Dutch people are very egalitarian. There is no hierarchy among them. It’s as flat as their landscape, daily life, and food.
Beside my wife and son, one person whose I often remember during my short-stay in the Netherlands is Mr. Rogier, big boss in my part time office, VECO Indonesia. His full name is Rogier Eijkens. He is Dutch.
One of things I like about Mr Rogier is his egalitarian. Although he has the highest position in the office, he never asked his staff to come to his room when he needs them for any reason. It’s happen, at least, for me. He always come to my working room when he needs me, instead of asked me to come to his room.
This attitude in contrast to Indonesian culture when the big boss will respected by their staff not just in the office but in daily life as well. For Indonesian culture, it’s very common that the boss will ask their staff to come to his/her room when they need them. So, Mr Rogier habits made me little bit humbling.
But, after two weeks in Holland, I can understand his attitude. Here, in Netherlands, there is no hierarchy. In Radio Nederland Training Centre (RNTC), for example, it’s normal for their biggest boss to get lunch together with her staff. It’s same like Mr Rogier.
Dealing with the Dutch book explain more complete about how egalitarian are Dutch. The author Jacob Vossestein wrote “It is deeply rooted in history and, according to some observes, even the flatness of the landscape.” (Page 34).
I’m agree with Vossestein. Dutch egalitarian culture, which means no higher or lower position, could be affected by the Netherlands landscape.
As it’s official name, Nederland which means under sea level, indeed the Netherlands is very flat country under sea level. Almost half of the country is less than 1 meter under sea level. The highest area is only 321 meters. Let’s compare to the highest mountain in Indonesia, Puncak Jaya that more than 5000 meters.
As I seen by myself, most of place I visited in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam, Hilversum, The Hague, and Volendam are very flat. Just huge flat area with cows and sheep in the middle of the farming land. The rest is same. Flat.
It is as Wikipedia said about the Netherlands flatness. “Most of the country is very flat.” It’s also shown by a video in Youtube.
Flatness of the Netherlands also in their food that less spicy. There is no challenge when I enjoy the Netherlands food. Bread and cheese, for me, were very flat taste. It’s not like most of Indonesian taste that very spicy. Flatness of the Netherlands culinary as flat as Dutch daily life also. Some people said, their life in the Netherlands is very flat with routine.
The Netherlands flatness of landscape, food, and daily life make me feel flat also. After a week here, I already miss sate kambing, ayam betutu (balinese spicy chicken), nasi goreng (fried rice), etc. I miss Indonesia.. [!]