I have been thinking about this one for a while. There is somewhat of an anti-American sentiment in The Netherlands. It’s not Iran-bad, but Americans are viewed as ignorant, self-centered, arrogant and overly proud of a country that is, viewed from European standards, run poorly on social standards. Politically, I agree with some of those (especially the last one). Best example?
I’ll be the first to agree that Amsterdam isn’t the most holy place in The Netherlands. The thing I hate most about Amsterdam are the American tourists though. Also, saying Dutch statistics are different from American ones is the least sensible way of tackling the numbers presented. But just as Amsterdam is in no way a reflection of The Netherlands (let alone the Dutch), Bill ‘statistics’ O’Reilly is nowhere near the average person I would have a conversation with. Screaming idiots are not necessarily American.
Personally, I feel there is no difference between Americans and Dutch people. For one thing, the amount of annoying, shouting, old men on television that make one feel ashamed of ones country are to be found all over the world. Most of the conversations I have had with people about politics, American culture or Europe are far from the stereotypes reflected in the sentiment. As someone who is interested in people and culture, meeting open-minded people is a joy that is easier to accomplish in the States (being a stranger will help). People pointing fingers, being descending towards others and seeing their own ways or culture as superior are equally divided among both sides of the ocean (not in numbers, but in percentages, mr. O’Reilly). It’s the old story that keeps getting back at you: keeping prejudices alive is based on a lack of knowledge (add final O’Reilly joke here) and a narrow view.