A Conversation for Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Legality of cannabis
Jeroen Hendrix Started conversation Aug 14, 2001
Here you have hit upon a very interesting aspect of Dutch society. You call it decriminalised, which describes it neatly, but the Dutch word for it is `gedogen': to condone.
The Dutch officials do this condoning to a lot of things: using cannabis, street prostitution, cycling in the dark without lighting on your bike, and much more. Why? Well, the police say it's because they have more important things to do, but it could also be that they like to do these things themselves as well (street prostitution probably excluded).
It is all part of a larger unofficial framework called `poldermodel'. I am not sure if anyone knows exactly what it comprises, but you could say it is the Dutch (hence `polder', see the entry on The Netherlands) way of compromising on everything.
Really every opinion on all issues conceivable is defended by some organised group dedicated to their specific cause. There is (I strongly suspect) a group `for the rights of insects in suburbian areas', a group for `annihilation of natural aspects in suburban areas', a group for `dogs rights to s**t where they would choose to', a group for `childrens rights to play everywhere they want to without encountering any dog s**t', etc.
With the poldermodel, all these groups are not completely satisfied, but because they know that the opposing group isn't completely satified either, they stop demonstrating. (Public gatherings for demonstrating your rights in a procession are almost extinct.)
Generally, the Dutch are happy with the way things are regulated in their country, but as everyone belongs to some group or other, everyone also always has some issue on which he or she isn't completely satisfied. If you happen to talk to a Dutchman, be prepared to hear his annoyances out to the end, it will make him feel very happy and you will be `part of his group' and thus `the friendly guy from abroad'
Legality of cannabis
Aubrey Posted Jan 19, 2002
Check the Poldermodel for more information:
Key: Complain about this post