Eurovision leadership: proud to be Dutch

The Eurovision song contest has come to an end for 2021. It was hosted in Rotterdam, the largest industrial and harbour city in the Netherlands. The Rotterdam harbour is the largest in Europe. While everyone focussed on the songs and the controversy around the artists, artists having corona and if the winners used drugs, I was interested in something else: Leadership.

Davina Michelle – The Power of Water

Dutch leadership, is it a thing?

Recently I was watching David Attenborough’s A life on our planet, which is in itself another brilliant explanation from sir Attenborough on his view of his life of this planet. But while you view this, you’ll notice that there is quite some interests in Dutch leadership as well. So why are the Dutch becoming more and more famous for their leadership in certain area’s, I wonder?

Netflix: a life on our planet, by sir David Attenborough

In the videoclip on top of this article you’ll see Davina Michelle sing about the Dutch ongoing quest against water. Most of our country is below sealevel, and without a complex set of dykes, canals, mills, pumps, and even sea facing movable walls we’d be having wet feet quite often. Even our Rotterdam harbour, the host city for the Eurovision songfestival, has these walls in place to protect the harbour and the city. So we faced an issue, created a solution and build it. From the Dutch somewhat abstemious perspective it’s nothing more like that. Not only is the videoclip very pretty, it also shows our relationship to the rising water levels and how we cope with it. We touch it, embrace it and adapt to it. The last few decades with rising water levels we’re not only making our dykes and other measures higher, we’re also making the areas prone to flooding more flexible: let the water come in, take some land, and retract afterwards.

Second biggest food exporter

This is something hard to understand: one of the densed populated countries in the world, that is also very tiny, is the second largest exporter of food in the world, right after the US. Can you imagine those funny Dutch people be this productive on producing food as well? Well that’s where the Netflix documentary from sir David Attenborough came in: He used this as an example on how we could cope with world wide food shortages. Be like the Dutch. See a problem, find a solution and implement it. In this case it means making food production extremely efficient, with low water usage, limited usage of chemicals, modern vertical growth techniques and yes, also focus on plant based food.

Eurovision leadership

So where as the Netherlands are tiny and on the world scale of things not always very relevant, there is something to be proud about. If you are being seen as an example in the world in how you deal with complicated problems by finding and implementing solutions that are not only working, but also sustainable, you can definitely say you’ve acquired a leading position. From my perspective the secret is just embedded in our being: problems are challenges, that can be solved, and if not now, then soon. And when we solve them, our neighbour will adapt to that change and find an even better way.

During the Eurovision songfestival we did show our best and we should be proud on how our country and in specific the Rotterdam area was presented. We should also stay in the leadership role by not laying back and keep challenging the status quo and finding solutions.

The results count

Leadership is about what you do, and not so much about what you say. Another thing is that the dykes and seawalls are a government pushed development, the growth of food and becoming the second largest exporter of food hasn’t. It’s just Dutch farming adapting to shortages in space, water and the reluctance to keep using chemicals in the process of making food. So having the responsibility and the opportunity to find and implement solutions in the hands of the actual farmers, gave them ownership and the ability to become leaders in their field.

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