn’t edit anything out. In the U.S. they probably shave around 10-15 minutes off Basic Instinct and insert about 20-30 minutes of commercials; in The Netherlands they cut nothing and play about five minutes of commercials for a 2+ hour film. Awesome.

    I also noticed that movie theaters only show a film once or twice a day and only at night. I’m sure family films are screened more (especially on weekends) but I didn’t really look to see if Kung Fu Panda II was playing over and over again. Plus, kids films are usually dubbed in foreign countries while films like The Hangover II (which was the big American film in theaters while I was there) is probably subtitled. They were also showing Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and True Grit. Super awesome.
    I have to admit that I love The Netherlands and it’s not because of the semi-legal dope or legal prostitution (I abstained from both). It’s really the way they approach issues. They don’t treat institutions responsible for the betterment of humanity (education, law enforcement, health care, etc.) like businesses and assume the general population can make rational choices without hand holding. Over here we’re treated like children and punished as a first resort when things go askew. No thank you. Now, if I could only find a way to live over there…

    Unfortunately I didn’t get to fly first class on the way back and had to sit near a bunch of screaming children. At least nobody kicked the back of my seat on the way home. However, instead of watching the in-flight entertainment I read and actually finished three books during my trip and almost finished a fourth. In between all that I still managed to go to every good museum in Amsterdam, biked around the city for days, went to a punk show and a doom metal show, went on a countryside excursion, met tons of cool people (including my first Euro trash who though the Anne Frank house was “just a house.”), and saw over ¾’s of the city.
    Plus, like you said, it doesn’t get dark over there until like 10:30 at night. Of course I left right before the longest day of the year (and it was summer) but it’s still not dark there for very long. I asked a local about it and they didn’t think it was anything special. I told them it gets dark in Florida around 8pm and they still didn’t understand why I thought it was cool. The sun also came up around 7am so I was up every day by 8 at the latest (except the first day when I slept until 10 because of the time change).

    On a final note: they have this great small Asian chain over there called Wok to Walk where you can get fried rice or noodles for five Euros and it was amazing. It was better than any Chinese food I’ve had in the Colonies. =)

  3. Encrazed Crafts

    That Walk to Wok reminded me of these like, food wall vending machine things they had. You probably saw them because they were everywhere when I visited. You put in a coin (looked like a dime to me) into any slot where the food looked good, then opened the door and that was that. Minute or so later the guys cooking just a few feet away from the glass throw in fresh batches of whatever they were cooking. Only downside was you, at least I at the time, had no idea what was in them. So while I liked the dutch-burrito-like thing I had a second ago, the next one I picked that looked just like it was filled with something else entirely.

    You talk about censorship is actually something I was wondering about recently. I was curious, as Europeans think far less of nudity than we do (not in a bad way, just different cultures), what about swearing? Like now I’m surprised to see people regularly calling one another “assholes” left and right on standard cable/network stuff. Personally it comes across as trying to shoehorn more edginess into a show and it’s failing pretty hard. Do they swear up a storm on their networks? If not, can they, if they chose to?

  4. The American shows and films over there kept the bad language in but I can’t speak about the Dutch shows since I don’t speak the language. However, the late night sex advertisements showed nudity (at least breasts). The line in Basic Instinct, “she’s the fuck of the century,” wasn’t cut out and the subtitles seems like they conveyed that message correctly. I’m not sure whether the Dutch equivalent for “fuck” is dirty over there or not.

    I saw those vending places a few times over there but didn’t go in. From what I could tell Dutch cuisine isn’t really anything out of the ordinary. I had a traditional Dutch pea soup and had a bunch of cheese (mostly Gouda) but everything else seemed pretty much like everywhere else (but with a Dutch twist). For instance, a bacon cheeseburger came with a tomato-like salsa instead of ketchup and the bacon was a circle instead of a strip. They do like mayonnaise on their fries though and that was actually pretty decent. I did see a good deal of Asian food over there and a bunch of places claiming to be “Genuine Argentina Steakhouse” but I didn’t go in – they seemed quite touristy.

    I did try McDonalds over there (I do every time I go elsewhere) and it was just like here but less greasy. The BBQ sauce wasn’t as thick for the chicken nuggets and the Coke uses sugar instead of corn syrup but that’s the only difference I saw. I didn’t actually see many Dutch people in McDonalds and I only saw them in the tourist areas. Mostly I ate that Wok to Walk place, a few cheeseburgers from pubs, and a ton of baguettes with a variety of different meats and cheeses. It was awesome. Plus, their coffee is super strong. =)

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