QUENTIN AND ANDREA:
WHY DID THE EDGE NOT HELP HOLLAND?
The expats Quentin and Andrea discuss the
effects of the global economic downturn on the Netherlands.
This conversation forms part
[Instalment 13] of the
document in Deze Taal, called
"Het randschrift op de
Nederlandse euro" (The motto on the edge of the Dutch euro).
Q is Quentin and A is Andrea*.
Gerrit Zalm was the Dutch Minister of Finance who introduced the 2-euro
coin with the motto GOD ZIJ MET ONS (God Be With Us) on the edge;
Wouter Bos is Zalm's successor and the Dutch Minister of Finance at the
moment the discussion takes place.
"Why the heck does Holland suffer from the credit crisis too?"
"Why not? It's a global economic downturn: the whole world suffers
from it, North America and Europe even more than Asia."
"But Holland put God Be With Us on the edge of every two-euro
coin, which none of the other countries did.
I'm sure, God must consider the Dutch more pious and worthy of protection
than any of the godless others!"
"Then, i fear, God doesn't exist in spite of all the Minister of
"Nonsense, Andrea, Zalm's and Bos's imploring is the very
reason why He does exist!
How could you pray to God, or put Him on your money, if He doesn't exist?"
"Quentin, that's a sophistic argument for the existence of God
which has already been disproved by rational philosophers ages
"Who cares about philosophers ages ago?
We're living in this day and age with tremendous problems they didn't have
"Oh, shit! Deo be with me."
"What do you mean?"
"I just stepped in Dutch dog dirt and could use some deodorant."
"Andrea, that's not the kind of problem i was thinking of!
Do you remember that Wouter Bos first told everyone who liked to hear it
that the financial turmoil in the United States would never hit this
country, because this country didn't have the American sort of capitalist
institutions, and this country enjoyed an adequate control system?
"Yes, as if it was yesterday."
"And, then, five days later the first Dutch or Belgian-Dutch banks
started to fold up, after which 'e had to cough up thousands of millions
of tax-payers' money to bail them out.
You think Mr Bos would be interested in your rational philosophers?"
"Well, i guess, Mr Bos looked at the edge of the Dutch two-euro coin
and was convinced that that made the Dutch financial market differ
entirely from the markets of other industrialized countries.
In a way the Minister was right, for no other European state spent
so much money on an edge.
And in Great Britain, of all places!
It's precisely because that country did not participate in the
introduction of the euro that it had enough capacity to finish the Dutch
It might have been an asset, if the Dutch Ministry of Finance had
been a little bit more rational without being hypocritical."
"Do you think that's why God was displeased; because of the Dutch
Ministry of Finance's hypocrisy?"
"If God exists, and takes Her position seriously, i can think of
several good reasons why She would be displeased with the Dutch
"First of all, to have Deo Be With Us printed on the dirtiest
piece of human civilization one can think of."
"Deo Be With Us?"
"To have God Be With Us printed on the dirtiest
piece of human civilization one can think of: a coin.
And half of it upside down at that!"
"Why the dirtiest?
It's the most important piece of civilization one can think of.
Where would we be without money, whether it be coins or bank
"Money is as important as you think it is, Quentin.
Of course, in our present society, where the expansion of culture keeps
pace with the reduction of nature, we need some of it to stay alive, but
there are enough things which are equally important, if not much more
"But you can't print God Be With Us on the edge of love, if only
because not everyone relishes the idea of a threesome.
You can't even print it on the edge of a breadknife,
alth ... you could print it on the middle of the blade, of course."
"I guess, God would be infinitely much more pleased with that, because
of the association with bread, and
thr bread any type of food human beings need to stay alive.
And also because a breadknife is a private tool which people may decide to
buy or not to buy.
In this way it's not foisted down people's throats by a government that
has no respect for its citizens' diverse wishes and ideals."
"So, you think God would rather be on breadknives than on coins or
"I'm sure, especially since the nazi-SS never entertained the same
They had their Gott Mit Uns on their buckles, you know."
"But you think that's the main reason why God didn't help Holland, why
God didn't prevent Holland from getting involved in the crisis?"
"No, if She exists at all, and if She makes use of moral
considerations, Her first reason for not helping the Netherlands in
particular would be, i think, that the Netherlands has not been one jot
better than the rest.
Also here you had the greedy kleptocrats, with the bonus bankers in the
front line, who claimed at least the same salaries and extras as in Great
Britain and the United States.
At the same time the Dutch government asked simple workers like you and i
to compare their wages to those in India and China."
"Who needs the motto of such people?"
"Yeah, Who needs the motto of such people."
Andrea's name is pronounced as
|AEN-dree-a|, with stress on
the first syllable. The first-person singular pronoun is i, not
I, as Quentin and Andrea do not consider themselves Supreme
Beings or anything else of that Ilk. The third-person singular
pronoun used is 'e, with 'im, objective case, and
'er, possessive pronoun.