Expressing Dutch Ethnicity English Language Essay

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My ancestors came from the Netherlands. The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam. Great Great Grandpa Peter Linders and Great Grandma Marie Linders (Lewis) are both from The Hague. The Hague is the head quarters for the government. My ancestors left the Netherlands to make a better life. There were more opportunities in the new world. Great Great Grandpa Peter Linders and Great Grandma Marie Linders (Lewis) left when Great Grandma was one year old. Great Grandpa John Faas was the first of my relatives to come to the new world. He left when he was twenty years old.

The location of the Netherlands is in "Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany." (The World Factbook, p.1). The area is "slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey." (The World Factbook, p.2). The climate is "temperate; marine; and cool." (The Word Factbook, p.2). The Terrain is "mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); there are some hills in the Southeast." (The World Factbook, p. 2). The natural resources are "natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, and arable land." (The World Factbook, p.2). There is one natural hazard in the Netherlands, it is "flooding." (The World Factbook, p.2). There are quite a few "environment-current issues: water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; and acid rain." (The World Factbook, p.2). "The Netherlands became independent January 23, 1579. "(The Northern provinces of the low countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on July 26, 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until January 30, 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)." (The World Factbook, p.5). One of the most important national holidays is "Queen's Day it is on April 30." (The World Factbook, p.5). "The constitution was adopted in 1815. The constitution was amended many times, most recently in 2002." (The World Factbook, p.5). Other holidays the Netherlands celebrate are "New Year's Day, Easter (Friday-Monday), Ascension, Liberation Day (May 5), Whit-Monday, Christmas (Dec 25-26), Christmas Eve, St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6), Vlaggetjesday (Little Flag Day) [through the entire month of May]." (Culture Grams 2010, p. 3-4).

There are five species that can be hunted in the Netherlands. "The species are hare, mallard, pheasant, pigeon, and rabbit." (Hunting in the Netherlands, p.2). The technology is more industrialism. The tools are guns. "Owning a gun without a permit is not allowed in the Netherlands, and the gun permit is incorporated in the hunting license." (Hunting in the Netherlands, p.2). There is not a specific division of labor for hunting. Anybody who wants to hunt just goes and gets their hunting license, however, the person who wants the license must pass the four required rules. "The four rules are you must be at least 18 years old, have an insurance voucher covering third party liability, pass the hunting examination (hunting examinations passed in Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg are also valid in the Netherlands), be able to prove that they have an opportunity to hunt in the Netherlands." (Hunting in the Netherlands, p.1).

Ornamental plants and flowers are grown in the Netherlands. "The Dutch export significant amounts of cut flowers and bulbs, and the nation is world-renowned for its tulips. About 75 percent of flowers are exported, and there has been dramatic growth in exports to the United Kingdom, Italy, and Russia. This amounts to some 9 billion flowers per year. Horticulture is conducted in both open fields and through the use of glass greenhouses. The Netherlands now contains over half of all of the greenhouses in Europe, and there is a total of 44,000 acres of flowers under cultivation. Over 3,000 companies are engaged in horticulture in the kingdom." (The Netherlands-Agriculture, p.3). Horticulture plays an important role in the Netherlands. "The horticulture industry will change from a produce-driven to a customer-driven strategy while developing market-oriented product chains." (Oosten, p.2). The division of labor is split. Both men and women do the work. The horticulture business is very hard, but the Dutch are very good at what they do.

