In his recently published article entitled ‘Taking the Conservative Protestant thesis across the Atlantic’ published in the British Journal of Criminology, Don Weenink of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam claims that ‘Conservative Protestant rural youth are more often involved in violent crimes than their counterparts in urban areas, who also use less violence than average’. Less violence is possibly correlated with a total lack of nightlife, which in turn could also explain all the drinking and drugs.
Weenink collected data from 8000 Dutch young people aged 15 to 30. According to him, drinking alcohol is often seen as harmless pleasure by parents and young people in rural areas, whereas in urban areas it is often associate alcohol use with antisocial behaviour. As well, Protestant villages in the Dutch Bible belt have young people taking matters into their own hands in conflict situations. We only know the Bible Belt as a place where quacks suggest grinding oysters shells as medicine and children suffer and even die of measles for ‘religious reasons’.
Religious places like Urk and Volendam, also fishing villages, are often pointed out by many as full of bored kids that drink until they drop and take lots of drugs, usually cocaine. In 2012 quaint Volendam has more people snorting coke than cities like Paris, London and Milan. According to a 2003 Dutch television documentary ‘Fish, drugs and rock n’ roll’, the youth become drug addicts and alcoholics at a very young age and their religious leaders either thump Bibles or suggest they spend Saturdays playing board games with their parents. The documentary tells of Urk youth going to church to take and deal drugs.
(Link: phys.org, image an early 2000 Dunglish advert that wanted to say ‘if you drink more, you will think less, but managed to say the exact opposite)
When rebels raided an ISIS safe house in northern Syria, they secured dozens of passports stolen from Westerners, Al Aan TV reports.
Among the many real passports was also this forged Dutch passport signed by the mayor of ‘Enshede’. Since there is no place called Enshede (but Enschede exists), border controls should have no problems stopping the holders of other copies.
Using the sch-sound to separate the good guys from the bad has long been practice in the Netherlands and Flanders, especially since foreigners don’t seem to be able to pronounce it correctly. The Flemish are said to have used the war cry ‘schild ende vriend‘ (shield and friend) during the Battle of the Golden Spurs to differentiate themselves from the French, and fishermen returning to the main land after the Nazi attack on 10 May 1940 were told to use the password Scheveningen to tell them apart from German agents.
I am guessing the forger wrote the name Enschede the way he heard it.
In a tongue-in-cheek article, daily De Pers figured out the ideal Dutch towns to live in for large groups of people:
For the poor, Vaals (in the Southernmost tip of the country), because it is apparently easy to get social security there. The town wants to crack down on social security tourism though.
For the gays, Hillegom (South of Haarlem), of which the Pink City Guide of Bureau Movisie says it’s the gay friendliest town in the country. The municipality is working on a policy to support eldery gays, amongst others.
For the elderly, Kerkrade (Limburg). The paper quotes a citizen as saying: “Perhaps we can even draw older people from the rest of the country or even from abroad, because growing old in Kerkrade is fun.” It doesn’t say why it is fun.
For muslims, Alblasserdam (near Rotterdam). The town sports the highest percentage of muslims in the country.
For the handicapped, Huizen (East of Amsterdam), which is quick in allotting funds for medical needs.
For the Polish, Venray (Limburg), which realizes it will always need seasonal workers, so why not be nice to them.
For the drug addicted both Amersfoort (near Utrecht) and Utrecht (near Amersfoort). Junkies get free beer in the former town, and free methadone in the latter. (Pretty girls get free beer in Weert, Limburg. From the bar owners, that is.)
For the students, Sittard (Limburg), as it has the cheapest student housing of the country.
After the barrage of other plagues (kids on drugs, alcoholic teens and fighting strippers), the quirky religious town of Urk, the butt of many jokes, has yet another faith-related problem: people stealing free electricity.
On Sundays, in the harbour, due to religious reasons, the harbour people cannot ask for money to others charging up their boats. And losing tens of thousands of euro is a good reason to ask the city to allow them to make an exception on Sundays, a day of rest for nobody except the bureaucrats in Urk.
