It is necessary to go on a biting cold day onto this vast dyke, which forbids the waters to infiltrate too much onto the lands which it stole from the sea, in order to understand a country which has managed to tear itself away from the elements, which has constructed an unparalleled presence in the world over the centuries.
As large (small) as Switzerland, but with double the population, the Netherlands astounds you at first glance. It is not the windmills, nor the tulips or polders, and even less so these forests of wind turbines which appear as a sort of open-air contemporary art museum, but this type of profusion over such a limited space. You can saunter between the canals of Amsterdam in order to catch a glimpse of a side of the Dutch mystery. The thirst of elsewhere.
Everything, seen in the paintings of the great Flemish painters, says as much about the confined beauty as the necessity to see everywhere. The Dutch museums, which evoke a kingdom which, at one time, extended from Amazonia to Northern Africa and to the Asian archipelagos, are a reflection of this. A universe country, a Protestant land where a certain capitalist spirit was born, but also a model of a cultural melting pot.
In its own way, the Netherlands resembles Japan. A limited, almost insular territory, threatened by the elements, which has founded schools of thought, a way of life, a resistance. This is the feeling today, even amongst the Dutch youth. An independence and an exhilerating interest for the rest of the world. This language, Dutch, may have something to do with it. It seems to have aspirated the neighbouring idioms itself.