Kaoo band Unique Rabobank Calendar General Managers go sailing in Friesland THE NETHERLANDS Dutch agriculture Water control and land reclamation Across the Dutch borders Since 1973 Rabobank each year issues a typical Dutch photo calendar in the Netherlands. In 1988 1.6 mil- lion copies of this calendar were distributed. This means that in 30% of Dutch house- holds a Rabobank calendar is hanging somewhere on the wall. No other calendar is dis tributed in such large numbers in the Netherlands. The theme chosen for 1989 is 'Homelife in the Netherlands'. To a Dutchman his home is very im portant, on which he is pre- pared to spend a great deal of effort and money. He is con- stantly tinkering in it, improv- ing it, rebuilding it. The Nether lands is a home-loving country. This characteristic is ex- pressed in thirteen magnifi- cent photographs. In the first week of June, the third General Managers Conference was held at Utrecht. All the managers of our foreign branches and the ADCA-BANK were present. At the meeting there were lively discussions about the future of Rabobank and the contribu- tion expected from our foreign offices in this respect. In addi- tion, due consideration was given to the aspect ot the joint development of the business of the offices and the organi- sation in the Netherlands. It was clear to the participants that Rabobank is still very much a Dutch bank. To stress this point the International Division organised a sailing trip in traditional Dutch barges for the managers on The population density, the high price of land and techno- logical advances are factors which have led to the intensive cultivation of agricultural and horticultural produce in the Netherlands. Nearly 70% of the land is under cultivation, 59% of it grassland, 35% arable land and 6% horticultur al land. In the years after the Second World War the country experienced unprecedented economie growth, which was parallelled in agriculture and horticulture. Specialisation be- came the order of the day; erop growing was stepped up and mechanisation made rapid advances. For operations to be profitable, however, the num- ber of farms and businesses and the labour force had to be reduced. The European Eco nomie Community's agricultur al policy was aiming at the same structural approach. As a result of rationalisation and increases of scale, the num- ber of people working in agri culture has dropped by more than half and now constitutes a mere 6% of the working population. At the same time there has been a dramatic in- crease in agricultural produc tion. The success of Dutch agriculture is in no small measure due to the skills and knowledge of its farmers and market gardeners, who are backed up and kept up-to-date by schools and colleges at all levels. Issue 2/September 23, 1988 the Sunday before the meeting. Sailing in Friesland - in the north of the country - means sailing in the centre of the area where the bulk of Dutch milk is produced. It becomes a fascinating experience, for alongside the small canals which link the lakes, cows stand placidly gazing at mankind afloat. The barges were formerly used for fishing in the shallow waters of Fries land and the Zuyderzee. On this occasion the General Managers sailed on one of the Frisian lakes, the Fluessen. Al- though the average depth of this lake is only 6 feet, it is nevertheless famous for its dangerous waves. Dutch barges are very well suited for sailing in shallow waters, but have difficulties with high waves. On that particular Sun day afternoon a sudden gale forced the General Managers to do their utmost to stay afloat. More than half the Nether lands lies below the water lev els of the sea and rivers, so a sound system of water control is necessary in order to keep the land dry and inhabitable. The importance of this is clear when one considers that 60% of the population live in the low-lying parts. Dunes and dikes protect these areas against water, both seawater which can enter the land through estuaries and inlets in the coastline and by infiltra- tion, and the water that is brought in by the rivers, plus the groundwater and rain. Nu- merous modern pumping sta tions work day and night to drain off the excess water. The last occasion on which the sea made major inroads into the land was on 1 February 1953 when large areas in the south-western part of the country were inundated. This disaster, which cost 1,835 people their lives, brought home how vital it was to carry out the Delta project for clos- ing off the estuaries in the south-west. All these estuaries have now been closed, with the exception of the New Wa- terway and the Western Scheldt, which have to remain open for shipping to Rotter dam and Antwerp, respective- ly. The Eastern Scheldt is closed by a storm surge bar- rier, 3,200 metres long, con- sisting of piers between which hang 62 steel gates. Under normal conditions the gates are open to permit tidal move- ment in and out of the Eastern Scheldt; in stormy weather they will be lowered to protect the estuary from the turbu- lence of the sea. This method of closure was chosen in order to conserve the shellfish in the Eastern Scheldt which are dependent on tidal flow. The engineers working on the Delta Project were able to draw on the experience gained at the beginning of the 1930's when the Zuyderzee was closed. This entailed the construction of a 30 kilometre-long dam, known as the Barrier Dam. This trans- formed the Zuyderzee into an inland lake, which gradually be- came a freshwater lake as the water supplied by the rivers could no longer run out into the open sea. Once enclosed, the inland sea became known as the IJsselmeer and work began on draining enormous polders, four of which have already been completed and represent a to- tal gain of 165,000 hectares (407,000 acres). The Netherlands is a small country. Beyond its borders you can only hear the Dutch language spoken in the north- ern part of Belgium. As a re sult the Dutch are quite used to having to communicate in various languages. At school they are taught English, Ger- man and French. They travel a lot, too, both for business and for pleasure. When abroad they consider it important to adapt themselves as much as possible to the customs of the country they are visiting. To help its business relations Rabobank has issued a book- let entitled: 'Nederland over de grens' (Across the Dutch borders). In alphabetical order it gives a description of 107 different countries. It contains customs regulations, useful addresses, economie data, lo- cal holidays, city maps, etc, etc. Much attention is also given to the commercial code of conduct. All in all, a vital aid' for the Dutch businessman.

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'Raboband International' (EN) | 1988 | | pagina 6