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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

Waiting for a Change — The Netherlands

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

180 days ago, the first COVID-19 victim in the Netherlands was a fact. What can change in half a year you think? Well, it turned out to be a lot. It became a year of disaster with changes in your normal life rhythm. At least that’s what happened in most of the world, except for the Netherlands.

While every country in Europe got into a complete lockdown, we did nothing. The government responded too late and almost made fun of the virus. Yes, we also changed some things and yes, our lives changed, but the big changes were still not here. It all started with a ban of handshakes, nothing else. So as expected, the confirmed cases and deaths kept rising. We had to do something. The government invented a “smart lockdown," a lockdown based on trust. I would say it was more like advice, and that’s how the people reacted to it. The schools closed and every teenager went out to see their friends. And that’s the first moment with real measures. The whole catering industry shut down and so did the entertainment industry. They closed retirement homes and families were separated for months. But wasn’t it too late? No, it wasn’t, the confirmed cases went down, almost to zero.

It was really good looking for the Netherlands: they were controlling the virus and we were ready to resume life. They canceled the measures and it went back to trust as they trusted that people would act smart. But the dutch population is too stubborn, they always know better. Summer came and people got out to the beaches, parks, and restaurants like nothing happened. Pictures of the dutch beaches went viral in multiple countries of Europe just because of the amount of people close to each other. The cases went up again, almost as bad as it used to be. Now it's time for a real change, but I’m afraid it will not happen here!

— Ante Willemsen, 19

Valburg, The Netherlands


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