Posts Tagged business

Dutch Capitalism – not always very capitalistic

A Chinese colleague of mine once claimed that Maoism (a form of communism) is better implemented in the Netherlands than China. I don’t know enough about Maoism to be able to argue for or against this, but sometimes the Dutch system of capitalism is very anti-capitalistic. Take, for instance, a practice known as “koopzondagen”.

These are Sundays on which shops open for business. Until recently I just thought shops chose to be closed on Sundays, except for the koopzondagen. In Amsterdam this appears to be the case. But it is not so in the rest of the country. Local governments (or municipalities – I am not sure which) have the power to regulate whether shops can open on Sundays or not. Thus it is that in Tilburg there have been shops opening on Sundays despite this not being allowed (after some debate it has been decided to allow them to open).

I could hardly believe it when I heard this. Why would you not allow shops to open on Sundays? If you are of certain (dogmatic) religious bent you could argue that it respects the Sabbath. But Dutch people are not. Perhaps it is a legacy of the Dutch religious past that they have not done away with yet.

A country that values the freedoms of its people and its economy (as the Dutch do) cannot allow such a nonsensical system to continue. There are many consumers that would  like to shop on Sundays, many shops that would like the freedom to open on Sundays and many people willing to work on Sundays. Everybody benefits. Many shops may choose to stay closed on Sundays and this is fine. But it should be their choice.

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