We celebrated my brother’s 70th birthday a day before the actual day, with his sons, another brother, two sisters in law and a newcomer to the family, little Willem, my niece’s child, just 8 months old.
Holland was also in election frenzy mode. The elections will be held in a few days, on March 15. There are some 20 parties vying for seats in parliament, and those with the largest number of seats can expect a role in a coalition government. Unlike the US, there is no ‘winners take all.’
The Dutch passport holders in my family have arranged for others in Holland to vote on our behalf. I generally don’t follow Dutch (or European) politics all that much but it is kind of interesting these days with Trump wannabees doing amazingly well in Holland and France.
There are so many choices who to vote for. There is a party for animals (huh?), a party for people over 50, there is a ‘pirate party,’ (huh?) a party for people not voting (huh?) and a party of people voting. And then there are of course the old stalwarts: the old democrats my mother used to be active in, the Christian democrats, the Labor Party (mighty when I lived in Holland, shriveled up now), the Socialists, the Reformed Dutch Church party, Green Left and more. I think our votes will either go to D66, an alternative democratic party that was founded when I still lived in Holland (in 1966) or Green left, a Bernie Sander’s kind of party that follows his tactics, campaigning America style.
There is of course the Geert Wilders party which has gotten very big, possibly the one with the most or second largest number of predicted seats. Wilders’ Free Holland Party follows in Trump’s shoes and wants to make Holland lily white again. A lot of people think this is great, even the husband of an Afghan friend of mine, a Muslim who arrived decades ago. They are like the Trump supporters, children or grandchildren of immigrants from a previous wave who feel that the new immigrants just have it too easy and should be deported, spoilers rather than contributors.
Spring fever was also apparent everywhere – the sun was shining; the crocuses and even some daffodils were in full bloom, blooming in large swatches of purple, white and yellow on green fields. People were out walking and running or cleaning their yards. Garden furniture was brought out of their winter storage places. We sat outside in the sun, drinking endless cups of tea and talking about all the things that tie us together. On days like this I miss being with my family in Holland.