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Thread: The Dutch: not tolerant, only pragmatic

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    Default Split: Dutch tolerance and/or lack of it

    Quote Originally Posted by JMarcial View Post
    That explains the oddity that I pointed on a previous post (see red highlighted text below).

    The post was deleted by the Staff of this site along with most of my other posts in the past days. Presumably because the content was too harsh even for the so often chorused standards of "free speech" and of "dutch tolerance" of the apricity. Such as quotes from various international sports media.

    Dutch tolerance is a mere invention of progressive (but not exclusive) politicians, with no other goal than to establish their mixed, open society. Dutch tolerance can also be confused with indifference: when it doesn't bother me, I don't mind. Now we've reached the point of no return, and we cannot look away anymore.
    Moreover I think that the Dutch tolerance mainly owes its reputation to the town of Amsterdam, which in the past has been a refuge for those who were persecuted. My conclusion is: Dutch tolerance is a lie.

    Last edited by Crossbow; 07-13-2010 at 07:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
    Dutch tolerance is a mere invention of progressive (but not exclusive) politicians, with no other goal than to establish their mixed, open society. Dutch tolerance can also be confused with indifference: when it doesn't bother me, I don't mind. Now we've reached the point of no return, and we cannot look away anymore.
    Moreover I think that the Dutch tolerance mainly owes its reputation to the town of Amsterdam, which in the past has been a refuge for those who were persecuted. My conclusion is: Dutch tolerance is a lie.
    That's not entirely true. During the Golden Age this country also had an influx of immigrants (particularly from the Southern Netherlands, Germany and France.. but also for instance from England and Scandinavia) - and also Jews from mainly Spain and Portugal.

    The numbers are a lot lower then todays mass immigration though and those immigrants simply mixed into the Dutch population and only some names remain. Dutch tolerance existed more out a notion of live and let live (that even kind of extended to Catholics. For instance: Catholicism was banned by law by the States General but all over the country there were hidden churches and the sheriffs knew exactly where they were and as long as the Catholics paid there taxes like anyone else they were treated relatively equal before the law or they were at least tolerated). They could forget about holding public office though (and the same went for people of different believes then the official Reformed Church).
    But apart from some minor issues that was relative tolerance and a freedom of religion, press and conscience which really sets us apart from Europe and the rest of the world for that matter.. where you could be roasted at the stake for being an heretic to the Church (like in Spain).


    This is one of those famous hidden Catholic churches (schuilkerk or officially huiskerk) - the Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Dear Lord on the Attic) in Amsterdam.




    I have walked past this particular one I didn't notice it was a church. But that was exactly the meaning of it. Catholicism was tolerated when it did not arouse "public contempt" as it was called- it had to remain hidden. So yes the attitude was one of "as long as it doesn't concern me.. I couldn't care less" but people generally knew damn well who was a Catholic though But they didn't really treat them any differently. Still it was not done to bring in Catholics into your household.. much less have them as guests.

    And also this one in Diemen:



    So what you got here in this country was a myriad of church communities and sets of believes and all were at least a bit tolerated. (which really sets us apart from the rest of Europe) Now on today: we have been far too tolerant for our own good. Islam is not the glise wallonne, are not the Anabaptists, are not German Lutherans but a group of fanatics hellbent on taking over the place and more and more Dutch are simply beginning to notice it and act accordingly.
    Last edited by The Lawspeaker; 07-13-2010 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Adding pictures


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    Quote Originally Posted by Asega View Post
    Dutch tolerance existed more out a notion of live and let live (that even kind of extended to Catholics. For instance: Catholicism was banned by law by the States General but all over the country there were hidden churches and the sheriffs knew exactly where they were and as long as the Catholics paid there taxes like anyone else they were treated relatively equal before the law or they were at least tolerated). They could forget about holding public office though (and the same went for people of different believes then the official Reformed Church).
    That is the most interesting "live and let live" attitude I've ever seen. Your religion is banned by the law, you must practice in hidden places of worship, your equality before the law can be described as relative, and you, along with any other dissenter, cannot hold public office. There are Dutch Catholic martrys, remember.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caedmon View Post
    That is the most interesting "live and let live" attitude I've ever seen. Your religion is banned by the law, you must practice in hidden places of worship, your equality before the law can be described as relative, and you, along with any other dissenter, cannot hold public office. There are Dutch Catholic martrys, remember.
    Yes.. the Gorinchem Martyrs but those fell DURING the war (1572) after and during the Spanish atrocities in the Netherlands.

