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Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:01 PM

Netherlands to Close Prisons For Lack of Criminals

http://vorige.nrc.nl/international/article2246821.ece/Netherlands_to_close_prisons_for_lack_of_criminals

"The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.

During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.

Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said.

The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry's research department expects to continue for some time. "

On the other hand, Belgium has a surplus of prisoners, so The Netherlands will house some of the Belgian prisions for them.

I would like to point out that The Netherlands has more progressive drug policy than Belgium, for what it's worth.

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Netherlands to Close Prisons For Lack of Criminals (Original post)
RainDog Jan 2012 OP
undeterred Jan 2012 #1
Fearless Jan 2012 #2
Jackpine Radical Jan 2012 #3
RKP5637 Jan 2012 #6
Blue_Tires Jan 2012 #17
SalviaBlue Jan 2012 #20
julian09 Jan 2012 #4
Gregorian Jan 2012 #5
sabrina 1 Jan 2012 #7
cthulu2016 Jan 2012 #8
RainDog Jan 2012 #9
TheDebbieDee Jan 2012 #13
RainDog Jan 2012 #16
RainDog Jan 2012 #10
toddwv Jan 2012 #11
RainDog Jan 2012 #12
marmar Jan 2012 #14
RainDog Jan 2012 #18
WillyT Jan 2012 #15
RainDog Jan 2012 #19
Solly Mack Jan 2012 #21
lovuian Jan 2012 #22
RainDog Jan 2012 #23
cyglet Jan 2012 #25
eridani Jan 2012 #40
cyglet Jan 2012 #24
RainDog Jan 2012 #26
cyglet Jan 2012 #27
RainDog Jan 2012 #28
cyglet Jan 2012 #29
RainDog Jan 2012 #30
cyglet Jan 2012 #31
RainDog Jan 2012 #32
cyglet Jan 2012 #33
RainDog Jan 2012 #34
cyglet Jan 2012 #35
CTyankee Jan 2012 #36
RainDog Jan 2012 #38
CTyankee Jan 2012 #41
ButterflyBlood Jan 2012 #37
RainDog Jan 2012 #39
BB1 Jan 2012 #42

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:03 PM

1. Well, we should have some of what they're having.

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Response to undeterred (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:04 PM

2. Socialism.

Putting people before corporations. Not working people into their graves. Providing quality education at no cost. Yes. Yes indeed!

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Response to Fearless (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:08 PM

3. Amen to all that.

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Response to Fearless (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:16 PM

6. But that would be so unAmerican. The country would collapse if the country

worked in favor of the 99%. I tell you, the only way to success is through oppression and deprivation for the majority while increasing the wealth of the 1%, it's worked soooo well!

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Response to Fearless (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:16 PM

17. That, and the Dutch don't get the concept of for-profit prisons

we incarcerate so many because it makes a whole lot of money for certain people

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:56 PM

20. Exactly!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:14 PM

4. They can have Vandersloot back nt

 

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:15 PM

5. The sound of conservative heads exploding.

Does not compute...

Can I just take a moment to say that the problems we are experiencing are mostly designed ones.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:16 PM

7. Socialism works. Which is why we will never have it here until we get rid of the system that

promotes crime and views it as profitable and cares nothing for building a decent society, where profit is the goal at all costs, and replace it with a system that is about creating a better society.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:17 PM

8. What losers... a government can always create more criminals!

Running out of criminals is a sign of poor planning on the part of the legislature.

Incarceration is our greatest renewable resource.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:23 PM

9. Prisoner creation is the U.S.'s contribution to the world

we even beat out China - at least officially. we don't hide most of our political prisoners.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html?pagewanted=all

"The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London.

China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China's extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)"

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Response to RainDog (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:02 PM

13. I used this same article and a similar article from TIME magazine

 

in a report my team put together to justify calling us a "Prison Nation".

Why are we, as a nation, so stupid that we cannot consider how other nations have dealt with their crime and drug problems? Is it because law enforcement, the judicial system and the prison industrial complex lobbies members of congress so as not to lose their livelihood?

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Response to TheDebbieDee (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:14 PM

16. oh, would love to see it

if it's available to post here.

imo, the influence of the religious right in this nation is toxic in all kinds of ways.

