When you think of Holland, there are all sorts of images that come to mind; dams, canals, picturesque cities and windmills. During a Return to Order book signing event in Amsterdam, it provided a taste of Holland that lived up to the legend.
The November 29 event was held at Amsterdam’s St. Agnes’ Church in a crowded rectory meeting room. It was a cold rainy day which only added to the already overwhelming impression of water, which is found everywhere in the country. Although everyone understood English, it took some getting used to hearing Dutch spoken everywhere.
I was struck how well the subjects of Return to Order resonated with the Dutch people. They understood quite well both the problem of frenetic intemperance as well as the ideas about organic Christian society contained in the book. There was a long question-and-answer period with some extra time afterwards to chat and sign books. I found the Dutch people to be frank, outgoing and amiable. I also enjoyed talking with some reporters and writers that had very interesting perspectives on the present crisis.
Although I was unable to visit the beautiful downtown of Amsterdam, I saw plenty of canals. It was pleasant staying the night in the small village of Ede in Eastern Holland at the house of a friend. The next morning, I was treated to all sorts of Dutch breads. We visited the town center and a local market where one could still get an idea of many aspects of an organic society. The market was full of local and traditional foods and wares. All the merchants were so full of personality that speaking with them was half the value of the purchase!
Of course, there was a visit to an actual working windmill where an enthusiastic Dutchman gave us a tour of this amazing piece of medieval technology. It was easy to introduce themes from the book Return to Order into our conversation.
This short visit to Holland was an excellent opportunity to experience firsthand, many of the aspects of Christian organic society that still survive in our days. It also awakened hope since I sensed in the interest of those I met that the Christian ideals found in Return to Order have a future.