"The Dutch keep cows both for milk and for their meat, chickens for their eggs and for meat, pigs for their meat, and sheep for their wool and meat. Traditionally horse meat was common, but it is less popular nowadays." (Dutch Cuisine, p.2). Pastoralism is important to the Dutch. "Dairy and livestock production is highly specialized and technologically sophisticated. Extensive grasslands provide grazing for dairy cows and beet. Dutch farmers have some of the highest yields of beet and milk in the world (behind only the United States and Great Britain). The nation is self-sufficient in dairy production and most dairy goods are exported. The main dairy exports include butter, cheese, and condensed milk. The number of dairy cows has remained relatively constant in the Kingdom." (The Netherlands-Agriculture, p.2). The eggs of chickens are collected by farmers. Each egg is looked over. Then, the eggs are put into egg cartons. After that, the eggs are shipped off to be sold in stores. The sheep go to a sheep sheerer to get their wool removed. Then, the wool is sent to various places. The wool can be used to make many items such as clothing and blankets. When the cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep are big enough, they get shipped off to a butcher. The butcher chops up the animals. Then, each different kind of meat is packaged. After that, the meats are delivered to different stores to be sold. The technology is a mechanical, energy driven mass production. There are many machines used for each animal. There are milking machines for the cows and special clippers and wool trimmers for the sheep. There are many machines involved for butchering the animals. Each animal is butchered differently. The division of labor is split up. "Dutch women are somewhat less likely to work outside the home than women in European countries." (Culture Grams 2010, p.3). Some women help with milking the cows or collecting the eggs from the chickens. The rest of the women either stay at home or they have different jobs. The men usually butcher the animals and shave the sheep.

"Dutch agriculture has been marked by the decline of the small, family-owned farm and the rise of large corporations that specialize in agriculture. Many Dutch agriculture firms have also become increasingly international and do a significant amount of their business overseas or in other European nations. Dutch agriculture is divided into 3 broad areas: crop production, dairy and livestock production, and horticulture. The nations agriculture land is also divided into 3 broad types: grasslands, farmlands, and horticulture lands. The nation's extensive waterways and network of dams and dikes allow for easy irrigation and have produced very fertile soils." (The Netherlands-Agriculture, p.1). There are three sections of crop produce: tillage-based crops, greenhouses, and fruits. "The tillage-based crops include barley, corn, sugar beets, potatoes, kale, beetroot, green beans, carrots, celeriac, onions, all kind of cabbages, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, endive, spinach, Belgian endive, asparagus, and lettuce. Recently added include purslane, medlars, parsnips, and black salsify." (Dutch Cuisine, p.2). The greenhouse are not used to grow too many vegetables. "The greenhouses are used to produce tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and sweet peppers." (Dutch Cuisine, p.2). There are only five fruits grown in the Netherlands. "Fruit include apples, pears, cherries, berries, and plums." (Dutch Cuisine, p.2). The dairy and livestock production includes cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep. The horticulture includes ornamental plants and flowers. The agriculture technology is mostly human powered and some what mechanical. The division of labor is all about farmers and specialists. Farming is a big part of agriculture.

The Dutch produce windmills. "Western areas that have been reclaimed from the sea are called polders. Windmills once pumped water from the land, and dikes held back the ocean. Today, modern machines do the pumping, but about a thousand windmills (out of an original 10,000) still dot the landscape. Nearly 300 continue to function, mostly for tourists, but some mill grain or perform other work. Because pumping has led to sinking land, water pollution, and problems with the water pollution, and problems with the water table, the government is buying tracts of agricultural land in the pumped territory and returning it to nature." (Culture Grams 2010, p.1). The technology is mechanical, energy driven mass production. The pump must pump water from the land. The windmill is made out of wood, along with the blades. The blades help power the pump. The pump pumps the water so the land does not flood. The division of labor is laborers and entrepreneurs. Each part of the windmill is mechanically produced. Then the parts are looked over by the workers. "Other industries include agroindustires, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, and fishing." (The World Factbook, p.9).

"In the Netherlands, the market holds primary responsibility for investment in further development of new generation broadband infrastructures. Broadband technology innovation is permeating through society in the Netherlands: almost every house in the Netherlands is connected to a cable TV network (98% cable connections) and broadband Internet services are offered on almost every cable TV network system. This has caused fierce competition between telecom and cable companies, resulting in low prices, high usage and a very high broadband penetration rate. The Netherlands is rated in the top 5 countries in the world for IT companies, research and investment. Looking at the Dutch IT R and D environment, Broadband and Grids can easily be identified as a focus area in which the Netherlands has a lot of expertise. Our R and D companies, knowledge, and infrastructure in this area place the Netherlands in the top of "wired" countries." (The Royal Netherlands Embassy, p.1). The technology is electronic, information technology. "Research and development in the cutting-edge area of Broadband technology is happening in both the public and private sectors in the Netherlands. The Dutch government is extremely motivated to stimulate research in this area." (The Royal Netherlands Embassy, p.1). The division of labor is people educated in computer or not educated in computers.