I do not mean to implicate every religious group with that statement - it's the ones that focus on creating enemies and condemning others that create a culture of santorum.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:41 PM

10. Human Rights Watch: U.S. Prisons A Sadistic Culture - by Prison Staff

http://www.hrw.org/news/2004/05/13/prisoner-abuse-how-different-are-us-prisons

This article was filed in 2004. Human Rights Watch noted that the Abu Ghraib abuse should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the U.S. prison system.

A federal judge in 1999 concluded that Texas prisons were pervaded by a “culture of sadistic and malicious violence.” In 1995, a federal judge found a stunning pattern of staff assaults, abusive use of electronic stun devices guns, beatings, and brutality at Pelican Bay Prison in California, and concluded the violence “appears to be open, acknowledged, tolerated and sometimes expressly approved” by high ranking corrections officials.

In recent years, U.S. prison inmates have been beaten with fists and batons, stomped on, kicked, shot, stunned with electronic devices, doused with chemical sprays, choked, and slammed face first onto concrete floors by the officers whose job it is to guard them. Inmates have ended up with broken jaws, smashed ribs, perforated eardrums, missing teeth, burn scars—not to mention psychological scars and emotional pain. Some have died.

Both men and women prisoners—but especially women—face staff rape and sexual abuse. Correctional officers will bribe, coerce, or violently force inmates into granting sexual favors, including oral sex or intercourse. Prison staff have laughed at and ignored the pleas of male prisoners seeking protection from rape by other inmates.

...Even detained children and youth are not immune from staff brutality and abuse. They too are kicked, beaten, punched, choked, and sexually preyed upon by adult staff. The Maryland State Police recently filed criminal assault charges against staff at a youth facility in Maryland because of an incident in which one guard restrained a youth while the three others kicked him and punched him in the face. In January 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice reported on terrible conditions at Arizona’s juvenile detentions centers, including sexual abuse of the children by staff members (and fellow inmates) that occurs “with disturbing frequency” and a level of physical abuse that is ”equally disturbing.”

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:52 PM

11. Yeah, but we're "winning" the "War on Drugs"!

Well, assuming that high crime including violent crime, astronomical incarceration rates and the gross infringement on Constitutionally protected rights means "win"...

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Response to toddwv (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 07:53 PM

12. We're number one at incarcerating people for victimless crimes! n/t

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:08 PM

14. Wow, what a difference sanity and pragmatism make when it comes to drug laws & sex work!



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Response to marmar (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:23 PM

18. Yes.

And what's interesting from this information is that The Netherlands has lower rates of cannabis use among teens, one of the biggest "fear factor" claims by those who want to defend idiotic drug laws.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/117015

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:11 PM

15. HUGE K & R !!!

 


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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:39 PM

19. Noam Chomsky sez

(Our current prison state) has the dual effect of getting rid of a superfluous population of basically unskilled workers (with a close race-class correlation), and also demonizing them...The drug war is basically for this - It has nothing to do with drugs, but it has plenty to do with criminalizing an unwanted population and scaring everybody else." ~Noam Chomsky, "Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism in the Real World," Harvard, 1996

Racial minorities comprised a strikingly disproportionate percentage of the prison population. African Americans constituted 46.5% of state prisoners and 40% percent of federal prisoners, although they constituted only 12 percent of the national population. ~Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: United States

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1170117

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 08:58 PM

21. K&R

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:02 PM

22. why have a prison when there is no need to

steal or kill

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Response to lovuian (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:04 PM

23. it makes me weep to see how wedded we are to bad policy

honestly.

of course, The Netherlands does have crime - and I wonder how their move to a right-wing govt. will impact their laws - but what passes for right wing there would be to the left of Leiberman here.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:08 PM

25. They do

but mostly petty crime. Pickpockets, stealing bikes, etc.

I don't honestly think it would change much...

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Response to cyglet (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 05:08 AM

40. In major population centers, bike theft is a huge annoyance

Not so much out in the countryside. The standard joke is that if you need a bike, just go to a bike stop sign at an intersection and holler "Hey! That's my bike." Pick up any of the ones that get dropped on the street and ride off.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:06 PM

24. We just do everything all wrong.

They're also great people and very laid back.

Hopefully I'll retire there (possibly sooner).

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Response to cyglet (Reply #24)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:23 PM

26. if you need someone to hide in your luggage, let me know

I speak Flemish badly.

