Greg Shapiro: When Hurricane Sandy Meets The Lowlands

What would the Netherlands look like if it was hit by Hurricane Sandy, wonders Greg Shapiro.

After watching the devastation of Hurricane Sandy on America’s biggest city, I have to wonder ‘What happens when that storm hits the Netherlands?’ Will climate change force a Category 5 hurricane onto the low lands? What would that feel like?

The good news is – to imagine a hurricane’s aftermath – all you have to do is look at any major Dutch city. They all look like they’ve been hit by a hurricane already. It’s called Hurricane Bad Government.

If you want to feel like your city is recovering from massive infrastructure damage, just visit any Dutch train station: Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam are all undergoing massive reconstruction at the same time. And Den Haag Central Station feels like it’s been hit by a hurricane, an earthquake and Godzilla thrown in.

When the Americans refer to Europe as ‘socialism at its worst,’ I sometimes think they have a point. There seems to be an enormous, government-sponsored make-work program for every street in the country. I call them ‘The Brick Flippers.’ More than once, I have seen a street ripped up, put back together, and then ripped up again a few months later. Why? ‘We have to be fair to both sides of the brick.’

Amsterdam in particular has been hard hit by Hurricane Bad Government. For 10 years now the hurricane has taken out everything from Central Station to the Rijksmuseum in a pattern we call The North-South Line. Amsterdam is literally taking all its money and throwing it into a gigantic hole in the ground. The Netherlands: a nice country, if they ever finish it.

If you’re like me, you’re constantly aware of the fact that we’re living under sea level. And you can’t help but wonder what would happen if we get hit by ‘The Big One.’ Luckily, it seems we’ve been having practice for years.


Follow Greg Shapiro’s thoughts on the US presidential election via his vlog.

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