Weekly news magazine HP/De Tijd reports this week from the town of Genemuiden, in the centre of Holland’s bible belt. Almost three-quarters of the 10,000-strong population are regular church goers – most of whom walk in long lines to church twice every Sunday.
‘The women, without exception wear a below the knee skirt, a blouse and shoulder-length hair,’ writes the magazine. ‘Dark colours dominate. Only the compulsory hats show variety in colour and style. But jewellry, mascara and lipstick are taboo.’ It is a world ruled by the Word of God, the magazine says, a world where men are in charge in church, in politics and in the family. A closed world, where people feel safe. It is so strict, the magazine points out, that a 16-year-old boy was refused at place at a school, because his 18-year-old sister occasionally wore trousers and his parents did not object to moderate access to television and internet.