Saturday, October 28, 2006

Living like goldfish

The flat, never-ending Dutch landscape seems to have had a pretty big affect on life in Holland. But funnily this applies to both people and animals!

Whereas English farmland is divided by, now protected, hedgerows, the perfectly rectangular Dutch fields are neatly intersected by straight channels of water. I've realised, more recently, how these forms of drainage also are a really simple way of keeping farm animals in their fields. The animals obviously don't dare to cross these narrow stretches of water.

When looking across the Dutch fields from the point of view of a farm animal one sees a completely different view than from the English fields. If you were a cow living in England the only view out of your field would be through the gate, the rest of the field surrounded by either hedgerow or fence. For Dutch cows the only only place in which there is any type of physical barrier between your field and the one next door is the gate itself, until it's opened of course. This means that the cows and the sheep and the horses can all stare at each other and watch the world go by.

The Dutch people also seem to be very comfortable with living their lives in full view of the outside world. The front of Dutch houses, old and new, generally have very large windows and people tend not to draw their curtains at night. This means that passers-by, or neighbours on the opposite side of the street, can stare into houses like goldfish bowls, or like cows in the field next door.

Perhaps all this explains why it was the Dutch that came up with the concept of the TV show Big Brother.

1 comment:

Pascal said...

You should add a picture to this post, like the one here: