By the 17th century, the Netherlands (particularly Amsterdam) was already a cultural melting pot.
They also had a particular distaste for being told what to do and decided they were going to print whatever damn books they felt like.
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Later they came up with their own replacement: the Blu-ray disc, in 2006. The Dutch are decidedly into IT, so it’s no surprise that there were Dutch scientists behind the world’s two most ubiquitous wireless local data-transfer technologies, invented in the ‘90s. They couldn’t have done it without the Australians and the Swedish.
Unfortunately, this format was born at the end of the physical-media age of entertainment. Did you know the artist of the impossible staircases was Dutch?
Here’s everything the world needs to thank the Dutch for: Dutch gadget giant Philips invented the cassette format (well, they called it the “compact cassette”) in 1962.
Thanks to the invention of Sony’s Walkman, a decade later, it became incredibly popular for a long, long time.
Eventually the cassette was replaced by the CD -- and yeah, Philips invented that too... Philips and Sony were working on the video side, too.
In 1969 they released a new state-of-the-art format for at-home movie watching: the Laser Disc.
There’s a museum dedicated to him in The Hague, and it’s as mind-bendingly trippy as you would expect. (And the existence of gin.) The word “booze” comes from Olde Dutch slang for “to drink heavily.” Other Dutch contributions to the English lexicon include hemp (duh), landscape, boss, yankee, spooky, cookie, coffee, cruise, quack, skate, and Santa Claus (to name a handful).
The world’s first legal same-sex marriage ceremony took place between four couples in Amsterdam at midnight on April 1st, 2001 and was presided over by the (very enthusiastic) Mayor Job Cohen himself.
The Dutch are an industrious bunch, and although there’s no possible way we could cover everything that the world’s tallest people have been up to over the past 400 years, we can give you the best-of list, right here.
Bookmark it for pocket reference the next time you’re trying to impress your lovely Dutch date.
Together, this not only spawned local free thinkers (most notably Baruch Spinoza), but also attracted top thinkers from neighboring countries, like France (René Descartes) and England (John Locke).