Chapter 15 Europe Patterns of Living

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Chapter 15

Europe Patterns of Living

Chapter preview: People, Places, and Events

The Velvet Revolution 1989

Find out why these people are cheering. Lesson 1, Page 407

Facing the Future

When is a battle tank not a battle tank? Lesson 1, Page 410

The European Union

Hopes are rising for a united Europe Lesson 2, Page 415


Lesson 1

The Czech and Slovak Republics

Main Idea After overthrowing their Communist government, the Czech and Slovak republics are becoming democratic, capitalist countries.

Key Vocabulary

Planned economy


Free-market economy

On a chilly New Year's Eve in 1992, crowds filled the narrow streets of the Eastern European city of Bratislava (brat ih SLAH vuh). People laughed and sang. Bands played traditional songs as couples danced in the streets. They had turned out to celebrate a new year and a new birth — that of the Slovak (SLOH vahk) Republic.

The Czech (CHECK) and Slovak Federative Republic was about to become two countries. The parting would take place without violence, but not without pain. Now many families and friends living near the bor­c. would be separated. Some people feared that the Slovak Republic - smaller and less developed than the Czech Republic — would suffer.

On this evening, though, the mood was joyful. Church bells rang and fireworks lit the sky. "The Slovaks have waited a thousand years for this night!" one woman exclaimed as the crowds cheered and danced.

Key Events

1918 Formation of Czechoslovakia

1968 Prague Spring

1989 Velvet Revolution

1993 Velvet Divorce

---Children play in the shadow of Europe's historical buildings.

For Richer or Poorer

Are these sheep blocking traffic on the streets of Paris? Lesson 2, Page 417

Planning a City

This European city is famous for its many canals. Lesson 3, Page 421

An eye for Art

The queen's birthday is a good excuse for some fun in Amsterdam. Lesson 3, Page 422


The Final Days of Communism

Focus What did the end of communism mean for Czechoslovakia?

The Czech and Slovak people had lived together in Eastern Europe for many centuries. For much of that time, Czech and Slovak lands had been part of other, larger nations, most recently the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But in 1918, following its defeat in World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed.

Trials of a New Nation

Czech and Slovak leaders formed a new nation in 1918, called Czechoslovakia (chehk uh sluh VAH kee uh). Thirty years later and three years after the end of World War II, the young nation came under Communist control. The Communist leaders brought a new economy to Czechoslovakia, called a planned economy. In such a system, the govern­ment plans what products the country will make and sets the prices for products. It may also own farms and businesses. The Communists thought a planned economy would spread wealth equally among all citizens.

By the late 1960s, however, many Czechs and Slovaks had grown tired of Communist policies. They wanted the freedoms communism denied. People felt their lives were worse than before communism.

Early in 1968, a new Czech Communist leader, Alexander Dubcek. (DUBE check), took office. For many people, Dubcek was a refreshing

---When troops from the Soviet Union and other Communist countries invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, many Czech citizens were outraged. In this photograph, a protester stands on top of a Soviet tank. Protesting did little good, and the Communists took firm control of the country. Citizenship: Compare and contrast this photograph with the one on the next page. Which protest was more effective? Why?


change. He offered elections to choose government officials and allowed grater freedom of expression. People began to call these spring months of reform the Prague Spring, after the capital city of Czechoslovakia.

Meanwhile, other Communist leaders in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe grew worried. The freedoms Dubcek allowed seemed dangerous to these leaders. They worried that people in other Communist countries might also demand them. In August 1968, 600,000 troops with tanks, from the Soviet Union and other Communist nations, rolled into Czechoslovakia. Dubcek was forced to resign. The brief Prague Spring came to a sudden end.

New Communist leaders clamped down hard against protesters. The government perse­cuted and imprisoned dissidents, people who disagreed with the government. The desire for change grew stronger among the people, however. Dissident political groups continued to demand freedom to express their ideas and freedom to choose their leaders.

The Velvet Revolution

When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, almost 20 years later, he began many political and economic reforms. These signs of change encouraged dissidents in Czechoslovakia. More and more people began to speak out, demanding an end to communism.

In November 1989, Czechoslovakia filled with excitement as protesters took to the streets. Thousands of students took part in demon­strations and published newspapers disagreeing with the government. At a demonstration in Prague's central square, thousands of protesters jingled their key chains, filling the air with eerie music. Demonstrators gave flowers to the police as peace offerings.

In some country villages, local government officials cut the electricity so that people could not see these demonstrations on the televi­sion news. Still, news of the tests spread. The people had cited 20 years for this time. They were not going to give up now.

---This map shows countries in Eastern Europe that were formerly Communist. Map Skill: Trace the confrontation line between Communist Europe and free Europe.