The Netherlands has a constitutional monarchy for a political system. The political model is consensus, assumed status. "The queen is head of the state, but the prime minister is head of government." (Culture Grams 2010, p.4). "The government is head quartered in The Hague." (Culture Grams 2010, p.4). "Legislation can be introduced either by the crown or the lower house of parliament. The prime minister and other ministers are responsible to the bicameral parliament (States General). Members of parliament's 75-seat upper house (First Chamber) are elected by the nation's 12 provincial councils. Members of the 150-seat lower house (Second Chamber) are elected directly by the people." (Culture Grams 2010, p.4).

"The legal system is based on civil law system incorporating French penal theory; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations." (The World Factbook, p.5). The Netherlands has three political branches: Executive branch, Judicial branch, and Legislative branch. "The Executive branch has a chief of state which is the Queen. The Prime Minister is the head of government. The Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch is the cabinet. For elections, the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of a majority party or leader of a majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch, deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch." (The World Factbook, p.6). "The Legislative branch is bicameral States General of Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils to serve four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)." (The World Factbook, p.6). "The Judicial branch has a Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (justices are nominated for life by the monarch)." (The World Factbook, p.6). Each branch of government is important.

The Netherlands has four specific military branches. "The military branches are the Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, Klu), and the Royal Military Police." (The World Factbook, p.13). There are ten major political parties in the Netherlands. "The political parties and their leaders are Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Jan Peter BALKENENDE]; Christian Union Party [Andrew ROUVOET]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Alexander PECHTOLD]; Green Leaf Party [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wouter BOS]; Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]; Party for the Animals or PvdD [Marianne THIEME]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Mark RUTTE]; Reformed Political Party of SGP [Bas VAN DER VLIES]; and Socialist Party [Anges KANT]." (The World Factbook, p.6). The Dutch have many international organization participation. "The groups are ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, and ZC." (The World Factbook, p.6).

The Netherlands has a balanced reciprocity. They have value/exchange. The Netherlands does specific exchanges all around the world and throughout Europe. The Dutch have two forms of economic exchange. The biggest economic exchange is market exchange. There is a lot of supply and demand. "The Netherlands economy is highly open and dependent on foreign trade and financial services." (The World Factbook, p.7). The other economic exchange the Dutch have redistribution. There is some surplus. The Dutch are able to supply themselves with quite a few items. The rest must be imported.

"The Netherlands economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizeable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub." (The World Factbook, p.7). The Netherlands use capitalism for an economic system. "Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agriculture sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surplus for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euros currency on 1 January 2002. The country has been one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the four largest investors in the U.S.." (The World Factbook, p.7).

The Dutch use a combination of all three sectors. The three sectors are primary (extraction), secondary (manufacture), and tertiary (service). There is a three way breakdown of economic sectors in the Netherlands. "The GDP-composition by sector: agriculture 1.9%, industry 24.4%, and services 73.7%." (The World Factbook, p.8).

"Dutch GDP contracted 4.3% in 2009, while exports declined nearly 25% due to a sharp contraction in world demand. The Dutch financial sector has also suffered, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to U.S. mortgage-backed securities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, have resulted in a government budget deficit of nearly 4.6% of GDP in 2009 that contrasts sharply with a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2008." (The World Factbook, p.7). There are four different GDPs. "The GDP (purchasing power parity) is $652.30 billion (2009), GDP (official exchange rate) is $789.70 billion (2009), GDP (real growth rate) is -4.3% (2009), and GDP (per capita) is $39,000 (2009)." (The World Factbook, p. 7 and 8). "The labor force is $8.33 million (2009) and the labor force-by occupation is agriculture: 2%, industry: 18%, and services: 80%." (The World Factbook, p.8). "The unemployment rate in 2009 was 5%." (The World Factbook, p.8). "The investment (gross fixed was 19.4% in 2009 and the budget: revenues $335.4 billion and expenditures $372.5 billion." (The World Factbook, p.8).

