Monday, October 23, 2006

Internet in the Dutch history canon

Recently, the canon of the Dutch history was published. In 50 windows a view is given on the history of the Lowlands. At least those 50 historic items people, living in The Netherlands, should know.

Looking at modern history of The Netherlands there is no computer item. There is mention of the television as symbol of the rise of mass media since 1948. But there it stops. Not one mention about the first computers, which were imported in The Netherlands, by the Dutch Bureau of Statistics, the Dutch telecom company and Philips Research Laboratory. Neither is there mention of the first Apple IIe and PCs in the canon. Looking at new media there is no mention of any service of event.

The Dutch online history started with the PTT videotext service Viditel in 1980. It was not a success; so I can imagine that you do not list such a service as an historic window. The launching of CD-ROM as an information carrier by Philips is not mentioned either, which is not illogical as it is an information carrier.

I personally think that launching of the Digital City (DDS, De Digitale Stad) in Amsterdam in 1994 should be a window in the canon of 50 historic items. The Digital City was launched as a debating platform for the Amsterdam municipal elections, but turned out to be the starting point of internet for consumers in The Netherlands. Since that time internet has become a household term for e-mail and searching information electronically. Of the 16,5 million inhabitants in The Netherlands more than 10 million people know now what internet is and use it. Terms like e-mail and to google can be heard in trains and buses. Due to the heavy telecom competition The Netherlands has the highest penetration of broadband in the world.

Altogether Internet has made a broader and faster impact in The Netherlands than television. This started in 1948 and only when colour television entered the living room, it became a real mass medium. Black and white was the symbol of richness; colour was the symbol of the masses.

I would like to plead for the inclusion of DDS in the canon, as it was the starting point for the acceptance of consumer internet in The Netherlands.


Blog Posting Number: 545

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