---Many people attended demon­strations during Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution. This enthusias­tic crowd is responding to a speech given by Alexander Dubcek in November 1989.



Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel was born in Prague in 1936. As a young man he discovered he had a talent for writ­ing plays. In 1963, his first play was performed on the stage. His criticism of the government landed him in prison, but public outcry forced officials to release him. In 1989, after the fall of communism, he was elected president of the new Czechoslovakia. He told the people: "This is the best chance in a lifetime that Europe may break out into a hotbed of peace."

In December 1989, under public pressure, the Communist govern­ment collapsed. The joyful population formed a new non-Communist government. The leaders gave the nation a new name — the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic. The new government made plans for the first free elections since 1946. "This is a success for all of us, both our nations," said Vaclav Havel (VAH tslav HAH vuhl), the new president. Almost 40 years of Communist rule were at an end.

In other Communist countries that had rebelled against their govern­ments, there had been widespread violence, even loss of life. Czechoslovakia's upheaval was remarkable for its swiftness and little vio­lence. Because the historic event took place so smoothly, people called it "The Velvet Revolution." Many people praised the important role of the student protesters in the Velvet Revolution. "We are just so grateful to the students for what they did to bring about this change," said one elderly woman.

The Velvet Divorce

In the new republic, Czechs outnumbered Slovaks 2 to 1. They also controlled more of the land and had closer ties to western business and industry. Czechs and Slovaks had a strained relationship even under Communist rule, but now their tensions increased. They disagreed about how quickly things should change. For example, most Czechs were ea to move quickly to a free-market economy. In a free-market economy, farms and factories are privately owned. The owners decide what to pro­duce and what prices to charge. Slovaks wanted a free-market economy also, but they wanted to change at a slower pace.

The Slovaks feared that shifting to a free-market economy would mean greater hardships for them than for the Czechs. Some Slovaks also felt that the Czechs looked down on them. One said, "The Czechs .. have always lorded over us. It is time to step out of Prague's shadow."

Czechoslovakia had negotiated a peaceful end to communism. Now its leaders negotiated the peaceful breakup of the nation. Some people

Czechoslovakia in the late 20th Century

1968 - Prague Spring

1989 - The "Velvet Revolution"   

1993 - Czech and Slovak Republics become separate nations


---The Czech and Slovak (or Slovakia) republics lie on the border between Eastern and Western Europe. Map Skill: Which of the republics do you think has closer ties with the West? Why?

called it "The Velvet Divorce." At the beginning of 1993, the two republics separated and agreed to a relationship of friendly trade and cooperation.

Facing the Future

Focus How have the Czech and Slovak republics adapted to the new economic challenges they face?

Every day the keepers of the castle in the Czech city of Cesky Krumlov (CHEHZ kee CRUM lawff) empty a barrel of apples into the dry moat around its walls. The apples are breakfast for two brown bears that live in the moat. The ancient castle, a popular tourist spot, is one of 2,500 historic sites in the Czech and Slovak republics. Today, these beautiful castles, fortresses, and old towns attract tourists from all over the world. The travelers spend money in hotels, museums, shops, and restaurants, and boost the local economy.

The Czech and Slovak republics today are rebuilding their industries, which had not been modernized by the Communist leaders. Foreign companies are giving people jobs

---The old stone gates of Prague attract both tourists and painters. National Heritage: What his­toric landmarks attract tourists and painters to your community or state?


and bringing much-needed cash into the country. Before 1990, there were no foreign companies it Czechoslovakia. Today, numerous countries, -­among them Germany, Great Britain, and the United States, have stores, factories, and gas sta­tions there.

Over the centuries, the Czechs and Slovaks have endured great hardships. They have seen their countries divided and reunited many times. Their experience has taught them not to give up. As one man in his eighties put it:

---During the Cold War, the Czechs and Slovaks made weapons for the Soviet Union. At the end of the Cold War, they were left with thousands of useless battle tanks. The Slovaks redesigned the tanks, turning them into fire engines (shown above). Economics: Think of other ways that used or outdated machines might be recycled.

Look, I was born in Austria-Hungary. I grew up in Czechoslovakia, suffered from Germans, spent 40 years in a colony of Russia — without ever leaving Prague! Now we're Czechs, again, as we were for a thousand years. What's so bad about that?”

Lesson Review

1918 Formation of Czechoslovakia

1968 Prague Spring

1989 Velvet Revolution

1993 Velvet Divorce

1.  Key Vocabulary: Describe changes in Czechoslovakia using: free-market econo­my, planned economy, dissident.

2.  Focus: What did the end of communism mean for Czechoslovakia?

3.  Focus: How have the Czech and Slovak republics adapted to the new economic challenges they face?

4.  Critical Thinking: Conclude Do you think that the breakup of Czechoslovakia was good or bad for the Czech and Slovak people?

