Saturday, June 28, 2008

Get off my back

So I know it's been a month since I've posted. I work full-time, am moving in 2.5 weeks, and have two boys under the age of 2. Give me a break. I don't get a lot of time to post.

Anyways, back to my original post. You may wonder why any self-respecting man would wear the jersey to the left in public. Allow me to explain.

I was born and raised in a family of Dutch origin. My father was born in Canada, but his brother and his parents were all born in the Netherlands (NOT HOLLAND; HOLLAND IS A PROVINCE IN THE NETHERLANDS). I am fiercely proud of my Dutch heritage and make every effort to show it off. So strutting about around town with the jersey of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (Royal Netherlands Football League) is one way of showing my pride. Another is wearing bright orange Crocs outside on my days off. But then you may ask, why would a whole nation have such a bright color as their national color? I was asked this question by a colleague and learned something new today.

William the Silent, also known as William I, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg was the first founder of the House of Orange-Nassau, the royal house of the Netherlands, and at times other nations in Europe (namely England in the form of William III). He led the revolt against the Spanish in the 17th century that started the Eighty Years' War and led to Dutch independence in 1648. He is therefore a national hero as he essentially caused the birth of their independent nation.

The Dutch flag, the Prinsenvlag, is based on the colors in his coat of arms, and has a large band of orange in it. The Dutch coat of arms is also based on his. The Dutch national anthem is about him. And, since the current Dutch monarchy is still based out of the House of Orange-Nassau, wearing orange is a way to pay tribute to the Dutch queen, who at this point is Queen Beatrix.

Another thing I learned about the Netherlands is that they were considered to be the first true capitalist society in the world and had the world's first stock exchange. Maybe that's why I have been so interested in the stock market of late. That's for another post!

Oh, four more random Dutch facts:
1. A statue of William of Orange sits outside of Rutgers University in the US as it was founded by Dutch members of the Christian Reformed Church.
2. Nearly half of Netherlands land is reclaimed from the sea, so people actually live below sea level.
3. The Canadian Tulip Festival is held in the Ottawa area every year and the largest of its kind in the world. During the Second World War, Ottawa provided a safe haven for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands from the Nazis. But Juliana was pregnant with Princess Margarit. So if she were born in Canada she would be a Canadian citizen. So a wing of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was proclaimed Dutch soil so this would not happen. As a show of gratitude for the treatment they received in Canada, the Dutch monarchy sent Ottawa 100 000 tulip bulbs in 1945. Over the years they sent more, and the event now houses over 3 million flowers.

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