A contribution from our columnist Herman Slurink.
When a small group of screaming and fanatics managed to stop the speakers at the stations from sounding ‘dear ladies and gentlemen’ but ‘dear travelers’, no one is sure to say the wrong thing. From Negro kisses to Jewish cake, from a standard joke on a platter to a look at a woman / man / person, everything has become life-threatening, and we have now created so many laws that it is an art to get through the day without injury.
How this awake culture has already penetrated into the deepest fibers, I realized last night in the garden while weeding. ‘It’s full of miets’n again’ I shouted to the neighbor and suddenly rang an alarm bell. Miets’n… .miet… is it still possible? Nothing ‘n’ seems safer, you never know if a drone with eavesdropping equipment is hanging over your head. Moreover, the name ‘nothing’ is also symbolic, you can not see them, but they stick, one thinks.
It would have been close if Tugboat Days 2022 had not taken place. After the previous edition was canceled due to the threat from the invisible virus that disrupted an entire community, the nitrogen devil now emerged from the box.
Contrary to popular belief, the Netherlands as a whole does not have a nitrogen problem, it is a farce of the highest quality and of its own manufacture. All this fuss is about a number of ‘Natura 2000’ areas, which according to a number of researchers are ‘overburdened’. To get an impression of the seriousness of the case, these are only two major areas such as the Veluwe and the North Sea dunes. The rest are areas of only a few hundred hectares, which is therefore no larger than a stamp in a country that is already the size of a stamp on a global level. In addition, we have been stuck with a government for ten years that wants to be a ‘leader’ in everything on a global level, but which is not yet able to compensate a foster parent. Pride precedes autumn.
That the Netherlands has a nitrogen problem and the rest of Europe does not have everything to do with population density. However, the EU makes no demands for nitrogen deposition, the Netherlands actually does. We are only obliged to comply with the Habitats Directive (see Google) which states that we must strive for a ‘favorable conservation status’ in the Natura 2000 areas and there is not even a deadline for this.
If you dive deeper into this problem, you will find that nitrogen is merely a virtual representation of models and graphs. While the flowers and plants in the meadows yearn for nitrogen, we in our country are ‘blessed’ with a group of ecologists obsessed with ‘poor nature’ such as heath and peat. Behind their desks, they calculate “a little more here, a little less there” the nitrogen model with accounting precision. And like the few crazy workers, this group of nitrogen fanatics can get it done to kill the most beautiful folk festivals and thereby disrupt social life even more.
Anyone who lives near such a virtual area as a farmer knows all about it and may fear for his future. The word ‘expropriate’ is increasingly being used in politics without closing an eyelid.
As for the tugboat days, the municipality and the province were sympathetic, but … Zwartsluis is located on the edge of a Natura 2000 site, and therefore the organization had to submit a calculation of the nitrogen emissions during the tugboat days to the state (!). It is, of course, impossible, and therefore the event was in danger of not getting underway. Astonishment everywhere among the Sluzigs, the skippers, the restaurant industry and the merchants who barely survived the corona crisis.
The fact that the event is still going on evokes all the praise and admiration for the organization, which with perseverance managed to win the event by pulling and pushing.
I can not escape the impression that many meetings and a strong piece of creative accounting have gone before, and curious as I am, I asked the ministry for the WOB documents for review, and the weight fell off my eyes.
To compensate for the nitrogen emissions of a few hundred diesel engines, the government came up with a number of proposals, of which I will mention a few. I expect the reader to realize that this is a column and that I personally need to give substance to the black-striped passages.
A small selection of the required information:
* The organization is obliged to designate a place of approx. 20 km. distance from Zwartsluis to the north, south, west and east, where the tugs that come from far away can be assembled. At this point, the engines stop. There is one climate-neutral state tugboat on site, which will tow all tugs present in a column to the port of Zwartsluis, where you can moor in peace and quiet.
* The organization is obliged to make the following recommendations known to the people of Zwartsluis by means of publication in the local Nieuwsblad and Advertisement magazine and via the digital newspaper ‘Zwartsluis Actueel’.
Advice for Sluzigers
The population is advised against eating onions, leeks or other intestinal gas stimulants in the days before the event. The profit calculated on this basis results in the addition of two additional tugs.
People are encouraged not to travel by moped, car or motorboat these days unless they are electrically powered. People who are smaller but still mobile are also encouraged to act consciously during the event and not to buy more than the walker or scooter can carry. This is to prevent a motorized vehicle from still being used. The smaller motorboats can visit the event, but must be driven by rowing or paddling. The organization has found a couple of tugs that are willing to tow a maximum of 10 boats at the same time once an hour along the event for free.
Farmers in the region are encouraged to remove cows and small animals from grazing during the event and put them in stables. The discharge of the plasters can take place as usual in the winter time. These are the areas within the Meppel-Giethoorn-Vollenhove-Hasselt district.
The population, and especially the catering guests, are urged to moderate their alcohol consumption and not suddenly strike back the filled glasses. Research has shown that 100 farmers release an amount of nitrogen in 15 minutes that is comparable to the emission from a pusher moving a raft of Kolksluuszangers in headwinds.
In connection with point 1 regarding the problem of onions and leeks, the catering industry has been called during the event to remove the so-called ‘french fries’ and ‘Frikandel special’ from the menu list. Only the onions must not be added to the ‘Hamburgersandwichen’.
* The organization of ‘Night of Zwartsluis’ is requested to cancel reservations of noisy and thirsty music performances. The government advises a violinist for the main stage in the square in front of the Albatross, possibly accompanied by a piano. To the space around café de Blizzard, a meditative musical interpretation of a group of monks from the Himalayas that allows for gender-neutral nude swimming in Kolksluis. The tea is served for free. At Vollenhoofsche Poort, former Minister Henk Bleeker, the man behind PFAS, can give a lecture in defense of what he has unleashed.
† The organization is requested to ask the local sports associations not to arrange activities such as competition and / or cup competitions or tournaments during the event ……… blah blah blah and so much more up to 30 points.
Therefore: Once again the hat off and thank you for the organization with their perseverance and perseverance. An achievement has been delivered. We all rejoice and hope during the Ascension of Christ for a true folk festival of unity, brotherhood and above all humor and reflection, which we were used to during the previous editions as well as at the time of this madness.
Published by Robert Jansema