5. Theme: Union and Separation What factors led to the breakup of Czechoslovakia?

6. Citizenship/Writing Activity: You work for a newspaper in Czechoslovakia in December of 1989. Write an editorial about the liberation from communism that might appear in your newspaper.


A Tunnel Under the Sea

By Mark Henricks

Britain and France have not always been the good neighbors they are today. Beginning with the Norman Invasion a thou­sand years ago, when French soldiers invaded Britain, the two countries have fought each other in a number of wars. During these conflicts, the English Channel was always there, provid­ing a watery buffer zone between Europe and the British Isles. Today, that buffer zone is gone. In November 1994 a tunnel, called the "Chunnel," opened under the English Channel, connecting England with the continent of Europe. This amazing technical feat is an equally amazing political feat. Here's how it happened.


Channel Facts

Chunnel Facts Length: 32.2 miles

Diameter of main tunnels: 24 feet

Years under construction: 7

Cost: about $15 billion

Opened: November 1994

Speed of trains: 100 miles an hour

Expected number of passen­gers: 45 million a year

Expected ticket sales: more than $1 billion a year

Number of construction work­ers: 10,000

Lives lost during construction: 10

Making a Wild Idea Into Reality

When Frank Davidson was 12, he read about a wild idea. Someone want­ed to build a tunnel under the sea. The tunnel would run beneath the English Channel, the body of water that separates England and France. People would be able to travel back and forth — without using a boat. The idea had come up before. Digging had even begun a couple of times. But it was a big job, and nobody got far.

Frank Davidson grew up and became a lawyer. He never forgot the wild idea. When it came up again in the 1950s, he helped draft an agree­ment between England and France to plan a tunnel. "The more we looked into the idea, the better it looked," says Frank, now 75 and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The project started, but stopped when British officials changed their mind. Years later, the two countries reached another agreement, and work began again. That was in 1986.

To build the world's longest underwater tunnel, tunnelers dug through solid rock, removing 10 million tons. They developed special dig­ging machines, called moles. Each mole weighed 1,500 tons and was 300 yards long.

This diagram shows the two main tunnels and service corri­dor. When tunnel diggers met in 1990, 10 miles from France and 14 miles from England, they were off by only 8 inches.

Three Tunnels in One

The Chunnel is actually three tunnels. Two have train tracks in them. They carry high-speed trains loaded with people, cars and freight. The


third tunnel is a service corridor with a road in it. Trucks use it to carry supplies and workers to keep the Chunnel in good shape.

Most passengers drive onto the train and stay in the comfort of their vehicles for the 35-minute ride. Others board train cars with bunks and dining rooms. At the far end of the tunnel, people drive off the train and go on their way.

What About Fire or Floods?

The Chunnel has no escape routes to the surface, except for the opening at either end. So what would happen in case of fire or flood?

First of all, the Chunnel is bored through a sturdy rock called "chalk marl." For good measure, the tunnels are lined with steel-reinforced con­crete or cast iron. A roof collapse is extremely unlikely.

Fire is a bigger worry. If a fire starts on a train, automatic doors will slam shut to contain the blaze. Extinguishers will automatically snuff it with foam.

Having three separate tunnels is another safety feature. The three are connected with cross tunnels every quarter mile. In an emergency, con­ductors could stop trains and lead passengers to a different tunnel. From there, they could return to the surface.

Heat was a surprise problem. Engineers expected the Chunnel to be rurally cool. But they discovered the fast moving trains would heat the air to a sizzling 130 degrees. At the last minute, they had to design one of the world's biggest air condition­ers so passengers wouldn't roast.

No matter how well it's done, tunnel build­ing is dangerous work. Eight English workers and two French workers died while building the Chunnel. That is a good safety record com­pared to other big projects. When the world's second-longest underwater tunnel was built in Japan, 30 workers died.

Bringing Europe Together

By making it easier to travel between the British Isles and the European continent, the Chunnel will bring European people together. That may help prevent wars which have cost millions of lives. And it may encourage millions of kids, like Frank Davidson, to dream of wild ideas.

Response Activities

1. Predict What do you think will be the advantages of the Chunnel for England and France? What will be the advan­tages for the rest of Europe?

2. Informative: Write a News Story Write a news story about the opening of the Chunnel as if you were a newspaper reporter in a European country. Include information that your readers would want to know.

3. Technology: Design a Tunnel Using the information in the selection, design your own imaginary tunnel. Decide on a location and purpose for your tunnel. Draw a diagram of your tunnel. Label your diagram.