My ex is from Belgium so my kids can move there legally if they so desire, but not me. My ex schoen-zus has issued an open invite to visit, but don't have the disposable income at the moment.

how are you going about making your move plans? (just curious for the daydreamer in me)

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Response to RainDog (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 09:47 PM

27. I still have a decent job here

(USPS). I'm only 35, so the plan is to buy a vacation flat in Rotterdam and eventually live there...

I'm usually hanging around Europe once a year for 3-4 weeks anyway.

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Response to cyglet (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 10:07 PM

28. I wonder if kickstarter would be interested in funding a b&b

and get a time share out of the deal?

but I would really like a bookstore/jazz club. the b&b wouldn't hurt, tho.

I might be more interested in Utrecht. Actually, I like Leuven and Brugge, in Belgium.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #28)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 10:16 PM

29. Brugge is nice

though touristy. I haven't seen Leuven or Utrecht. I think my coworker's going to do the B&B thing (in France) though he's 51 or so. I've kicked it around. I'm not much of a cook...

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Response to cyglet (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 10:32 PM

30. Leuven is the home of one of the oldest U's in Europe

my former step-daughter got her PhD there and now lives there and does research. It's a beautiful city and has a great book fair.

Brugge seems touristy b/c it's so small - b/c the river silted up so long ago. All major cities have a central Grote Markt that remains a tourist draw, but developed industry too.

Antwerp is a really nice large city - I like it better than Brussels. The train station is beautiful, the zoo is right beside the station (with bonobos!) and the whole city is just easier to navigate. (I didn't drive when I lived there.) Also, parts of Brussels just smell rank from industry.

my ex sister-in-law went to cooking school after her licensiate and she and my ex m-i-l (whose grandmother cooked for priests) taught me how to cook "ala Flammand." The Belgians have a better cuisine than the Dutch, imo. Better beers, too. And chocolates. And... really, what more do you need?

They have decriminalized cannabis but don't know the laws concerning this overall. It seems that nations with a strong specialized liquor tradition (Belgium or France) have been more reluctant to liberalize some laws.

When I lived there, the Flemish Belgians thought the Dutch "went overboard" in their liberalization b/c... well, b/c they were the Dutch and had that long tradition of tolerance going back to the 1600s. But the two like to point out the other's flaws. Kinda hard for the Belgians to do that since they couldn't form a govt for quite a while until recently.

I've actually looked at the chamber of commerce instructions for The Netherlands in the past, but put that whole idea behind me as undoable at this time. Even tho my ancestors are French, I like the low countries better - probably b/c of my connection through people I knew for decades.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 11:02 PM

31. I always like the markets

in the cities. I should spend more time in Belgium, tbh I've only been to Brugge and Ghent. Belgians apparently have an awesome tradition of hating each other (between the Flemish and French)...

One of the other great things about Europe is you really don't need a car. Yes, the Dutch aren't much for cooking, but I'm not much of a foodie.

My sister is apparently heading to Belgium because her boyfriend's sister is marrying someone there...some small town they couldn't remember.

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Response to cyglet (Reply #31)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 11:32 PM

32. here's a flash mob in the Centraal Station in Antwerp

it was put together by VTM (Flemish TV) when some group was casting for the SoM.



You can't see the glass ceiling here - it was one of those Victorian engineering spectacles.

Antwerp and Brussels have a lot of gorgeous Art Deco architecture.

If you go to Antwerp, check out Ruben's House and, of course, Onze Lieve Vrouw Kerk and the area around the church.

There are a lot of really nice small towns throughout Belgium. Each region has it's own signature pastry. What's so weird is that in a country that small, there are HUGE numbers of dialects that make Flemish incomprehensible if someone is speaking it and you don't know that areas words for things.

Dinant is a gorgeous old city in Wallonia...and, yeah, the only thing Vlamse and Wallons hate more than the Dutch or French are each other...or is it the other way around?

this all makes me "home sick." except it's not my home, except maybe in my heart.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #32)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 11:50 PM

33. Great architecture everywhere

and real food (the food here to me seems all fake).

I suppose it's "Europe sick". It's that and the goings on in government here that makes me need to escape the US. I'm not sure what I'll do this year, might well be a Netherlands/Belgium trip though (I like to land in Schipol because it's direct from my airport).

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Response to cyglet (Reply #33)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 12:41 AM

34. Yes. European nations have a real left and they're represented in govt

they don't have the sort of religious right intrusion into govt that we have here - yeah, the Catholics have a political party but they aren't creationist nutters. In fact, the conservatives there are the "right center" here - and the liberals are moderates and the left, the socialists and communists, are who get things done for people.

