Bert WagendorpJune 23, 202219:04

    If one thing became clear on Wednesday, it was that this country is far too small for massive farmer protests. The capacity of the highways was largely insufficient for the tens of thousands of tractors carrying the farmers to Stroe, and Stroe himself could barely handle the flow of angry farmers. According to Gert-Jan Segers of the ChristenUnie, we are heading for a civil war, but those are also big words for which this country is too small.

    Almost all problems in the Netherlands are related to a lack of space. The farmers occupy half of the available land; that is possible in a country like France, where they have plenty of space, but not in the Netherlands, where 517 people per square kilometer have to live, work and recreate. At a certain point this fact had to clash with the interests of the farmers – and that ‘certain moment’ is now.

    The farmer has done an excellent job of his PR. He is the lonesome cowboy who fights against the meddling government, the last bastion against the advancing urban dominance, of which D66 is the symbol. The farmer is regarded as the guardian of the countryside, although this has changed greatly in recent decades, partly due to his actions. The growing support for farmers shows that the Netherlands is still a farmers’ republic in spirit. Thumbs up on Thursday as the farm soldiers passed on their tractor tanks, as if heading for the front to teach the enemy a lesson.

    The influence of the farmer is growing in parliament, although all farmers together are not yet good for one seat. The CDA is traditionally a slack farmer’s lobby party, the VVD is in principle pro-farmer because they are SMEs, even the CU sees the farmer as the pre-eminent guardian of God’s creation. For the SGP and the false prophet Roelof Bisschop, the farmer is God. And then there is the small right, which has devoted itself to pampering the farmer, with Caroline van der Plas (BBB) ​​in the lead. For the time being, she is winning six seats in the polls: the farmer is politically lucrative. On a photo from Stroe I also saw Joost Eerdmans, the foreman of JA21, who until recently thought that the jack is an important trump card.

    The enormous importance of the farmer for the Dutch economy, his crucial importance for the food supply: all bullshit that has now been punctured. So the farmers and their champions are falling back to the last lines of defence: it’s Europe’s fault, it’s a ‘self-created problem’ – there isn’t even a nitrogen crisis at all.

    But the traditional farmer is engaged in a rearguard action. It’s been longer than you thought possible; the fact that the Netherlands is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world after the US. It is finally dawning that this is absurd and that we pay a high price for it. The Netherlands is not a country, but a polluted metropolis by the sea with a major shortage of space. A metropolis that offers one of the largest airports in Europe in the middle of the city – another gossip.

    Fortunately, there are also farmers who realize that the profession has come to a dead end and who choose a different path. All yellers would do well to shift their support and opt for a different course. Even if this would be at the expense of the agro-industrial complex that is still pulling the strings and that the tractor heroes and their advocates in the House are pulling out of flat self-interest.