Lesson 2

France and the European Union

Main Idea The European Union means a better life for most, but a harder life for some.

Key Vocabulary


Common Market


European Union

border control


Key Events

1958 Founding of Common Market

1986 Single European Act

1991 Maastricht Treaty proposed

1995 Seven nations end border controls

It is December 1992 on a busy street in the town of Bethune (beh TUNE) in northern France. A young farmer parks his pickup truck in the middle of the street and lowers the truck's tailgate. Hundreds of potatoes pour from the truck. Cars screech to a halt. Horns blare. Another truck stops and dumps more potatoes. Farmers on tractors spread tons of pota­toes across the streets of the city, blocking traffic in every direction.

The farmers are angry about the new prices the government says they must charge for their potatoes and other produce. All across France in 1992, thousands of farmers took part in demonstrations like this one. They blocked railway tracks, threw tomatoes and eggs at government ministers, and dumped produce in town squares. They hoped that if they caused enough trouble, the government would listen to their views.

---French farmers block a highway in 1992 to show their anger toward economic changes. The farmers feared that the changes would be bad for their jobs. Citizenship: Do you think that these protests are a good way for the farmers to show their point of view? Why or why not?


---By the most recent count, 15 countries are members of the European Union. Map Skill: Approximately what percent­age of European countries are members of the European Union?

The European Union

Focus What is the European Union?

While French farmers demonstrated in the streets, many countries in Europe were voting on an important proposal. The proposal would unite the countries in one large community, bringing them closer together than ever before. It would make travel and trade faster and more convenient between them. If the plan passed, the countries would use the same system of money, or currency, instead of using different money in each country.

Many people, like the farmers in France, were afraid of the plan. They thought it would take away their independence. Some were afraid they might lose their jobs. Other people were excited about the idea of a united Europe. They liked the idea of being able to live and work anywhere on the continent. They thought the proposal would he good for the economy of Europe.

The idea of uniting the countries of Europe in one community began long before 1992. During World War II, many European leaders desperately wanted to prevent such a horrible war from ever happening again. Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain, and other leaders suggested that the nations of Europe should form a union as a means of

Then & Now

Thirty years ago, supermarkets were almost unknown in France. The French bought their food at open air markets or at small shops. One shop was for bread, another for meat, and so on. Today, supermarkets are common in French cities, although many French still prefer the small specialty shops.



Edith Cresson

Born in 1934, Edith Cresson became the first woman prime minister of France in 1991. However, her outspoken manner was not popular. She spent only 321 days on the job. She declared, "I was appointed to be dar­ing and vigorous."

preventing war. Churchill said, "We must build a kind of united states of Europe."

Plans for a united Europe developed in stages. In 1952, six nation_. — France, West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy — organized their separate coal and steel industries into one indus­try. Six years later the same countries decided they wanted their economies to cooperate even more. They formed an organization called the European Economic Community, or Common Market. By 1986, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal had all joined the Common Market. In 1995, Austria, Sweden, and Finland became members.

The Common Market made trade easier among member countries. It reduced tariffs, or fees charged on products brought into or out of a coun­try. Tariffs make foreign products more expensive than local products. They discourage people from buying foreign goods.

The Common Market was very successful. Trade increased among member countries, whose economies are still growing. The countries decided to find other ways they could work together. They formed an organization called the European Union, to govern both economic and political cooperation in Europe. The European Union, or EU, has passed laws to clean up the environment. Through the EU, nations have shared information about scientific research and new technology. They have combined police forces to fight crime.

A Single Market

Focus What is a single market, and what does it hope to achieve?

Encouraged by their success, many member countries in Europe wanted an even stronger union. They wanted all of Europe to be a single market, with no trade barriers of any kind, as in the United States. People would be free to live, work, and trade anywhere within member countries. Goods could travel faster and more cheaply from one country to another.

So, the leaders of these countries passed the Single European Act in 1986. That act turned the Common Market overnight into the world's biggest economic power. The total value of all goods and services pro­duced by the member nations was 6.7 trillion dollars.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the member nations worked on a plan for even greater unity. They called it the Maastricht (MAHS trihkt) Treaty, after the town of Maastricht in the Netherlands, where it was signed by the European leaders. One aim of the Maastricht Treaty was create a single currency for all of Europe.

Think of what it would be like if every state in the United States had


a different currency. When you traveled from one state to another, you would have to change your money into the cur­rency of that state before you could buy anything. That is what it is like in Europe, where each country uses different money. France uses francs, Germany uses marks, Spain uses pesetas, and so on. Each currency is worth a different amount.

