Saturday, June 15, 2019

Learning about the Netherlands

Our family just spent the past few weeks learning about the Netherlands. We looked for tulips as we drove around town, we ate Dutch chocolate sprinkles on our buttered bread, and we learned about dikes (the levees used to keep parts of the Netherlands from being taken over by the ocean).

The Dutch language is close enough to German and English that I kept almost understanding Dutch lyrics and sentences that we heard and saw. But not quite.

One fun thing I came across in my research a couple weeks ago was a study finding that licochalcone A, a compound in licorice, which the Dutch eat a lot of, can ameliorate obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice fed a high-fat diet. ( Despite eating a lot of very fatty foods (mmm, cheese:, the Dutch are apparently not experiencing the rise in obesity that is affecting nearly every other country in Europe. ( In light of the statistic that around 1/5 of the candy purchased in the Netherlands is licorice, or drop in Dutch (, I suspect their candy preference helps them fill up their adipocytes more slowly than they otherwise would.

The above video shows the flag of the Netherlands and plays the national anthem of the Netherlands, the "Wilhelmus," which was written in 1572 and so is the national anthem with the oldest music. The song is about William of Orange who led a revolt against Spain due to its harsh punishments of those who favored religious tolerance; that revolt eventually ended in an independent Dutch republic.