Fourth of July in the Netherlands

Spending Fourth of July in a foreign country was not spectacular. I missed out on the All American Cookout, fireworks, and my cats hiding under the bed. Hearing people hollering up and down the street, random illegal fireworks going off in the neighborhood, the smell of charcoal, and children chasing each other with sparkler (and sometimes adults). It was nice that many of our foreign professors and guests acknowledged America’s freedom and hosted a BBQ, but this ultimately made me miss home.

The concept of freedom in NL is different  than in the US. You might not notice it at first sight, but under the pretty brick facades, clean streets, and compliant people, there is a silence of institutional segregation that occurs. Although the US experiences the same in many parts of the country, here it seems almost taboo to have any diversity (except within large tourist cities). There are clear social and cultural differences that have made me miss the “American way”. We are by no means perfect when it comes to providing opportunities for the disadvantage – but surprisingly, in a country that is known for so much progress and innovation there is a clear divide  that is born out of nationalism that as an American I find hard to comprehend.

However, to relate this all back to transportation, the public transit and cycle tract system is so extensive and prominent in the lifestyle that equity in terms of  transportation is not a concern. Ample transportation options are available regardless of social disadvantages, so this has the potential to provide opportunities to all peoples in the Netherlands.




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