    Well.. indeed it was a very interesting attitude. And definitely much more enlightened then what other countries (catholic or protestant) had to offer.
    Another nice detail what I once read about is (in Stad in de Storm by Thea Beackman): in 1672/1673 the French occupied Utrecht and they reopened the cathedral for the use of the Catholics and even proclaimed a bishop.

    In those days Utrecht had 18.000 citizens. 6000 of which Catholics but most of them declined the opportunity to even go to the re-inauguration mass and considered the bishop to be a traitor. The majority of the Catholics used passive resistance against the French by claiming days when the French held maneuvers as "patron days" and holding processions throughout the city-- severely hampering French movements. They did so in conjunction with the protestants who denied the French services because of "issues of conscience". Both the local Waloon church (French and Walloon Huguenots) and the Duitsche Huis were used as centers for the resistance and both were raided unsuccessfully as the local resistance had already hid all the evidence,).
    Last edited by The Lawspeaker; 07-13-2010 at 10:12 PM.


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    Page 201 (Stad in de Storm):

    De hertog van Luxembourg was bang voor een oproer in de stad. Hij had allang ontdekt dat de burgerij niet zo volgzaam was als dat de vroedschap hem wilde wijsmaken. Zelfs de zesduizend katholieken waren niet blij met de Franse overheersing, al had de bezetter hem in alle vroegere rechten hersteld en hun de Domkerk teruggegeven. Zo slecht hadden ze het onder een calvinistisch maar verdraagzaam bewind niet gehad. In hun schuilkerken werden ze met rust gelaten, als ingezetenen van de stad werden ze gerespecteerd. De geheime drukkersorganisatie speelde hun evengoed de illegale krantjes in handen en misschien was het daaraan te danken dat ze op de onmogelijkste tijden hun processies hielden, meestal op een dag dat de Franse soldaten weer eens bijeengetrommeld werden voor een nieuwe strooptocht, zodat het snel formeren van de troepen door de troepen door de verstopte straten mooi in het honderd liep. Zo hadden ze ook een keer geweigerd om mee te werken met de versterking van de wallen omdat ze die dag zo nodig de naamdag van een of andere obscure naamheilige moesten vieren. Nee, bisschop Neercassel mocht preken en donderen wat hij wilde, de Utrechtse katholieken lieten zich weinig aan hem gelegen liggen. Ze vonden hem een overloper, een verrader, en lieten hem links liggen.
    Translated by me:

    The Duke of Luxembourg was afraid for an uprising. He had discovered since long that the citizenry was not exactly as obedient as the city council had long tried to claim. Even the six-thousand catholics were not amused with French rule, even-though the occupiers had restored their original rights and even given him back the control over the Domkerk cathedral. They hadn't been treated all that badly under Calvinist but tolerant rule. In their hidden churches they had been left in peace, as citizens of the city they were respected. The illegal printers made sure they got the illegal newspapers just as well and maybe that was the reason why the Catholics always seemed to organise their processions at the most impossible moments, usually on a day when the French soldiers were called up for another round of pillaging and plunder, which caused the complete failure of maneuvering the troops through the narrow, crowded streets. Another time they had refused to collaborate with the strengthening of the walls because they suddenly needed to celebrate the patron day of some obscure saint. No, Bishop Neercassel could preach and thunder all that he wanted, the Catholics of Utrecht couldn't care much about him. They considered him to be a defector, a traitor and ignored him.
    Page 201/202:

    The Calvinists were little "better":

