Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


TRANSIT bannerUC Berkeley

Circumventing Openness: Creating New Senses of Dutchness


Time and again, people who come to the Netherlands are struck by the excessive openness of the Dutch landscape and the Dutch people. Migrants and visitors often remark that Dutch people boast of having created this territory themselves - they live in a transparent space they think they know and control completely.

Openness, a strong belief in visibility and directness, the need for, and the belief in control and regulation, these are a few of the characteristics that come up in such representations of the Dutch. They suggest a realist, rational and sober culture, where there is great acceptance of things that would remain hidden elsewhere. This very month, in October 2004, a survey showed that the Dutch still see soberness and common sense as the main national characteristics, while they characterize their own individual identity as primarily tolerant – and Dutch migrants defined themselves in the same way, only slightly disagreeing with regard to their soberness.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View