Hi - and thanks for watching this quick video update.
This week: an Easter banquet. It wasn’t all politics but the coronavirus, curfew, rioting and re-election were among big themes covered by 2nd Opinion in the first quarter of 2021. If that’s the local gossip, another recurring theme was the stressful relationship of humankind to planet Earth.
For this Easter week only, I’ll unlock six of the best posts in the online archive.
On Saturday April 3, I’ll post a digest of six of the best stories from the year so far. The full articles will be free to read for seven days via the links in the post, or sign up for free at 2ndOpinion.substack.com and find them in the archive.
Saturday’s post is your speed read on the big ideas at the front lines of Dutch minds.
Next to rioting and elections, I’ll revisit the life and work of atmospheric scientist and Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, a self-described “boy from de Pijp” in Amsterdam who died in January aged 87.
Dutch judges wanted their say on the impact of human activity on the planet, too. I’ll summarise guest writer Douwe de Lange’s account of how the Supreme Court in the Hague set precedent for the world by deciding who can be accountable in law for failure to curb global heating. An example to the world, although the majority VVD has drafted plans to tame the Netherlands’ activist judiciary.
That relationship of humankind to the natural world surfaced vividly again in the shape of an absent whale, stranded 500 years ago in Zeeland. “Perhaps humans shouldn’t live in Zeeland,” British writer Philip Hoare told me of his visit to the Dutch seaside, as recounted in his acclaimed new book, Albert and the Whale.
The sun was shining, so I ventured outside to make this sub-1 minute video update - and with apologies for the crunchy weather effects, I’ve kept it short:
Then there’s the making of Mark Rutte, a prime minister with flexible opinions — I’ll digest the main themes of his biographers so far, and mix in some fresh interpretations.
In the archive, you’ll find art too. If you missed the jaw-dropping etchings of Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, check them out in the whale story. The full article includes his ‘Rhinocerus’, ‘Hare’ and a self-portrait from 1605 that bears an uncanny resemblance to David Bowie.
Not woke enough
In the wake of her stirring performance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington DC in January, a racially charged row erupted in the Netherlands over who should translate US youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s verses into Dutch.
The answer: not Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, the first Dutch author to win the International Booker prize. Rijneveld - the subject of one of my first posts here - had barely started work when she resigned her commission from Dutch publisher Meulenhoff.
On Saturday, I’ll digest the moral of that story - a new Dutch chapter in the global culture wars.
Please share this email and tell your friends
Remember: these posts are unlocked for Easter week only until April 10. After that, the locks click shut again - except for subscribers, who can browse the entire archive including art and short films at any time.
D66 voters especially detected the promise of change in the March 17 ballot, but party leader Sigrid Kaag must first unlearn the skills of her previous career as a seasoned diplomat.
Video update: quick thoughts on Meghan’s interview with Oprah - showbiz infused with a curious nostalgia for Britain’s royal family. Plus: prospects for Rutte IV, the next coalition government of the Netherlands.
Oil and gas firms want subsidies for carbon capture and storage: why?