The Netherlands, rich in history, largely progressive and pragmatic, is certainly one of the "greatest nations" of the world.
I realized that the first time I was here in 1984.
And along with other subsequent travels, it's clear to me that our world is rich with "greatness" ... beauty and culture, music and politics, science and industry.
If cheese and bread, sausage and beer were the ultimate values, then maybe Germany might be the greatest. But so would be the Netherlands ... had some bread here the other day that will likely be served in heaven, along with Dutch Butter.
Or maybe skating? Then, again, maybe herring and tulips! Go Orange!
And then there's public transit and rail travel.
I keep trying to figure out why "greatest nation" status is so important to so many Americans. Strikes me as both ignorance and its cousin, insecurity. Constant yelping about "greatest" seems, at best, to indicate immaturity of character.
Sure, America is huge, size wise and population wise ... we have a huge economy with our military-octopus wrapped around the world. We consume like mad, gobbling up everything we can.
The United States is about 237 times bigger than Netherlands. The population of Netherlands is 17 million people (307 million more people live in United States).
America has a fascinating history, too ... but hardly worthy of "greatest nation" status.
Our cultural contributions are mostly pop in nature, which is just fine. But it hardly merits "greatest of all" status. Our scientific endeavors are enormous, but certainly not without predecessors in other nations.
What does "greatest" really mean?
I have no idea!
But this I know: the Netherlands is a great nation!