Today’s news:
July 14, 2009 / The Breukelen Paper / Perspective / Editorial

Our editorial board speaks: Save Breukelen now!

The Brooklyn Paper

Our trip to Breukelen started out as a simple attempt to reconnect with the Dutch town that gave Brooklyn its name, its tolerant values and its democratic traditions.

But then we discovered the terrifying news: Breukelen is about to be merged — under orders from the Dutch government itself — with two neighboring towns. The new town would have an entirely different, non-Breukelen, name.

And Breukelen Mayor Ger Mik is powerless to stop it.

Now, this newspaper has long avoided the temptation to inject itself into international issues, but the dissolution of Breukelen’s independent government is not merely an issue of local Dutch politics. It is an international outrage that will not stand.

Make no mistake, we have admired Mayor Mik’s steady hand overseeing Breukelen during past crises — the Centrum expansion project or the debate over construction of a second bridge over the River Vecht, for example. He is a leader of true integrity and probity, an incorruptible force of good and a model for a leader who knows how to bring all interested parties to the table — a table that they will all leave with an agreement that all can accept.

But on the issue of Breukelen’s dissolution, we can be silent no longer. Mik needs to set aside his duty — the dismantling of his town — and take on his government.

Don’t quote us Dutch administrative codes about how Mik serves as the employee of the town council of Breukelen and, as such, can’t buck the system that hired him — we’ve read the relevant sections. We’ve simply chosen to ignore them.

It may indeed be the Dutch way to accept a compromise and do one’s duty in Queen Beatrix’s Holland. But, unlike Mik, we answer to a higher authority than the Dutch crown; we answer to Brooklyn. And without an independent Breukelen on the other side of the globe, our borough’s name loses its meaning.

Our desperation is understandable, given our reading of Brooklyn’s own bitter history. Though larger and superior to its neighbor, Manhattan, Brooklyn agreed in 1898 to merge with what was then called New-York to anchor a unified New York City.

The result was a Brooklyn that existed as a mere neighborhood in a larger metropolis. Today, Brooklyn is little more than a “Jeopardy” answer. We’ll take “Nostalgia” for $500, Alex.

During our recent trip to Breukelen, we warned all of the relevant parties that they should not stand idly by while Queen Beatrix signs a death warrant for their town.

Yes, we’ve picked a few fights in these pages with the faceless bureaucrats in The Hague, but here is the clearest example yet that those technocrats and meritocrats are blind to how their calls for efficiency play out on the streets of their own land.

Fight for Breukelen — and save Breukelen!

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

gowanee from gowanus says:
How?
We don't have enough fighting here in Brooklyn?
And judging from the comments from the Dutch about Brooklyn you published, most of them don't really have much of an opinion about Brooklyn - they think Manhattan is where it's at.
July 18, 2009, 4:54 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links