    De calvinisten, die intussen ontdekt hadden dat hun door kolonel Stouppa niets in de weg werd gelegd bij het nakomen van hun godsdienstplichten, hadden een andere manier uitgevonden om dwars te liggen: zij gebruikten hun "gewetensnood" voor alles en nog wat. Over elke vervelende maatregel van de bezetter moesten ze eerst uitgebreid vergaderen met hun predikanten, hun kwartierhoplieden en de kerkenraad. Konden zij dit wel tegenover hun "principes" verantwoorden? Ze maakten er een spelletje van, brachten zowel Stouppa als Luxembourg met hun uitgestreken smoelen en zwaarwichtige vertogingen tot wanhoop.
    Aan alle kanten pleegde de stad lijdelijk verzet. Nooit was een bestelling op tijd klaar. Niemand verstond meer een woord Frans. En wat de plakkaten betreft: soms leek het wel of heel Utrecht analfabeet was en die dingen niet kon lezen., laat staan begrijpen...
    Translation:

    The Calvinists, that had found out that Colonel Stouppa did nothing to hamper their attempts to follow up on their religious duties had found another way to make life difficult (for the French): they used their "troubled conscience" for just about anything. About every unpleasant rule the occupier came up they first took the time to lengthly consult their ministers, the representatives of their boroughs and the church council. Could they really reconcile it with their "principles" ? They turned it into a little game, brought both Stouppa and Luxembourg to despair with their straightened faces and lengthly protests. On all sides the city resisted passively. No order was delivered on time. Nobody understood a word of French anymore. And the notices on the wall: sometimes it seemed like all of Utrecht had become illiterate and unable to read, let alone understand, those things...
    Last edited by The Lawspeaker; 07-13-2010 at 10:41 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Asega View Post
    Nice Death Rune at the top of the church.


    Let these words be as sand in the cogwheels of reason,
    as a malign disturbance in the sustainment of universe,
    and let each quark of this degenerated microcosm
    stand as a citadel of cold and deliberate hatred.
    Let there come a glorious error in the patterns of the world.
    Let the tainted foundations of reality crumble
    and let us hope nothing comes afterwards,
    so the gravest of mistakes we all blindly wander in
    will finally come to an end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asega View Post
    That's not entirely true. During the Golden Age this country also had an influx of immigrants (particularly from the Southern Netherlands, Germany and France.. but also for instance from England and Scandinavia) - and also Jews from mainly Spain and Portugal.

    The numbers are a lot lower then todays mass immigration though and those immigrants simply mixed into the Dutch population and only some names remain. Dutch tolerance existed more out a notion of live and let live (that even kind of extended to Catholics. For instance: Catholicism was banned by law by the States General but all over the country there were hidden churches and the sheriffs knew exactly where they were and as long as the Catholics paid there taxes like anyone else they were treated relatively equal before the law or they were at least tolerated). They could forget about holding public office though (and the same went for people of different believes then the official Reformed Church).
    But apart from some minor issues that was relative tolerance and a freedom of religion, press and conscience which really sets us apart from Europe and the rest of the world for that matter.. where you could be roasted at the stake for being an heretic to the Church (like in Spain).


    This is one of those famous hidden Catholic churches (schuilkerk or officially huiskerk) - the Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Dear Lord on the Attic) in Amsterdam.




    I have walked past this particular one I didn't notice it was a church. But that was exactly the meaning of it. Catholicism was tolerated when it did not arouse "public contempt" as it was called- it had to remain hidden. So yes the attitude was one of "as long as it doesn't concern me.. I couldn't care less" but people generally knew damn well who was a Catholic though But they didn't really treat them any differently. Still it was not done to bring in Catholics into your household.. much less have them as guests.

    And also this one in Diemen:



    So what you got here in this country was a myriad of church communities and sets of believes and all were at least a bit tolerated. (which really sets us apart from the rest of Europe) Now on today: we have been far too tolerant for our own good. Islam is not the glise wallonne, are not the Anabaptists, are not German Lutherans but a group of fanatics hellbent on taking over the place and more and more Dutch are simply beginning to notice it and act accordingly.

    That's what I meant by the reputation of tolerance which originated from Amsterdam, and spread to other regions, but principally in Holland. And indeed, immigrants in those days (17th/18th centuries) really enriched the country, in both financial and spiritual matters. Most of them integrated rapidly and were delighted with their new environment where they were able to live and work undisturbed, no matter their personal beliefs. And of course, they were all Europeans.
    Today's tolerance pleading people compare these eras to the actual situation in the Netherlands, and they argue that we've been a tolerant nation for centuries. But now we're faced with totally ignorant primitives coming from the desert or the jungle without any education but the law of the jungle and in addition hostile to our society. So I got the impression that many Dutchmen/women behave tolerant, but on the inside they're not. So therefore my conclusion was: it's fake. In any case tolerance never existed among the ordinary people, not now, not then.


