How The Dutch Mourn

NETHERLANDS-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-MALAYSIA-CRISIS-VICTIMS

Russell Shorto admires it:

The Dutch are strikingly different from Americans in their gut reactions to things. When hit with a national shock, Americans will almost instinctively reach for ideology or ideals. People saw 9/11 as an assault on “freedom.” The Dutch have an innate distrust of ideology. You could relate that to World War II and their experience under Nazism, but it goes much farther back. It has something to do with being a small country surrounded by larger countries that have had long histories of asserting themselves.

It also stems from the fact that Dutch society grew not out of war against a human foe but out of the struggle against nature. Living in low lands on a vast river delta, the Dutch came together to battle water. Building dams and dikes and canals was more practical than ideological. For better or worse, the Dutch are more comfortable with meetings and remembrances than with calls to arms.

(Photo: A person holds a white rose during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on July 23, 2014 in Amsterdam. By John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)