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Winging our Way

So the last time I talked about the Way – it was to highlight The Camino Channel and the accumulating interviews Bob Carrothers and I did last fall on the impacts of the Camino for Pilgrims. Check it out here

Now I’ve just passed over the southern tip of Greenland in a big blue bird en route to Amsterdam.
What a sister I have! First she is mine. Second, among many seconds, is that she is a great painter. An enthusiastic exponent of old masters style, she called a couple of months ago:
“Did you know there is a huge exhibit of Rembrandt being put up by the Rijksmuseum for his 450th anniversary?”
“No, but I bet it will be fantastic!”
“Yes it will. But it’ll be even better if we’re there. Wanna go?”
And in the early flushes of new found freedom, well, there was only answer:
It’s as simple as that. Now we are skimming along drawing ever closer to one of the most magical cities in the world – magnificently old and dramatically new at the same time.
The presumption, the experimentation. As Jane – said sister – observed – “They just decided a city should be there – and there wasn’t even land…”. The Dutch are like that – they just get on with it – and constructed another Venice in the middle of the reclaimed mouth of a river. That became the center of the world for a hundred magical years back around 1600. The Dutch were such able navigators and traders that from their tiny base, the world came to them for all things exotic from the East and elsewhere.
She’s now reading the great “Amsterdam” by Russel Shorto and pops out with – “Did you know???”

  • stock markets were invented
  • Our notion of “home” originated
  • The first middle class manifested
  • The first – non-regal [ruled by Kings] – republic came into existenceall in the Netherlands. That is, when they weren’t occupied taking over England by bloodless coup.

We know the flashy experiments:

  • the legal red light district everyone has to visit
  • The first “coffee shops” where marijuana could be legally consumed

What we probably don’t appreciate – yet – are the contemporary deeper and broader social and engineering experiments now underway. We’ve seen the benefits of them on past excursions here.
Rising water levels due to climate change? The Dutch stopped fruitless debate long ago and decided their country was uniquely vulnerable. And built massive tidal gates to protect themselves.
As I said, the Dutch figure out what’s true and get on with dealing with it. They are unafraid to think challenges through and try fresh, bold answers that usually work out really well. Our absorption with the dramas of our own continent often keeps us from knowing how far ahead they are on many scores. We’re so into it, we’re out of it.
Americans are now furtively employing Dutch experts on saving Miami and New York, when they’re not fending off ignorant baseless bluster of climate deniers, some now in power.
That’s one of the great virtues of travel, particularly out of the North American bubble – it shows that ours is not the only solution and that there are many other delights than we are preoccupied with to sample and enjoy.
If you’d like to stay tuned and are not on our travel blog list – hit reply and Suzan will send the next few from Amsterdam. Otherwise, sit tight for more business focused news and insights.


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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