Dutch Culture and Economics – Individual Assignment
Dutch Culture and Economics – Individual Assignment[pic 1]Hannah Workman (1692914)Dutch Culture and Economics (MBIB-DUTCUECO-14)Yael Brenner31/5/2016Table of ContentsIntroduction 3Reflection: The pleasure society – tolerant or indifferent? 4Reflection: On gender, generations, and personal relations 6Reflection: On Images and Stereotypes 8Reflection: Excursions 10Conclusion 11Bibliography 12Introduction My name is Hannah Workman and I am an exchange student at Hogeschool Utrecht studying International Marketing. Coming from America, I had many predispositions about the Netherlands before arriving, some of which were true and many which were untrue. After spending approximately a month living with my parents in Switzerland, I’ve been able to not only notice the many cultural differences between America and the Netherlands but also, Switzerland and the Netherlands. You would think that since these small countries are so close together, they would be extremely similar however, they have proven to be very different from one another. Being an exchange student, we are required to take an elective class. Having the choice of taking either Dutch or Dutch Culture and Economics I decided to take Dutch Culture and Economics to learn about culture in the Netherlands from a different and more educational perspective. In the following sections, I will be reflecting on the following sections from the book by Jacob Vossestein, Dutch Culture and Economics: The Pleasure Society – tolerant or indifferent?, On gender, generations, and personal relations, and On images and stereotypes. In addition, I will reflect on the various excursions I have attended during this course and go on to a final conclusion. I will break the reflections into different headings as they appear in the book and by excursion. However, since there are many headings per section, I will only include the ones I felt were most important, significant, or different from my own culture. Reflection: The pleasure society – tolerant or indifferent?Authority As the author mentions, the attitude of many Dutch citizens is that they “wish to be their own boss” (Vossestein, 160). Since everyone is treated as equals that goes for police officers and those that work in uniform. Often times, disputes are handled with calm discussions and police force is only used when absolutely necessary. Coming from America, this is very different because so often you see in the media police using a lot of force even when unavoidable and many disputes are handled with interrogation, arrests, and in the worst cases violence. I believe that the more peaceful approach that the Dutch use is much more effective because you are not taught to fear the police, they are truly there to help when needed.
Political backgrounds: pluriformity Politics in the Netherlands I find, is much different than politics in America. It seems to me to be much less competitive and Dutch citizens don’t simply stay with one political party but rather, vote for leaders who they truly believe will benefit their country. In addition, there seems to be much less corruption, which is a huge problem in the world of American politics. The author states, “Corruption in government circles is extremely rare and widely published if it ever occurs. In my opinion, the biggest problem with American politics is the competition between parties that results in lack of compromise and also the mindset that “money is power.” Rather than parties helping each other like in the Netherlands, parties in America just like to tell each other “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Drugs Policy Another subject that is very different compared to America, is the attitude towards drugs. In America, no matter what drug you use and how much you possess, you are treated as a criminal in society. In addition, rehabilitation programs are extremely expensive and often times users of drugs just end up in jail rather than receiving help and once they leave jail, they return to the streets and continue to use drugs and eventually end up back in jail, a sad, deadly cycle. Here in the Netherlands, unless you possess massive amounts or are displaying addictive behavior, most people will leave you alone. Also, since drugs are so tolerated, there is a much lower number of addicts and teenage drug use. This all just makes so much more sense to me and I wish there were more people in America that had this sort of mindset. On Gender, Generations and Personal RelationsWomen in Dutch Society It was very surprising to me to read that women in the Netherlands rarely hold managerial positions, “only one in twenty,” (Vossestein, 202). In America, it is very common for women to hold management positions, depending on the field of work, of course. In my personal experience at my internship last summer where I worked in purchasing for an automotive supplier, the Director of Purchasing was a woman and so were many of the other Directors of other departments. It was also surprising for me to read that the women that do hold management positions, most are foreign. It makes me wonder if there are a shortage of women in the Dutch workforce to the point where they have to hire in women from other countries?Women at Work It seems that up until the past 50 years, women in the Netherlands had limited independence. The author states, “married women in NL were not allowed to independently sign contracts or other legal documents until 1957” (Vossestein, 203). I found this to be interesting because I never would have imagined such a thing in the Netherlands because most Dutch women I’ve met seem to be very independent. Another factor I found to be surprising was the pay gap between genders in the Netherlands, women only being paid 77% of male colleague’s hourly salaries. There is quite a large pay gap in America, but I never imagined it would be this significant here! Lastly, I found it interesting how women are four times more likely to become dependent on social benefits. I found this interesting again because women in the Netherlands seem to be hardworking and independent and I would have thought that they would try to avoid dependence on social benefits at all costs.