Dutch simplicity

Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue (© Piet Mondriaan)
Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue (© Piet Mondriaan)

In Holland, nothing ever happens. Today – I’m writing this on Friday, October 21th – our main headlines are: repairs for a bridge across a wide river; slow traffic because of an accident; the extradition of three people suspected of manslaughter; something about steel prices and something about manure surpluses. The stock exchange has been stable for some three months and our best weather forecast is “tomorrow the same as today”.

This is not a country of warfare, terror, murder or bloodshed. At least not for some time now. Four centuries of comparative peace have produced some pretty good chocolate, a particular kind of cheese, a lot of windmills, and radical enlightenment.

Over the centuries we’ve had our share of artists as well, of course. I won’t go so far as claiming there is something like a “Dutch school”, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if art historians will one day recognize a certain “Dutchness” in the work of Dick Bruna, Joost Swarte, Piet Mondriaan and Pieter Saenredam.

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