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For the past few weeks at home we have been watching with fascination the well-made TV series ‘Het verhaal van Nederland’ (The Story of the Netherlands). “How will they look at us in a few hundred years? Surely this time will be an episode too,’ said our 11-year-old, who was born with a great awareness of history.

Modern historiography kicked up a fuss this past week – at least in a more official form – with a report from the Dutch Safety Board, where the executioner Jeroen Dijsselbloem lashed out vehemently at former corona minister Hugo de Jonge. The former minister of health had apparently already voiced his opposition to the draft report, which does not bode well for the continuation of his career at the Ministry of Housing. After all, next year the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the corona pandemic will begin, and over the course of that inquiry, heads are bound to roll. Making mistakes is not such a bad thing, and is something that is bound to happen as we already tell our trainees – provided that you don’t make the same mistakes over and over again and are prepared to learn from them.

Back to the history series: What would the consequences of storm Eunice have been if we had not learned from our past experiences? What if we had not agreed in 1363 that we would all help to build dikes from then on? Then an epic storm like Eunice would undoubtedly have done much more damage.

Couldn’t we agree on something like that for corona in the future? I’m already looking forward to that episode of Het verhaal van Nederland!

Incidentally, the Netherlands was far from the only country to flop during the corona crisis. Jelmer Visser sums them up nicely for you in his instalment of Corona in Europe this week.

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