The Netherlands

The ultimate tit for tat

Radio Netherlands

No wonder various countries periodically conduct their wars on the soil of these two countries.

A group of Belgians have started a campaign to introduce a “beer pass” to stop Dutch tourists buying beer in Belgium. The ironic protest comes in response to the introduction pass system to stop ‘drugs tourists’ from buying cannabis in Dutch border provinces.

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Peter van Uhm: Why I chose a gun

TED Talk by Peter van Uhm who is the Netherlands’ chief of defense, but that does not mean he is pro-war.

At TEDxAmsterdam he explains how his career is one shaped by a love of peace, not a desire for bloodshed — and why we need armies if we want peace.

“That is why I took up the gun — not to shoot, not to kill, not to destroy, but to stop those who would do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values, to stand up for the freedom we have to talk … about how we can make the world a better place.”

Why can’t our royal family do stuff like this

No not for skiing in off-piste avalanche areas but for this:

The crucial moment in his life as a member of the Dutch nobility came with his 2003 engagement to then-commoner Wisse Smit.

After the pair announced their intention to marry in 2003, Dutch media revealed that Wisse Smit’s previous friendships included contacts while she was in college with a well-known figure in the Dutch underworld, a drug dealer who was later slain.

The couple publicly acknowledged having been “naive and incomplete” during her vetting process before joining the royal family. Then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende signaled he could not recommend the marriage to parliament for approval.

They married anyway, a decision that meant Friso’s removal from the line of succession.

The couple are still part of Beatrix’s family and attend important royal functions. Mabel has been granted the title “Princess Mabel” and Friso has an array of noble titles, including “Prince of Oranje-Nassau” but not “Prince of the Netherlands.”

Apparently in Holland you need the permission of the government to marry a commoner if you are royalty and remain in the succession.