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HOLLAND IN WAR TIME

[By T. Emtrvt ELutvrv, f?» tie* ’Nation.’] ‘‘ Oh ! if you could only let them iwsrc l in England what tin,: neutrality means for us in Hollandl sh UJ not easily forget the look of intense anxiety with which my Hutch friend spoke. Lino most Englishmen, 1 had fancied Hoilau.d fortunate in her lot, at peace, and able to go about her business. v/JiiLt her bigger neighbors were doing their best to ■„ tttroy each ether. But even a few diva had ehown me how wrong 1 had been Trom t-fte train you could .w little ■croupt. *<f soldiirs bivouacking in the field by the roadside; the timetable had been unit by mobilisation; even the hotel omnibus was commandeered for military uses. Blr.ca ded on the walls were the notices of tiro National Relief Committee, which offere. help to those who have lost their work through the warsome, 45,000 of these there are in Rotterdam alone —and in all tha towns there are branches c- the committee to meet the need. In fhe Dutch East Indies, goods, they ea-y, are piled on the wharves, but cannot be shipped; the Dutch ships on the water are being turned aside into French or English ports, and corn and coal, which is urgently needed in Holland itself, sxe held up for fear they should bo sent on to Germany. The Dutch army has been mobilised since the outset of the war - , and this involves a constant drain upon the national resources, while the financial confusion at first was so great that in Amsterdam and other largo towns paper money, available for a limited period, was issued in place of crowns and rlorins, and in one instance even to supply a temporary shortage in the small currency. Yet, in the midst of the grave commercial depression, the gene-rous-hearted people of Holland are giving time and money liberally, not only to the National Relief Committee, but to* aid the fugitive Belgians who are constantly crossing their borders,. Holland has been stirred to its depths by the sufferings of its neighbors; thousands of Dutch homes have opened their doors i o receive sometimes a whole family, sometimes a woman or a child into their midst. The Central Committee in Amsterdam has established an admirable organisation, with branches or corresponding committees in various parts oi _Holland, and has a largo warehouse well filled with clothing, which is sorted cut as it is sent in hr the donors, by the aid oi n band oi a ole women workers. Host* and guests are carefully classified, card-index and deader for each insuring c gainst mistakes in assortment. But though such care w taken to secure the righto o: Catholic. Protestant, and Jew, there- are occasional difficulties, as when a, party of men whore Catholicism was somewhat negative in character found themselves expected, ss the guests of a convent, to he present daily at early mars and at vespers, end to stand up for a solemn iji.iyci before every meal, while the litersV.sent thorn rvas carefully scanned by their good hosts to prevent any danger to faith coming before their ore. s. The Nctheibend Government Itself i>

peting as hoft to & large number of tb© poorest Belgian refugees. Some 1,200 of

these arcs not housed at Oldebroek, near Zwolle, on a heat her-covered ridge, where in peaceful times the Dutch army has it* artillery training school. Hither refugees who caruat h© at once received into homes nr* sent from the frontier towns. Ik is not for nothing that the camp is so far from tho frontier ; the temptation to slip hsck across th© hordes- at night, in order to avenge homselver on the invad ©rs, wa* too great for some of tit© mea of Visa, Tt, in is necessary to eaiesuard the neutral* ity of Holland by removing this constant source of danger and irritation along the frontier. Even as it is, the excitement on the borders of Belgium is so great that' the troops have In be moved inland at frequeat intervals and replaced bv fresh detachments. Ih-tt-e calm Dutch lads get maddene-d by the Codes they hear from fleeing refugees, and long to he fighting 100. And behind the burden of aimed preparation for war, which lies so heavily upon the whole people, there i* tho weight ot -dread lest, arter all, they should b© cirr.rgcd in. " And tho worst of it Ml is," at; oao said to me. “wo'do not yet know

