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The Netherlands Gets on its Bike
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The Netherlands Gets on its Bike

(Anton Korteweg) The Low Countries - 2004, № 12, pp. 46-57

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If you had to take one photo that summed up the Netherlands as the average foreigner sees it, what would it show? Queen Beatrix in clogs, cycling past a row of windmills, with the glassy eyes of dozens of cows staring at her in astonishment. It is not very likely that Her Majesty would offer her services for this Dutch promotional spot, but the fact is that she does cycle, as do most of her subjects. There are as many bikes as people in the Netherlands, and the author tells us about a number of aspects of the nation's favourite form of transport. Including poetry, because without cycling there are no thoughts, or at least far fewer thoughts, and without thoughts there are no poems. (with ten translated cycling poems by C. Buddingh', Jan Kuijper, Gerrit Komrij, Gerry van der Linden, Kees Ouwens, Ad Zuiderent, Jan Kal, H. van Teylingen, T. van Deel and Robert Anker)

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