Downriver in the Lowlands
The Netherlands is known for its outright flat landscape – its even part of the name. How come the Dutch Womans Youth Rafting Team just won the World Cup in the category ‘Downriver’? Lucky?
Must be, cause how could the four of them get proper training without rivers running wild, without speeding downhill? Just by a little floating on a Dutch lake? And how come last year a Dutch girl won a gold medal at the Olympics in snowboarding, lucky as well? Must be, as the Dutch don’t have any mountains nor enough snow.
I once read a quote saying “The best rapper in the world is white (Eminem) and the best golfer in the world is black (Tiger Woods), what’s happening?”. I have this feeling when I see these Dutchies winning prizes in their unnatural habitat. I’m already hoping for a Jamaican to win at Fierljeppen (a typical traditional Dutch sport).
But in fact something much bigger causes these strange successes. Since the last two or three decades the Dutch have been stealing environments. If we like what we elsewhere we just copy it. Instead of trying to conquer it as we used to, we now take a close look and rebuilt it. Today you can ski on snow mountains, climb rocks, raft wild rivers, go to China (town) or on a Safari without crossing the border. We reshape our nation to entertain ourselves and that’s not typical Dutch. Japan made a copy of Amsterdam, Vegas did Venice and Disneyland is everywhere.
Globalization doesn’t stop with a bit of networking and outsourcing, we even shift our physical world, exchanging complete cities and landscapes. And as we had brought the Zambezi River – famous for rafting – to Zoeterwoude (photo) we could as well easily organize the World Cup Rafting.
So the success of the Dutch Womans Youth Rafting team might be due to the event was held in our own land, on a wild – but man made – river. I wander what’s next? Indoor surfing in Ghana, outdoor ice skating in Dubai or curling at the Himalayas? It will at least make some extra ordinary champions.