For Europeans, the idea of a single currency was very new. Many people feared that a single currency would take away part of their national identity and an important part of their culture.

Some nations asked voters to decide on the treaty. Voters in Denmark at first turned it down while in France, the treaty barely passed. The leaders of the member countries were not discouraged. One official said, "When you look at what's been done in the past seven years, it's really a remarkable achievement." In 1993 the Maastricht Treaty was finally accepted.

In 1995, seven nations in Europe passed an important milestone. They agreed to end border controls with other members. Other nations considered taking this step. Border controls are customs checks, or border inspections. The controls are time consuming and expensive. For example, a truck can travel from London, England, to Italy in 36 hours, but border inspections can add 22 hours to the trip.

With border inspections gone, people within the seven nations can go from one country to another without ever having to show a passport. A passport is a government document that provides travelers with citizenship identification. It allows them to leave and reenter their country. Now people will carry Europassports, identifying them as citizens of a larger community.

Forever French?

Focus What problems does the European Union face today?

Not all Europeans are happy about the changes brought by the European Union. Some people fear that a united Europe means giving up too much of their own culture. People in small countries like Denmark feel that their needs may be ignored by larger countries like Germany.

In France, economic change has meant that farmers no longer receive as much financial support from their government. That financial support in the past allowed farmers to set low prices. Now the farmers fear they

---A customs officer checks a truck at the French border. In 1995, bor­der controls were lifted among seven EU countries. Geography: What countries are on the bor­ders of France?


---At this special shop in France, French and foreign items are for sale at the same price. The stars on the cap symbolize the 12 member nations of the European Union in 1992. Economics: Why does the European Union want to sell local and foreign items at the same price?

will not be able to compete successfully with other coun­tries. "We don't protest to become richer, but to keep from losing it all," said one farmer who raises apples and pigs ii central France.

People in France and other European countries also criti­cize the EU for ending border controls. They believe border controls help to keep a country safe. They also wonder how safety regulations and product standards can be supervised among so many countries.

Despite these concerns, most people agree that the European Union is here to stay. Today the EU represents more than 360 million people. It has created a prosperous new marketplace. There are now 15 members, and other countries are eager to join, among them former Communist nations. As one leader in the EU explained in 1992:

"When you consider that we're talking about 12 different countries with different traditions, cultures, and working practices — well, getting agreement across that range of divides is a great success."

Lesson Review

1958 Common Market founded

1986 Single European Act

1995 Seven members of EU end border controls

1.  Key Vocabulary: Use the following words in a paragraph about France: currency, tariff, European Union, passport

2.  Focus: What is the European Union?

3.  Focus: What is a single market, and what does it hope to achieve?

4.  Focus: What problems does the European Union face today?

5.  Critical Thinking: Decision Making If you were a French citizen, voting on whether or not to have one European currency, how would you vote? Explain.

6.  Theme: Separation and Union How have economic issues helped to unify European nations?

7.  Citizenship/Art Activity: You are an artist hired by the European Union. Design a poster that persuades voters to adopt a single European currency.


Lesson 3

The Netherlands: Quality of Life

Main Idea In the Netherlands, culture and economics have blended to pro society concerned about the quality of life.

Key Vocabulary

Marshall Plan

Minimum wage

Public housing

Quality of life

It is January 1945. A cold night falls over Amsterdam. People take shelter in their dark houses. Since the Germans have taken all food and gasoline away from the Netherlands, people have been hungry and cold. They search the freezing countryside, trading their last possessions for a few potatoes or even tulip bulbs to eat. They have cut down all the trees in the streets for firewood, and torn up ties from the railroad tracks. Three hundred years before, Amsterdam was a rich, powerful, and beautiful city. Now, many houses are empty — ghostly reminders of families that once lived there. Everything has been taken by desperate neighbors, even the wooden floors and stair­cases. During these last months of World War II, the people of Amsterdam die of hunger and walk in rags.

From Poverty to Prosperity

Focus How did the Netherlands rebuild after World War II and what solutions did it find to help its people?

When war finally ended in the Netherlands in May 1945, the coun­try's roads, harbors, bridges, and rail lines were in ruins. The once-powerful banks were too poor to rebuild the country. The United States feared that so much poverty might lead Western Europeans n,-wards communism, so it decided to rebuild their countries with the biggest aid program ever: the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan

---The winter of 1944-45 was known as the "hunger winter." Luxuries such as sugar were still hard to find in the Netherlands. When available, they sometimes were sold illegally at high prices. The women and girls in this pic­ture are selling candy and cakes illegally on a side street in Amsterdam. History: Find out what luxuries were hard to get in the United States during World War II.


was a U.S. program that loaned and gave money to Western European countries to buy machinery and build factories, allowing them to produce goods again. The Netherlands received more than a billion dollars. recovery set in, people treasured every bite of food, and every little luxu­ry. From the pieces of chocolate handed out by recovery workers to the new jobs created by the Marshall Plan, every sign seemed to point to good times again.

