The Dutch have battled the sea for centuries. Twenty percent of the country is land reclaimed from the sea. Without the countless dunes, dykes and various waterworks over half the Netherlands would be frequently submerged. This love-hate relationship has resulted in prosperity and innovation as well as some very unique landscapes. That is why The Netherlands is called “A land won from the sea”. It also gave us the famous Dutch saying “God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands”, read more on this from this traveler’s report
I occasionally listen to the Radio Online programme on Saturday afternoon from Dutch internet guru Francisco van Jole. On 27 December 2008 I heard Jim Stolze (35, internet advisor) explain that to his surprise his life was happier since he went totally off-line on 1 December. He did this for scientific research on internet usage and happiness by Twente University. One of the questions raised in this research is: Can you do without the internet in modern society?
Stolze is addicted to internet for his work and for his social contacts. The first thing he does after he is woken up by his IPhone is checking his e-mail, next he makes his tea reading mails. What a difference with me, starting with my newspaper as I mentioned one blog ago! At work he is permanently online through his phone and laptop. His last action before going to bed is again checking his mail on his phone.
Interestingly enough I read these details on Stolze’s life this morning in the Hart en Ziel supplement of my newspaper de Volkskrant. And only after that I went online to check the websites of the radio programme, the newspaper and the project.
Many newspapers are struggling. They see their number of readers and advertisement income diminish every year. Everybody under 30 uses the internet as main news source and only few of the youngsters subscribe to or buy a daily newspaper. Frank Kalshoven wrote three colums on this in De Volkskrant, the paper I am reading every day since the 1970s. The paper version is part of my life, if it has not landed on my doorstep around 06:45 on working days at the start of my breakfast I feel annoyed.
Kalshoven on 3 January 2009 suggested a combination of three measures newspapers should take to survive: closer ties with existing readers, a link with a public television network and a new economic milk cow. “Newspapers must reward loalty of their readers and create closer ties with them,” he wrote. “Publishers should use this loalty through charching higher prices from printing ink addicts like me,” he continued. This should lead to more income from readership. I e-mailed him that I can’t follow this logic, but I did not get a reply yet.