    Quote Originally Posted by Asega View Post
    Yes.. the Gorinchem Martyrs but those fell DURING the war (1572) after and during the Spanish atrocities in the Netherlands.

    Well.. indeed it was a very interesting attitude. And definitely much more enlightened then what other countries (catholic or protestant) had to offer.
    Another nice detail what I once read about is (in Stad in de Storm by Thea Beackman): in 1672/1673 the French occupied Utrecht and they reopened the cathedral for the use of the Catholics and even proclaimed a bishop.

    In those days Utrecht had 18.000 citizens. 8000 of which Catholics but most of them declined the opportunity to even go to the re-inauguration mass and considered the bishop to be a traitor. The majority of the Catholics used passive resistance against the French by claiming days when the French held maneuvers as "patron days" and holding processions throughout the city-- severely hampering French movements. They did so in conjunction with the protestants who denied the French services because of "issues of conscience". Both the local Waloon church (French and Walloon Huguenots) and the Duitsche Huis were used as centers for the resistance and both were raided unsuccessfully as the local resistance had already hid all the evidence,).
    However, during the French (Napoleon) occupation of 's-Hertogenbosch, St. John's Cathedral (at that time still a Reformed church) was ceded to the Catholics, who had been requesting this. Obviously, they wanted their place of worship back, as Catholics had been the majority there. I thought (not sure though) they even made up the biggest religion at that time, and in that century.
    Later on in the 19th century Catholics were considered to be unreliable and held in contempt. This was also due to the separation of Belgium, and all Catholics were lumped together. In the Netherlands the protestant character of the nation was always emphasized, with the House of Orange as its symbol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
    That's what I meant by the reputation of tolerance which originated from Amsterdam, and spread to other regions, but principally in Holland. And indeed, immigrants in those days (17th/18th centuries) really enriched the country, in both financial and spiritual matters. Most of them integrated rapidly and were delighted with their new environment where they were able to live and work undisturbed, no matter their personal beliefs. And of course, they were all Europeans.
    Today's tolerance pleading people compare these eras to the actual situation in the Netherlands, and they argue that we've been a tolerant nation for centuries. But now we're faced with totally ignorant primitives coming from the desert or the jungle without any education but the law of the jungle and in addition hostile to our society. So I got the impression that many Dutchmen/women behave tolerant, but on the inside they're not. So therefore my conclusion was: it's fake. In any case tolerance never existed among the ordinary people, not now, not then.
    Correct. But what happened on a larger scale in Amsterdam trickled into smaller towns like Utrecht and Amersfoort (we still have a 18th century synagogue in the old town).

    I think that the notion of Dutch tolerance is essentially one of 'you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone" and "if you want us to be friends let's not do the same kind of work". Catholics only were respected because they were citizens from the same town or city and still they had to keep their religious ideas private and behind closed doors - nor could they actually join the guilds. And paupers ("het grauw" or "gemeyn"), regardless of religion were never popular even-though there are almshouses all over the country. But I think that indeed "Dutch tolerance" is not real tolerance I think. Just look at the way we gossip about our neighbours How did they say it again in that song "the big question always remains.. from what does he pay his rent ?") ("Vijftien miljoen mensen" by Fluitsma en Van Tijn)
    Not every immigrant of course was the best and the brightest but we have seen some shining examples.. mainly the Brabantic and Flemish financial, artistic and intellectual elite that fled to Amsterdam after the collapse of the South.
    The same went for many Huguenots including some of my own ancestors that fled during the 17th and 18th century.

    But modern immigrants are usually a different story. They don't want to integrate, the do not understand, or care for, the Dutch anyways, and as a consequence they are being shunned even if they are not criminals. They still only have themselves to blame. When it comes to Americans or Western European immigrants I still see that old tolerance.