The religious belief that is followed by the Dutch is monotheism. They believe in one god. There are three main religions practiced in the Netherlands. "30% is Roman Catholic, 20% is Protestant (mostly Dutch Reformed), 5.8% is Muslim, and 2% belong to other churches." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2). Roman Catholic is the most common religion. "Most Catholics live in the Southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg. The royal family belongs to the Dutch Reformed Church. The Netherlands, like many European countries, is a secular society. Less than 10 percent of the population attends religious services on a regular basis. There is a strong tradition of maintaining the separation of church and state." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2).

"For wedding celebrations, a large party (of up to four hundred guests) in a restaurant is popular. A live band will play and guests will sing or tell something funny about the couple. Guests give presents, which often include money to help the bride and groom cover the expenses of the wedding." (Culture Grams 2010, p.3). The type of marriage the Dutch practice is monogamy, marriage to a single spouse. Marriage is not too important. However, "couples often live together before or instead of marrying." (Culture Grams 2010, p.3). Partners are chosen by a love match. Individuals choose their own marriage partners. Although, "if your ancestor was marrying a member of another denomination, or of no denomination at all, the marriage may well have been a civil one in the local town hall. It may, or may not, have been blessed in a Dutch Reformed Church after the civil ceremony." (Baxter, p.126). Based on that, it seems like some parents would want an arranged marriage. The post-marital residence is at either the bride or groom's parents home. This is "due to the housing shortage, many people must remain living with their parents." (Culture Grams 2010, p.3). Therefore, the post-marital residence is either matrilocal or patrilocal. The type of family used is nuclear. "The Dutch have strong, small families. Most have only one or two children, but southern (Catholic) families tend to be a bit larger. Single parents are common. People generally live close to extended family." (Culture Grams 2010, p.3).

"In view of the constant turbulence in the area over the centuries, it is surprising that genealogical records exist at all. However, they do, and they are well organized and easily accessible. The major drawback to ancestor-hunting in the Netherlands is that there is no central registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Civil registration was started by the French in 1811 and each of the approximately one thousand municipalities kept its own records. From 1811 to 1892 duplicate records were kept in the various provincial archives, but these are not indexed, and so, without knowledge of the city, town, or village from which your ancestor came, it is almost impossible to trace him or her. To make matters worse, before the nineteenth century, births, marriages, and deaths were registered according to religion. So even if you know the exact place, you will still have to check the records of each church unless you are sure about the original religion of your family." (Baxter, p.201). Kin is traced by generation. The Dutch think family is important. So it is also important that they know who there relatives are.

"Social status is measured mostly by occupation. Widely held attitudes about equality helped the Dutch create an extensive welfare system, which remains a highly priority despite the increasing cost of supporting it. As a small trade-dependent nation, the Netherlands has long recognized the importance of being internationally minded. It has a strong tradition of involvement in international affairs, primarily those in Europe since the Second World War. Openness to the world has made the Dutch no less proud of their own culture and heritage, whether it be politics, the arts, or technology." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2).

I thought it was really interesting that the Dutch are obsessed with keeping a clean country. "They separate organic waste from other garbage and collect it in different containers, and they recycle paper and bottles. The Dutch law are not as strict as the laws in the United States. "Known for their strong tradition of liberalism, the country has an open attitude toward the use of "soft drugs" such as marijuana, and has legalized prostitution, euthanasia, and homosexual marriage." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2). The Netherlands has one of the coolest zoo's ever. "The Apenheul Zoo is located in Apeldoorn. This zoo is known as the prime mate sanctuary. There are 350 different species of monkeys." (Zoo Life with Jack Hanna: Hangin' Out in Holland). Also, the best part is you can feed and hold the monkeys.

