A short history lesson:
Many people think that Fair Trade Coffee/Tea only recently came into light after human rights protests became more common. But it was really a guy from Netherlands close to 200 years ago that started it off. Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli, wrote a book in the 1800's called Max Havelaar. This book was a protest against the abuse of free labour he saw in Java by the Dutch East Indies Company and the colonial system. Although Edward Douwes Dekker had changed the names of people and companies in the book, people in Europe who read it began to draw parallels between what was happening in the Dutch Indies with the book. The awareness by the readers made the Dutch officials slowly repay their debt to their colonies by the way of education.
Here in Amsterdam, you can see signs that say "We serve Max Havelaar coffee/tea" which pretty much means they serve fair trade coffee and tea.
Multatuli in Latin means "I have suffered much" but in Finnish it means "I have ejaculated".... thats a whole different story right there.
Today, took a day trip out of Amsterdam. Went to Aalsmeer, Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft and Madurodam (Miniature City)
Aalsmeer has the biggest flower auction in the world. The whole area is about 250 football fields big, however, I only visted one of the auctions. The way it works is amazing, they get the flowers out the door within hours to local and international customers... I am impressed by their logistics system (Darren you need to check it out!). They sent out billions of cut flowers each day its amazing.
In Rotterdam, we just went on a bus tour. Rotterdam was pretty much flattened in WWII apart from 2 buildings which still stand today, so compared with Amsterdam, the buildings are a lot more modern.
The Hague is where the government and royal family is based - however it is not the capital (Amsterdam is). All the embassies from around the world are here, consulates are in Amsterdam. The Hague also has alot of the international legal organisations such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and The International Criminal Court.
In Delft, we visted a Delftware company who make the traditional Delftware (Porcelain with blue-ish paint). There are only really 2 of these companies left so if you buy some and they don't have the logo of the company painted on them they are probably made in China and not hand made which proper Delftware are.
Last stop was Madurodam which is a miniature city of the major sights in the Netherlands. It was interesting I guess but I was so tired by this time I didn't bother looking at the whole thing. The weather was cold today as well.
Also drove past a seaside resort called Scheveningen and saw the North Sea! Quite a nice beach with white sand.
Not a bad way to finish my last day in the Netherlands. Although our tour guide should learn not to speak in such a monotone voice.