Rebuilding the Country

For a while after the war, many old divisions between rich and poor, Communists and capitalists, Catholics and Protestants, faded. Everybody had suffered together. This created an unusual feeling of unity among the Dutch. In 1950, the government organized a special committee to set eco­nomic goals for employers and employees. People were so eager to rebuild their country that between 1947 and 1957 an economic miracle took place. Wages — at first very low — doubled, and production rose to its prewar levels again. By the late 1950s, there was plenty of food and new housing. Some people were even buying refrigerators, cars, televi­sions, and washing machines.

As signs of prosperity returned, the Dutch turned their attention to the needs of the poor and elderly. Before the war, the state had begun programs to take care of the basic needs of its citizens. After the war, remembering horrible wartime poverty and hunger, the Dutch felt it was important for the state to revive and expand these programs. In 1947, when the Netherlands could barely afford it, it gave allowances for widows and orphans of soldiers killed in the war. By 1957, the country had promised health care, education, and housing to every citizen. Special govern­ment programs provided help for the unemployed and disabled. Minimum wages guaranteed workers a certain amount for each hour of work. Affordable public housing, paid for part­ly by the government, was built. All these programs cost money, of course, and resulted in high taxes. Still, as their wages increased, most Dutch were will­ing to give a lot.

---The 1600s were the Golden Age in the Netherlands. Wealthy mer­chants stored their goods in tall, narrow buildings along canals. This painting from that period shows how ships could dock near the warehouses. Economics: Why was it better to store goods along a canal than along a road?


---The map (on the left) shows a city plan for Amsterdam in 1674. The photograph (on the right) is a view of Amsterdam from the air today. Geography: Based on these images, in what ways has the city of Amsterdam changed? In what ways is it the same as it was hundreds of years ago?

Transforming Amsterdam

Between 1945 and 1975, the population of the Netherlands increased by 50 percent, from 9 million people to 13.5 million. This made it the most densely populated of the world's old, industrial nations. Cities and roads became severely congested. Industrial sites covered the countryside. As wages kept on rising, people bought cars and built superhighways. More than half of the country's people were squeezed into one-eighth of the country’s surface.

As the population grew, the historic old streets in the city of Amsterdam became a problem. They were too narrow for modern car and truck traffic. Amsterdam was founded about 800 years ago. It was built largely in the 1500s and 1600s, when it was Europe's biggest trad­ing city. Back then, its harbors were full of ships bringing goods from all over the world. These goods were stored in hundreds of warehouses, waiting to be sold at a good price and shipped out again. Small canals crisscrossed the city, connecting the tall warehouses. The canals were just as important as roads. The city became a delicate pattern of small streets with narrow, tall houses, all linked together by thousands of bridges spanning the canals.

In the 1950s and 1960s, city planners began to draw up plans to destroy the old houses and canals. They wanted to build wide open roads and highways leading into and out of the city and connecting the city with big shopping malls and apartment blocks in the suburbs. Many growing businesses, public services, and universities left the city center and went to the suburbs. Long traffic jams stood between the city and the suburbs. However, when local governments decided to destroy old neigh-.'hoods, they found that they were also destroying old ways of life.

Ask yourself

The western half of the Netherlands lies below sea level. The cities and farmlands in this area are protected from flooding by sand dunes and dikes. The people of the Netherlands have always had to work together to maintain the dunes and dikes. In what ways do people in your community work together to solve prob­lems?


Quality of Life

Focus What problems did modern life bring to Amsterdam and how have the Dutch dealt with them?

By the early 1960s, people in the Netherlands began to think more about the quality of their lives. The quality of life is more than the money people make. It includes the way they like to live everyday life. Most people in Amsterdam liked living in their small houses, on narrow little streets packed with small shops and cafes, bakeries, and flower stands. They liked knowing their neighbors and meeting their friends as they strolled through the city. The narrow roads, canals, and bridges might be too small for a modern city, but as far as the residents were concerned, they were just right. They created a friendliness and liveliness that the modern suburbs lacked. As more plans for modernization of the city center were proposed, people feared that their way of living would be sacrificed for economic growth. Resistance slowly started to take shape.

Tell Me More

What's So Great About Queen's Day?

The Netherlands has had a monarchy for almost 200 years, ever since Napoleon put his brother-in-law on the throne in 1806. Today the Netherlands is a democracy, and the monarch has little power. However, the Dutch are very fond of their Queen Beatrix (shown above) and her family. Ever since Queen Beatrix's grandmother's time, the Dutch have been celebrating the Queen's Birthday, called Koninginnedag (KOH ping in a dakh) in Dutch.