The Dutch greet people a little differently than we do here in the United States. "A warm and hearty handshake is an appropriate greeting for both men and women. It is also popular for friends to kiss on alternating cheeks three times when greeting. A common phrase is "Hoe gaat het? (How are you?), or Alles goed? (Is everything all right?)". While people may wave if greeting from a distance, shouting is impolite." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2). The Dutch play many sports. I think it is great that the Dutch are so active. "The most popular sport is soccer. Tennis, field hockey, swimming, sailing, ice-skating, volleyball, badminton, and other sports are also enjoyed. Many Dutch participate in cycling: nearly every person old enough to ride a bicycle has one." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2). I did not realize how much art is loved in the Netherlands. Also, there have been some famous artists. "There are more than six hundred museums in the Netherlands. Some of the world's most famous artists are Dutch, including Rembrandt Van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and Vincent Van Gogh. The Dutch school of painting was a major influence on the art world. Dutch artists now also explore such media as performing art and photography." (Culture Grams 2010, p.2). I never knew that Vincent Van Gogh was from the Netherlands. I just knew he was famous and that I love his painting starry night.

People with allergies need all information about a product to be listed. In the article I selected, people from the Netherlands and Greece are having a problem with items being labeled correctly. "On the 25th of November the new European Union (EU)-directive was applied, which required the food industry to list 12 potential allergens on food labels if food products contained them." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.1). Most of the labeling still seemed shifty and unclear. They did a study on 20 people from the Netherlands, and 20 people from Greece. "The participants were interviewed and observed in a supermarket during the course of their shopping." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.2). The participants were given "a shopping list containing 15 potentially problematic food products". (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.2). "The participants were instructed to try to purchase all of the items mentioned on the shopping list, and interviewed during the course of their shopping (Appendix 2)." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.2).

"In this study, the preferences of food allergic consumers regarding potentially problematic ingredients were investigated. The results show that, in general, food-allergic consumers are not satisfied with current labeling practices, which they find inadequate, inappropriate, or difficult to use." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.4). "The main results concern the label appearance and the content of the ingredient lists." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.4). "Some differences between Greek and Dutch food-allergic consumers emerged from this research. In the Netherlands, specific allergy information is provided on many products, whereas in Greece this is not available at present, although Greek participants were enthusiastic about its provision. Dutch participants reported problems associated with changing recipes and assortments, whereas Greek participants did not mention product changes as important, perhaps because producers in Greece tend to change their recipes less often." (Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, and Theodoridis, p.4).

This article was interesting to me because I know a bunch of people with food allergies. Actually quite a few people in my family have food allergies. I think it is very important that all food products are labeled correctly and have all the allergy information on them. By labeling food correctly, it will be easier for people with allergies to go shopping. I hope one day the Netherlands will have there allergy problems worked out.

Works Cited Page


Cornelisse-Vermaat, Voordouw, Yiakoumaki, Theodoridis, and Frewer. Food-allergic consumers' labeling preferences: a cross-culture comparison. European Journal of Public Health 18.2 (2008): 115-120. Health Module, ProQuest. Web. 19 Mar. 2010.


Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your European Roots: A Complete Guide To Tracing Your Ancestors In Every Country In Europe. Third Edition 2001.

Netherlands. In Culture Grams: World Edition 2010. New York, New York: ProQuest LLC.

The CIA World Factbook 2008. Europe: Netherlands. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. New York, New York.


Faas, Joanne (Grandma). 10 Mar. 2010. (269) 321-9958.


Zoo Life with Jack Hanna: Hangin' Out in Holland. Program Copyright © 1992, 1993, and 1994. Ingle Productions. Distributed by Time-Life Video, 777 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.


Dutch Cuisine. 1 April 2010.

Encyclopedia of the Nations: The Netherlands-Agriculture. 21 Mar. 2010. Agriculture

Hunting in the Netherlands. 23 Mar. 2010.

Oosten, H.J. van. Horticultural Research In The Netherlands: Changes and Challenges For 2010. ProQuest Kalamazoo Valley Community College Library. 21 Mar. 2010.

The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington DC. 23 Mar. 2010.