The far right is there - bigotry is there - it's not perfect - but, imo, much more workable systems than here for the most people.

oh, btw, one more tourist thing - Dinant is a one day thing - it's tiny - but has a great old medieval citadel and lots of good restaurants on the river - but it also has lots of music - birthplace of the guy who invented the saxaphone.

when you're so close, you should take a train to Aachen, in Germany. that was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the museum pieces - jewelry from Charlemagne - are amazing. So is the church that holds them. I'm a museum geek so I love that sort of thing.

I haven't been to Belgium in a while but my kids go there about every other year to see family. I was in Berlin a few years ago - had never been there. It's so different, tho, when you're in a place with people you know, rather than on your own.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #34)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 12:59 AM

35. I've never known going there specifically to see people

just being a tourist. But I'm rather introverted. Thanks for the tourist tips.

It's not necessarily the religious right that upsets me, it's the corporate takeover of the government, so we have no representation. It's not perfect there, and they have the same issues with losing jobs to Asian countries.

I was in Berlin last fall. I loved the Berlin wall art and the city in general. Lots of funny old clearly Soviet era buildings that looked so utilitarian...they really liked having multi use buildings. But even they had a good balance of green space and concrete jungle.

I'll go to museums on and off...I don't like being in them all day every day.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 03:08 AM

36. I'm eager to go there and may go in late April!

I do art research as a hobby (now that I am retired) and Belgium is definitely on my list. I hear great things about Antwerpen and am excited about seeing the Rubens art there, particularly the Altarpiece in the cathedral.

But Brussels also has some great art, I understand. The Musee des Beaux Arts and the Magritte museum and the Art Nouveau neighborhood are on my list to see! I just love old European cities and both Antwerp and Brussels fill that bill for me!

I also understand that Brussels has great food and I am a real foodie...

Tell me more about Leuven...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #36)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:28 AM

38. if you're going to Belgium, you should go to Brugge if you haven't been

tons of Flemish primitifs there - Dirk Bouts musuem etc.

David's Death of Marat is in Brussels - it was a thrill to see that one irl after studying that era for France. I spent a lot of time with the medieval paintings in the MdBA b/c my ex s-i-l got her licensiate in art history and studied food in medieval paintings... she was my tour guide...

Antwerp also has a great little museum... Mayer Van der Bergh? ... have to look it up - with lots and lots of small Brueghel paintings. (I lived in Antwerp but my relatives lived in and around Brussels - but that's like a drive in traffic in a U.S. city, as far as time, to get from one to the other..

I would assume it's still there - who knows - but there was a great restaurant to the left and behind Onze Lieve Vrouw - part of the walls were the church exterior - and they had good mussels - mussels are the big national dish. mussels and fries, or mosselen met frietjes.

Ghent's big dish is waterzooi - that's the region that made it famous. Van Eyck's triptych is there.

Two kinds of belgian waffles - the street vendor kind are sticky sweet and not my thing. the ones in cafes are light, with whipped cream. they're all over the country.

inexpensive but good pralines (filled chocolates) are Leonidas. they only have a shelf life of a week or two.

One thing that's served there that you never find here are potato croquettes, aka kroketten. (I have a croquette maker I got there to have here.) I'm sure they have them in restaurants - they're a tradition for meals on holidays, etc. They have potato puree mixed with pepper and nutmeg inside and a bread crumb coating. They're fried and the outside is crisp while the inside is soft. Those are traditionally eaten with braised endive - i.e. witloof. (the veggie grown in greenhouses, covered up to turn them white, not the salad green) The witloof is sauted in butter, pepper and nutmeg, then braised in stock until soft. very much worth seeking out. also witloof gratinee. mussels are also served with kroketten for nice dinners.