On Koninginnedag the streets in every Dutch town are filled with flags and other decorations. There are par­ties and parades everywhere. Bands play at town squares and people dance in the street. Vendors sell special cakes decorated with orange frosting, because the color orange represents the royal family. The holiday is like one gigantic birthday party attended by the whole country.


Curious Facts

The Netherlands is made up of 12 provinces. Two of those provinces are called Holland — North Holland and South Holland. The people who live in the Netherlands call them­selves Netherlanders, but English speakers call them Dutch, a prac­tice that began from a mistake. Early travelers thought the Netherlanders were German, and called them by the German word Deutsch (DOYTCH), meaning German.

Amsterdam Fights Back

A loosely-organized group of young students called the "Provos" inspired instance to the excesses of modernization. The students had not experi­enced the war. They had grown up in a new Netherlands, where the gov­ernment had helped to create a better life for many people. The students could not understand why their government did not also care about cre­ating a better environment. They thought it was wrong for a government to build highways and large buildings without consulting the people. The Provos and other groups felt that democracy should mean more than elections for parliament and city councils. They believed that a true democracy cared about how it protected and helped its citizens.

By the 1970s, the young Provos were no longer students. Some had become journalists, politicians, and professors. They still held their beliefs about democracy. Now there were enough of their followers on Amsterdam's city council to vote against new big construction. The coun­cil voted to restore the old houses there. It was a decisive victory.

Today, the Dutch continue to look for better ways to make their government more democratic and effective. At neighborhood councils and public meetings, people discuss and try out new proposals. In the Netherlands, democracy means not only that the majority rules, but that the majority protects and encourages the minority.

Lesson Review

1. Key Vocabulary: Describe life in the Netherlands using these words: public housing, minimum wage, quality of life.

2. Focus: How did the Netherlands rebuild after World War 11, and what solutions did it find to help its people?

3. Focus: What problems did modern life bring to Amsterdam and how have the Dutch dealt with them?

4. Critical Thinking: Sequence How did the streets of Amsterdam look at different times in history? Choose three dates: the 17th century, 1945, and the present. Describe the city at each of those times.

5. Theme: Separation and Union Why did the people of the Netherlands develop a sense of unity after World War II?

6. Citizenship/Art Activity: Think about the changes Amsterdam has gone through since World War II. In what ways has your city or town changed during the same time? Draw a plan showing what you think your city or town should look like 20 years from now.


Think Like a Geographer

Environment and Society

How Did the Dutch Create Their Environment?

An old saying goes, "God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland." More than half of the Netherlands now lies below sea level. The Dutch claimed this new land from the ocean. Without thousands of miles of dunes, dikes, and dams, the sea would flood the land twice daily.

The Dutch first built dikes around lakes and swamps in the 1200s. At that time, a dike was a simple wall of dirt or sand. Then, they pumped out the water. In the drained areas that remained, called polders, (POHL-duhrz) the Dutch built farms and cities. At first, they used windmills to run the pumps but later used steam and electric power.

The creation of this new environment has caused new problems. Most of the polders are below sea level and are vulnerable to flooding. The Dutch wage a continuous battle against the sea. They have built gigantic dams and are always exploring new technology to keep back the water.

---Windmills are a common sight in Holland. Much of the Netherlands still relies on wind power and dikes made from earth and stone to control the water. Do you know of any wind­mills in the United States?

1. Haringvliet Dam

Delta Project Construction

A deadly storm struck the Netherlands in 1953. It killed 1,800 people and drove about 70,000 from their homes. The Dutch reacted with the Delta Project, a 30-year, five-billion dollar flood-control project.


Art Connection

The first modern landscape paintings were done t he 15th century for the Count of Holland. Dutch art is famous for landscapes that show Holland's flat, canal crossed environment and vast, light-filled skies. Have you ever seen land­scape paintings of your area?

---Hundreds of miles of canals cross the Netherlands, controlling the flow of water to the sea. What else are canals used for?

2. Amsterdam

Schiphol Airport

Amsterdam's airport is the only one in the world that was built on the site of a naval battle. Long after the 1573 clash between Dutch and Spanish ships, the Netherlands reclaimed the land from the sea. The airport is 13 feet below sea level.

---The Zuider Zee (ZY dur ZEE) once covered the new land on the map. Map Skill: How long is the Barrier Dam that closed it off?

Research Activity

Although the Dutch have struggled with the sea, it has also helped them in many ways.

