While researching a book on ‘Why the Dutch are Different’, Ben Coates realised that an amazingly large number of the things which an outsider might think of as ‘typically Dutch’ could be explained at least in part by a single factor: water.
Cultural, political and economic patterns of a region are heavily influenced by the environmental settings. Occasionally though, geographers can get overly-cautious when discussing how the environment can shape culture, worried about straying into realm of environmental determinism. However, environmental factors can profoundly influence cultural attributes. This article shows how Dutch cultural attributes such as diet, history, politics and landscape are influenced by their maritime physical setting.