Guest Post By Yousra Chaabane.
An American friend of mine once asked me if I knew whether or not the capital of Amsterdam was the Netherlands. At first I thought he was joking but he was deathly serious. Then I thought he was just stupid, but he said none of his friends knew the answer. Of course it is the other way around, Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, that he and his friends didn’t know that really shocked me. Is true that people think of that small country in the west of Europe and then immediately think of Amsterdam? Of course Amsterdam is a beautiful city, And although most people in the Netherlands hardly spent time there, Amsterdam is famous in ways a city shouldn’t be famous.
Unfortunately what many people don’t know is that there is way more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam. We have enough other beautiful cities, such as The Hague, Utrecht and Maastricht, and except for the beautiful cities we also have a beautiful coast and a beautiful countryside. Which many people don’t see because when they visit the Netherlands, they only visit Amsterdam.
But isn’t it wrong to blame the tourists and the visitors? Perhaps it is the fault of the Dutch population. Whether we like it or not, we are somehow proud of Amsterdam. We think that we are highly progressive and very tolerant just because we let people smoke weed. Isn’t that ridiculous? Taking into account that some Dutch people are not even that open-minded considering foreigners, I don’t think we are that tolerant at all. Maybe that’s why we let people do ridiculous thinks such as legally smoking weed, so we can give ourselves a false sense of open-mindedness.
Don’t get me wrong though in some things we are really open-minded, gay-marriage for example. We are very tolerant about that. And please don’t get me wrong about the foreigners part. I think 99% of the Dutch population likes foreign people, you just always have that one percent.
So maybe we need to reconsider what kind of place we as a country want to take in the world. Do we want to be that place in the west called Amsterdam? Or do we want to be more than that? Is it wrong to give ourselves a false sense of open-mindedness, or is it just our own truth. I think we should treat people with respect foreigner or not. I think we should be as open-minded as we can and then the sense of open-mindedness won’t be false any longer. And why wait until somebody else starts? I’m not going to wait until everyone is open-minded. I am going to start right now, and hopefully inspire others to be it as well.
This post is written by Yousra Chaabane who is a dutch, studying in Baudartius College, Netherlands. Interests Include: Horseriding, Dancing, Singing,