The answer was simply that asking people for money on Sunday was not OK. Of course, the bureaucrats don’t see any change in their salary, so it’s OK to let business people choke. Love thy neighbour.
Every country in the world has that one town that people make fun of and in the Netherlands, that town is Urk, Flevoland.
The former island (that could explain some weirdness) seems to attract attention by making decisions based on its strong religious beliefs that are akin to fighting windmills because nothing they do seems to work, it just seems to get worse.
After banning strippers, attempting beer confiscation and littering the rest of the country with creationist folders, it’s now time to score some drug sniffing dogs to enforce the town-wide marijuana ban, which ironically is illegal. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten warned Urk’s city council that it cannot declare the entire village a drug-free zone because that’s illegal. But hey, when you do things based on your religious beliefs the law goes out the window pretty fast and you can get away with murder.
The word on the Internet is that the kids in Urk are some of the most messed up youth in the area not because of some sort of preponderance of drugs and booze, but because of the very religious city council constantly making them the object of their problems. We’ll save the hard drug use and unwanted pregnancies stories for later.
The local government of Urk has banned all strippers from the fundamentalist Christian ex-island, RTL Nieuws reports. If a bar breaks the new law, it has to close shop temporarily.
Last year a bar hired a female stripper who went the full monty, which apparently prompted this bout of legislation. Urk is the town with the highest concentration of fishermen in the country. Until 1939 it was an island–Urkers still say ‘on Urk’ instead of ‘in Urk’, according to Wikipedia.
The owners of a few pubs in Weert, Limburg have decided to give free beer, wine and even kir (how classy) on the house to girls, so that boys stay away from those illegal beer-serving non-pubs called ‘zuipketens‘, modern-day Dutch speakeasies that have apparently increased in popularity since the smoking ban. By stay away I do mean come to their pubs instead because they have tipsy girls in them.
Free drinks are sure to get a few more girls into the pub, but at a cost and not on the long run. And then there’s the morally questionable idea of getting girls to drink more, knowing they get drunk more quickly, and all that jazz. The drinking age in the Netherlands is 16, an age when kids are not legally responsbile adults, which is also a major problem in smaller communities where there’s not much to do but drink — like in Weert, Limburg.
Back in 2008 we wrote about beer confiscation in Urk, a very religious town in Flevoland whose youth is drinking their youth away because there’s nothing to do there.
(Link: telegraaf.nl, Photo: me at Oktoberfest. If the Telegraaf can use a German picture for a Dutch article, so can we.)
This map shows the fake island kingdom the Netherlands could be if its geography fully followed its politics. In the real world, top left dogs Nijmegen and Groningen are separated by 200 kilometres, as are right wing islands Kessel and Urk.
I can vouch for the position of Nijmegen, having lived there for ten years. Nijmegen’s and Groningen’s progressive and left-wing attitude may at least in part have to do with a large student body, making up ten percent of the population in the case of Nijmegen. Would the Catholic church have thought that when they started their university there in the 1920s as a bulwark against socialist forces?
The youth of the fishing village of Urk, Flevoland, more often than not portrayed as bored and up to no good, do enjoy their beer. Basically, if we believe the hype, Urk is a religious and conservative village where the youth have nothing to do. Online media gladly portrays them as ‘white trash’. The fact that they speak an old dialect of Dutch makes them the butt of jokes as well, sadly enough.
Since the kids are bored and turn to drinking, the mayor has decided to monitor this ‘alcohol abuse’ more closely, which apparently has been extremely successful, although I cannot vouch that this picture of just one type of beer reflects reality or an indirect marketing scheme. The Urk police station has been taken over by full crates of beer and claim that they will destroy these crates.
Is it just me or is that not very environmentally friendly? Do they plan to burn the plastic crates and throw away bottles? Why can’t they sell the beer at a country fair? I have so many questions.