Do you want to understand the European Union? First ask: WHY is Amsterdam the capital of the Netherlands?
Hooray for Amsterdam! It’s host city of the EU Presidency – for the same reason it’s the capital of the Netherlands. No good reason at all.
These days Europe has a bad reputation for being complex and wasteful. There’s 2 of everything!
There’s a European Commission, but also a European Council.
There’s a European Parliament in Brussels – but it’s also in Strasbourg.
And the Dutch government is in the Hague, but the capital is Amsterdam.
Q – SO. Why is Amsterdam the capital?
A – Because it’s got a palace.
Q – Is the Netherlands a ruled by a monarchy?
A – No! It’s a Constitutional monarchy.
Q – So where’s the parliament?
A – In The Hague.
Q – Where are the embassies & ministries?
A – In the Hague.
Q – All of them?
A – No. One is in Zoetermeer.
Q – Where’s that?
A – It’s a shitty suburb of the Hague.
Q – So why is the ‘capital’ in Amsterdam?
A – No one knows. We asked Dutch people why Amsterdam is the capital, and the answers ranged from ‘The King wanted it’ and ‘I have no idea.
A – Maybe it’s because it’s just practical. When the Dutch built a high-speed train line direct to Brussels, it deliberately bypassed the Hague.
Q- Is it fast?
A- No! After building the train line, the Dutch train service never got off the ground. Or more specifically INTO the ground! The cheaply made trains went into the tunnels and never again came out again.
Q – Any plan to start it up again?
A – Sure! Just as soon as Amsterdam finishes its North South metro line.
Q – When will that be ready?
A – 2010!
Q – So the Dutch have no direct rail link to Brussels?
A – Actually, yes. There is now a direct line to The Hague.
Q – Which is not the capital?
A – No, but Dutch rail provides it because that’s where all the politics happens.
Q – So why is the EU Presidency in Amsterdam?
A – Because Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands.
Q – That makes no sense!
A – AND NOW YOU UNDERSTAND EUROPE.