Most work days begin with a bike ride or a trip on public transportation to work,
which for many people begins at about 8:30 am and ends at about 5:00 pm. Like work,
most schools also have standard hours, but each school sets their own hours, which
often times run from about late August to mid-June as days generally begin at about
8:30 am and end at about 3:30 pm, often times with an hour or two in the middle
for lunch. Oddly, there are a huge number of schools that are affiliated with a
religion, despite the fact that few of the Dutch of overtly religious.
How the Dutch tend to spend their evenings and weekends (Saturday-Sunday) is highly
individualized as some people prefer staying in, others want to go for a bike ride,
and others may head into town for some night life, or out of town for an escape
from the city.
The way the people of the Netherlands identify is being
put to the test today. The people have always been open to change and have taken
particular pride in their acceptance of others, but in recent years this has led
to large immigration and today about 20% of the population is not ethnically Dutch.
The arrival of these new immigrants, along with urbanization, have altered the lifestyle
and many historic traditions of the people, making some shift their identity of
being a citizen of the Netherlands to being "Dutch," which is ethnically,
not politically, defined.
However, even before this immigration rose and urbanization began, the people have
never truly known how to identify as the country is divided ethnically and culturally
in so many ways; perhaps this is why they first began identifying with their nation
over their ethnicity hundreds of years ago. But even in the past, the people have
never accepted, nor have they ever promoted a strong government, rather they only
saw their nation as being a symbol of each individual's personal beliefs and
thoughts. In many ways, both past and present, the people have first identified
as being citizens of their country, but what their country is and what it stands
for tends to be different for every individual so this general identity is also
defined differently for each individual.