Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Amsterdam is the Venice of the North with one difference: it’s run by the Dutch

Only the Netherlands can save Venice

As an eleven-generation (all Jews) Dutch guy of 6’5″ height who lived for 40 years in the Netherlands, I understand rain and sea walls. One of the benefits of life in Israel is that all here are happy when it finally rains. Please forgive me if I’ll get a bit personal and giggly now Venice (Italy) is drowning. I feel bad for the Queen of the Adriatic, the City of Canals.

G^d created the whole world in six days but the Dutch created the Netherlands. They know how to reclaim land from lakes and the sea. And in 1953, the sea took revenge. Springtide invaded it’s Province Zealand and killed 2000 people. Then the Dutch started the Delta Works with giant doors or dikes closing off most waterways that empty into the North Sea. Though, sorry to report to you that the story of Hans Brinker saving the country by wisely and courageously putting his finger in a yet small hole in a dike is American fiction. No Dutch child or historian has ever heard of it.

In a recent dry summer, flooding threatened the Low Countries again. The Netherlands used to be as soaked as England, Scotland and Washington State. But with climate change, dry summer weeks emerged. Rain once was a daily thing. As the Brits say: The summer this year fell on a Tuesday.

Strange not, a lack of rain that gives flooding? Well, most of the dikes hold lots of clay. Clay is fine sand mixed with water. When clay dries up it turns into dust. Dust makes for very poor dams. Rivers threatened to inundate the land because the dikes had dried out. They had to wet the dikes.

So the Dutch know how to keep the water out. Venice does not. It has a recurring and increasing problem of flooding and they have no clue what to do. Its mayor now said that the high water has brought the city to its knees. That’s the last thing one should do during flooding: kneeling.

There is this decades-old story (how actual now) that scientists declared that the world would become flooded again already within a month. Christians leaders from around the world converge on Geneva and within one day they unanimously called upon all Christians around to world to pray to G^d to avert the disaster. All Roman Catholic Bishops hastened themselves to the Vatican and within a day they unanimously called upon all Roman Catholics around to world to pray to G^d to avert the disaster. And everyone ever called a Rabbi rushed to Jerusalem where within one day they unanimously (!) called upon all Jews to learn within a month to live underwater. The moral of this joke is already in the Torah where G^d tells Moses to stop shouting at Him and start moving (Exodus 14:15).

At least, one should try to grow as tall as the Dutch. Dutch men were already (and still are) the tallest in the world 2000 years ago when the Romains hired them as bodyguards. One only needs to look at the Fiat or Italian shoes to know that they’ve not intermarried with the Dutch ever.

Seriously, the simple solution is: ask the Dutch — yesterday.

First of all, one shouldn’t live from flood to flood. Not like the guy whose roof leaked but did not repair it. Why? Well, when it rained, he wouldn’t climb the roof and when it was dry, it didn’t leak. One should think ahead, make a plan and execute it in stages. First, one deals with the most urgent problems and than one moves to prevent less disastrous future floods.

I don’t know if Venice needs waterworks at its harbor or not. Did anyone study building locks across the Strait of Gibraltar? Dutch engineers would looove to tackle this problem. They know how to take commerce and nature into account. They have experience. Did anyone ask them already?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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