1.  Research the ways the Dutch people have used the sea, like fishing, trade, and recreation.

2. Make a detailed list of all the ways the sea con­tributes to the Dutch way of life.

3.  Explain your list to the class.

---The Dutch can enjoy their passion for ice-skating when the canals freeze in the winter.


Skills Workshop

Using Almanacs

Information Please

If you looked up Czechoslovakia in an old encyclopedia, you wouldn't know that in 1989 the Czechoslovakian people overthrew the Communist government. If you read a book printed in 1991, you would still be out of date, because in 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two independent states — the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

To keep on top of the latest political events around the world, reach for an almanac. Almanacs are updated and published every year. They include statistics about weather, world populations, finances, and natural resources. They also have lists, graphs, tables, and timelines that help you compare the statistics and governments of different countries.


1. Here's How

Decide what sort of information you want to find in an almanac. Then follow these steps:

• Look up your subject in the table of contents or index. You may need to look up several subjects to find the exact information you need.

• Use the page references to find the location of the information.

• Study the statistics and graphs that appear on the pages you've turned to. Take notes of details you have learned.

• Decide if you have found all the facts you need. If not, look up a related subject.

2.  Think It Through

How is information in an almanac different from information in an encyclopedia? In a newspaper?

3.  Use It

Look at the almanac table of contents below. Write down what subject you might look under to answer the following questions:

1. How does the economy of the Czech Republic compare to the economy of Slovakia?

2. Were there any major earthquakes in Europe in the past year?

3. Who are Poland's representatives at the United Nations?

4. In the past year, what percentage of French people were out of work?


Chapter 15

Chapter Review

---See Chapter Review Timeline on page 428

Summarizing the Main Idea

1.  Copy the chart below and write a few phrases of information under each heading about each country or region.


2.  You are the leader of a formerly Communist country that now wants to join the European Union. Prepare a short speech, using at least eight of the following terms, explaining why your country should be allowed to join.

dissident (p. 407)    

planned economy (p. 406) 

free-market economy (p. 408)       

currency (p. 415)    

Common Market (p. 416) 

tariffs (p. 416)        

European Union (p. 416)  

border controls (p. 417)     

passport (p. 417)

Marshall Plan (p. 419)

minimum wage (p. 420)

public housing (p. 420)

quality of life (p. 424)

Reviewing the Facts

3.  How does a planned economy work?

4.  What was the Prague Spring? Why did it fail?

5.  Why did the Czech and Slovak republics decide to separate in 1993?

6.  What are the goals of the European Union?

7. Why did the Common Market reduce tariffs?

8. Why do some people oppose the changes proposed by the European Union?

9.  How did the Marshall Plan help the Netherlands?

10. How did the government of the Netherland, help its citizens after World War II?

11. How have the people of Amsterdam improved the quality of life in their city?


Skill Review: Using Almanacs

12. List five recent world events that you could find information about in an almanac. Describe how to look up that information.

13. Describe where and how you would find information on the following subjects: Current politics in France, the construction of the English Channel tunnel, the current popu­lation of the Netherlands, gold medal winners from Europe in the last Winter Olympics.

Geography Skills

14. Look at the map on page 415 that shows the member nations in the European Union. What problems do you think the countries of Eastern Europe might have in becoming part of the European Union?

15. If you lived beside an old canal in Amsterdam, what would you think if a big shopping center was planned for your neighborhood? Write a letter to your local newspaper explaining your opinion about the proposed project.

Critical Thinking

16. Conclude Why do you think free-market economies have been more successful at meet­ing people's needs than planned economies?

17. Compare Compare the demonstrations of the Czechoslovakian students, French farmers, and Dutch Provos. Which demonstrations were most effective? Why?

Writing: Citizenship and History

18. Citizenship In the Netherlands, voters feel it is important to protect and encourage every­one, including minorities. How are the rights of minorities protected in the United States? Write a list of reasons why the rights of the minority are important.

19. History Songwriters often write songs about historical events. Write the words for a song about events in the Czech and Slovak republics, France, or the Netherlands.



Find out more about one of the countries in the European Union. Find out what they gained and what they gave up to join, and what the people feel about their participation. Organize the informa­tion on a chart.


People in Amsterdam improved their quality of life. What is happening in your city, town or school that affects your quality of life? Write a letter to the peo­ple responsible and let them know how you feel.

Theme Project Check-In

To complete your theme project, use the information in this chapter about Europe's individual nations. Ask yourself these questions:

• What major events in the country's history have influenced its separation and union?

• How has the country dealt with the challenges of separation and union?

• How does the country's political system cope with challenges?

Internet Option

Check the Internet Social Studies Center for ideas on how to extend your theme project beyond your classroom.




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