Blood sausages are also good, served with red cabbage, another traditional dish (I have a recipe if you want it.) and potatoes.

lots of good breads and cheeses to make lunches for yourself. kervil soep (chervil soup) is traditional with these meals, but not for a packed lunch! explorateur is a great cheese - like a brie, and of course the various edams, etc. a boterham is a sandwich of any kind, usually standard bakery bread that's buttered with gouda. they don't mix meat and cheese unless it's something like a croque-monsieur or -madam. a sandwich (sand-wische) is a type of bread at the bakery - a roll.

there's also something called "spring soup" that's worth trying. "lente soep"

another dish is vogel zonder kop, or "bird without head." this is really spiced ground beef wrapped in a steak cut and sauteed. a traditional food.

also, there's a large Turkish population there and they have GREAT food.

and, of course, Belgium has 100 different beers. Duvel is one you need to try. strong and dark. You HAVE TO have a real lambic kriek, or cherry beer - that's usually served with blood sausage - or spicy, as in pepper, meat. this beer is in what looks like a champagne bottle b/c it's fermented and bubbly like champ. also Trappist is a dark beer you need to try.

people usually have a coffee and pastry or fruit tart in the afternoon... that le petit dejeuner tradition... or a crepe or good waffle - not the vendor kind, either at home or in a cafe. Rice pudding (riz tartje) is another traditional dessert.

the dishes I'm talking about are really the "belgian kitchen" - i.e. cooked at home but also found in little restaurants - mussels are found in just about every restaurant. I didn't do much fine dining when I was there, but I know there are great restaurants in Brussels.

vol au vent is another dish that's all over the place. rabbit is very popular but I couldn't wrap my mind around eating thumper, horse meat (shhh, don't want a flame war) paard, is a deli meat. couldn't go there either.

I may have misspelled things here horribly. if so, het spijt me (sorry)

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Response to RainDog (Reply #38)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 10:21 AM

41. Brugge is definitely on the list for me to see!

I didn't know Leuven was so terrific so that is good to know.

I love the info on the food. I was in Holland last October and had some similar foods.

The trip I am envisioning will be on a small barge, which I did in Holland and it's not a bad way to go right into the middle of a town or city. The put down a little gangplank and voila, you are good to go!

Funny about Turkish food! We have a Turkish population in little West Haven with two Turkish restaurants, and their owner has been a student of mine in my ESOL classes! I love Turkish cuisine. It is tasty, fresh and nutritious.

Thanks for more info about museums. They are all on my list!

Thanks for all your input! It's so helpful...

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 03:18 AM

37. Really the Dutch drug policy is quite overrated for laxness

It's kind of a misconception that marijuana is legal there, because technically it isn't, it just sits in sort of a legal gray area with an agreement not to enforce laws against it under certain conditions which means various "coffeeshops" in Amsterdam can let people smoke openly. But this really isn't much different from many cities in the US. How often do people go to jail or even pay a fine for having a joint in San Francisco or Ann Arbor? Even in my city (Minneapolis) I bet one could probably walk up to a cop holding a lit joint and joke around without much trouble. On the other hand the Netherlands still has a pretty harsh policy toward harder drugs and the same type of mandatory minimum sentences like in the US. Any amount of cocaine beyond "personal use" grounds for example means at least 7 years in jail. However it's also worth comparing abuse of hard drugs in the Netherlands and other European countries to the US to see where it's more common...

If you want an example of a country with a lax drug policy, look at Portugal.

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #37)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:38 AM

39. I think the bigger issue is that prostitution, the policy of ignoring cannabis

and, in general, not thinking they can or should arrest their way out of various problems is the difference. you can also get mushrooms for sale and no one is arrested, etc. either.

the cannabis cup was raided recently b/c of the new right wing govt. but they didn't arrest anyone - that would not happen in most places, if any, here.

where I am, tho the attitude is relaxed among ppl - there's no way you won't get arrested if you fire up a reefer in front of a cop. I'm in a college town. Yes, Ann Arbor or San Fran - that's one thing - but don't try to fire one up in the south, either. state laws vary widely and are enforced differently - and often at the discretion of a cop. Both CA and MI have far, far more liberal policies toward mj than most of the country. that's just reality.

but in the Netherlands, you're not going to have that same attitude that you find in most places in the U.S.

I know about Portugal's experiment - and, yes, that's something else entirely.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 03:03 PM

42. Besides the Drug Policy

which is a big winner when it comes to lower crime rates, we also have a very, very strict gun policy. I know nobody who owns a gun. I think I would actually call some cops if I knew a friend had a gun.

Another thing is lax judges, favoring the shame-culture among second and third generation North African immigrants. That group is (in some cities) responsible for half of the crimes commited, but is rarely challenged by the law.

Then again, Dutchies get a pretty good (free) education, are taught manners (although nobody agrees on the Dutch having manners), are able to fend for themselves and speak at least two languages.

And now I'm off to a coffeeshop, to get my daily dose of weed - 7 euroes per gram.

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