Windmills, Wooden Shoes and the Apocalypse

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Amsterdam to see the windmills, tulips, wooden shoes and dikes of The Netherlands, you’d better do it soon. According to a survey conducted by the Dutch-language newspaper de Volksrant, thousands of Dutch citizens expect the world to end in 2012 and many say they’re taking precautions to prepare for the apocalypse.

De Volkskrant said it spoke to thousands of believers in the impending end of civilization. Many of those interviewed are stocking up on emergency supplies, including life rafts and other equipment. While theories of the cause of the supposed catastrophe vary, most interviewed tie the 2012 date to the end of the Mayan calendar. Why the Mayan calendar you ask?

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, time is divided into Calendar Rounds equating roughly to 52 solar years, each making up what’s called the Long Count Calendar. The Long Count calendar identifies a date in the future or the past by counting the number of days from August 11, 3114 BC. I won’t bore you with the details of why some day in August 5,000 years ago is so significant. Using this Mayan calendar and calculating from August 11, 3114 BC, the end of the calendar comes out to December 21, 2012. Just as these divining Dutchman are predicting, the end of the world may be upon us!

Don’t ask me to explain why a bunch of wooden-shoe-wearing, swamp-living Europeans would use an ancient calendar from an extinct civilization. Even I have a hard time making that connection.

Fortunately, and to the amusement of the rest of us, December 21, 2012, isn’t actually the end of the world. It’s the end of the next Mayan calendar round. Since there have been just under 100 calendar rounds between these magical dates, I’m going to put my reputation on the line and predict there will be another starting December 22, 2012, the day after this Dutch disaster date.

While the Netherlands has seen its share of extinctions over the millennia including the Great Auk, various sorts of mammals, birds, fish and insects, thousands of Dutch surmise these extinctions will pale in comparison to this impending cataclysm.

But being the optimists the Dutch can sometimes be, some are even optimistic about the end of civilization. Speaking to De Volkskrant, Petra Faile of Amsterdam stated, “You know, maybe it’s really not that bad the Netherlands will be destroyed. I don’t like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse.”

While most of the country is constructed on a swamp…you think the Cajuns would have taken a lesson from this…for centuries the Dutch have been draining relatively high lying swampland to utilize as farmland. This drainage causes the fertile peat, which is often mined, dried and used for fuel, to compress and the ground level to drop. To compensate for the drop in ground level, the Dutch lower the water level further causing the peat to compress even more. This vicious sinking cycle remains unsolved to this day.

Fortunately for the weight of the country, the fertility rate of the Netherlands is 1.72 children per woman, well below the 2.1 rate required for population replacement. The Dutch may disappear on their own without anyone even realizing, and before their country sinks into the bog. Dutch contributions over the ages have included a one-eared suicidally-deceased post-impressionist artist, the guy who discovered Saturn’s moon Titan, Grolsch and Heineken beers and the 1970’s rock bands Golden Earring and Shocking Blue. The rest of the European Union won’t even miss them until they don’t show up to claim their 12th place prize in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Luckily for me, the Dutch are a famously tolerant bunch. So my humorous poke at these tall, attractive, pot smoking, prostitute peddling, dike builders should go without much retribution or penalty to my potential Dutch book sales. Although after 2012, it really won’t make much of a difference.

Wiggy – Dirge of Darwinistic Dutch Dyke Disasters

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One Response to “Windmills, Wooden Shoes and the Apocalypse”

  1. Well, that was educational. Amusing too. I’ve been tunneling toward Cheyenne Mountain for the past six months, just in case Jesse Ventura is right and Denver International Airport really is a prophecy of the 2012 doomsday. Apparently, NORAD moved out of the mountain to make room for the apocalypse. I figure there should plenty of room for me in that case.

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