whom wo irr’-.-t. right. Whichever side violates Dutch • emtory must bring u» in. against, them, whater:r happens to us.” They do not leek forward cheerfully to the struggle, but calmly and doggedly they have been preparing lor the worst, The water defences aro ready, and. in three lieu re’ tints great, belts of country round Amsterdam tan be placed under vattf I and me do inip.-i.se a hie for artillery. “If I wo have to fichl we will drown friend and fee alike ; w.; will let in the sea w*ter, though tnc land tpoilt for forty years.” It. vh a little reserve lioatenant who said tivi word?. Ee Lad been lamenting the horrors of the v/ar, the burden and hardshij> to his own iit:lu militarism and aristocracy, and just wanted hie country to bo left alone. "We may be wij.o-d out, but v.o shall light," another <pnet!y said. XL? ivaponsa to the mobili-.'■ati-ii! order* snowed how rsr.dy the peaceful nation, was, Oji of 26,000 men m the U-.rt-rht district ail but five were at their ph,.,-: i>. eight hours the whole mofcilisa.liori !tan enwcuid. /Phey have no «nJiition nut to c-.’«rd tiioir own national life end iud / 'pcndc;,oe, hut no one can doubt r.r,v nearly tiiv.y cherish that possession. lu fO!n;- dj.iriits. especially round Utio'-Lt, hr.ac.i6 have been pulled down to p.-'iUre for certain military exigencies, jii-ro and there you ran soo lino trees cut ,-i,,-.n; tfi-'v dei-e not wait to do it till it micht bo- too late. In a long motor ride of some- cU utiies I noticed that practically :.;1 the crossbars of the signpost* had been remove''., tee poles being ieit still standing 'lL'.cv veto taken away, I was told, iu a iw nigh'., as a precoution against Li J.Vl*' hlw- il. Tho Gvitiun Pi •• ijraise the loyal neur trinity fi: Jfaiiand. though, as an Aroster--6: :n 'in; w paper n-ccntiy pointed out, it -.va? luL t;;v virtue which led to the

jjiuic;: n:. Belgium ; but it is very hard, l ;t- r :<.[}. yireservo tl.i-i Moutrality iu tiie i::w- of mod;, ,-ii war method' l . There was mb Ki;’ : .tonxiit. : the beginning of this • -i: over jiicident at- Imuaioji. Thexo iia-i b«‘U a soa.'-.bbic, tin* authorities said, 7, ecu certain Dutch and Gorman sailors. Jt -aa-, noticed ta' th- men of a strange nr.vl-v-an-ived triwler v.alkod with a ci-i-iouslv c-00. m-d miflsherlike bearing, ;-.Lo that th*y i>-.a-;b:i*ed cigarettes at ft price no: fo fishermen ; the authorities were fnveslisrLi-ir the case, but minehivmg j-- i ‘.* an offence with v.-liich thev boften had to deal, and o’ihlie opinion would be quicker m giving It- it:dx -n t. ou; t* *. ii: i e the* difficnltios' ~--ir.c fre-n the other side. The Queen of the I’.c:gi.in-s sails for England down tho D T-h lera of the Scheldt with two ad-inU-.ra.c in uniform accompanying her. Promptly <y*mo« the complaint from Germany fi-tt Dutch neutrality lias been vioI?.t«d. Meanwhile ugly rumors are spread «f England’* desire to seize the Dutch East Indies, or of the ambitions of Japan. Tlitfo suggestions disquieten rather than cervine'. ir.it they need diasipotini. Happily, th'* free constitution of -South Africa hra dorr; more than anything cl.se to re-

move distrust of EnsUixTs inte Aionfei, Wo have now no British Alsace-Lorraine. Rumors .spread. ;rr .• languishes, but the Hollanders axe not idle; they have quietly taken their own measures cf de-w-uca; their Red Cross units are organised the border, and their surgeons tend the wounded of ,vuh sid*' in the frontier towns; volunteers mar. the relief ctwe-miib-cs for their own ui n.ployed, ethers are giving help to non-oowbatonte th dietress, regardless of their nationality’s some at- tlie peril of istx lives have ■crossed over into the stricken districts of , Belgium to give .ielp to tine sufferers there. It is ad done cjnfr.tly. without parade, with no relist wo upon ** dlsttosruiebed patronecr,” and the pam'ncr stranger who *s allowed to got a glimpse of if will not easily forget the generrsitv and kindness of the hospitable Dutch nature In a time of great stress.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141114.2.10

Bibliographic details

HOLLAND IN WAR TIME, Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

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1,421

HOLLAND IN WAR TIME Evening Star, Issue 15650, 14 November 1914

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