    But.. in the end I think that the Dutch notion of tolerance is not one of real tolerance but perhaps more a pragmatic stance towards differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
    However, during the French (Napoleon) occupation of 's-Hertogenbosch, St. John's Cathedral (at that time still a Reformed church) was ceded to the Catholics, who had been requesting this. Obviously, they wanted their place of worship back, as Catholics had been the majority there. I thought (not sure though) they even made up the biggest religion at that time, and in that century.
    Correct. But that was during Napoleon. So that was after the Republic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
    Later on in the 19th century Catholics were considered to be unreliable and held in contempt. This was also due to the separation of Belgium, and all Catholics were lumped together. In the Netherlands the protestant character of the nation was always emphasized, with the House of Orange as its symbol.
    Correct. In the 19th century and after the Belgian Revolution religious tensions increased and it took until 1853 for the Catholics to get real equal rights including the restoration of the church hierarchy. Although they had an equivalent of it during the French occupation (Napoleon, not Louis XIV).
    Last edited by The Lawspeaker; 07-14-2010 at 04:44 PM.


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    Default The Dutch: not tolerant, only pragmatic

    The Dutch: not tolerant, only pragmatic

    A bunch of stoned people (perhaps that is whats blurring their minds and making them so liberal?), going everywhere on a bike (because it is cheaper?), eating cheese, raw fish (and an occasional potato) in case eating is really necessary (and boy, the food is bad over there). All this accompanied by beautiful flowers (read: tulips).

    Those are some of the answers I got when I asked my colleagues for their vision on the Dutch. Read on to find what else they said and discover if they are right or wrong.


    Laid back, very (or too) liberal, tolerant, open-minded creative and fun people.

    I have never thought of the Dutch as particularly tolerant. Hence my surprise when so many people feel the need to mention exactly that, once they discover you are Dutch. Usually they have the drugs or abortion or euthanasia or equality policy, gay marriage or the Amsterdam red light district in mind.


    All this exists because of a deep sense of pragmatism rather than tolerance. When something is out there, the Dutch are keen on labelling it and inventing regulations to control it. For drugs, abortion, euthanasia and prostitution policy, the global idea is that policy and regulation make it easier to control. So, the fear of these activities going underground is a reason for the rather liberal policies. By the way, abortion policy in several member States (like Belgium and Spain) is more liberal (meaning it can be done until a later stage in pregnancy) than in the Netherlands.

    Another example of Dutch pragmatism is that criminals must pay taxes in the Netherlands (well, ok only when they are caught doing some kind of lucrative criminal activity, by calling in after-tax). Contrary to Sweden, in the Netherlands paid sex is legal and people in the Adult Entertainment Industry do need to pay taxes like anyone else.


    But also: super-conservative people who cant stand all those hippies visiting the Dam or conformists living in a fish bowl.


    Indeed, there are quite some differences in the country and I am surprised by this level of inside information of several colleagues.


    Blunt with a specific, rather direct sense of humour, which often hurts.

    The Dutch tend to call the things by their name; they are very direct. Knowing that something is there, but denying it or shutting ones eyes to it is something the Dutch do not understand. This practice sometimes seen in other cultures leaves a Dutch person deeply confused. Perhaps also a reason they are not the best diplomats? For the Dutch, yes is yes and no is no. It took me quite some time, working in an international environment, to realise that the absence of an answer can actually mean a no.

    And yes, Dutch humour is great and plays an important role in society with a rather large group of comedians performing in the theatres every season. Traditionally on New Years Eve a comedian is chosen to look back on the year in a live broadcast watched by many.


    Dutch love to travel and can be found in many countries around the world.


    True. Dutch love to travel, in their own or neighbouring countries but also to exotic places. Wherever you go, when you meet a fellow traveller, 50% chance it is a Dutchmen (other 50% chance it is someone from a Scandinavian country). Dutch also tend to think they speak languages well, which is definitely not true. But the Dutch compare themselves to big surrounding countries like the UK, Germany and France, hence the misunderstanding.


    Dutch are greedy penny-pinchers

    According to the Flemish; copper wire was invented by two Dutch people fighting for a coin. It is true that in daily life the Dutch tend to consider more carefully than others what they spend their money on. However, the Dutch tend to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. When it comes to more complicated financial products like mortgages and insurances, the Dutch are not all that well informed and for instance tend to be over insured.

    And no, the Dutch are in general not greedy. Compared with other countries, the Dutch do give a lot more to good causes and charity (last year 88% of all households gave to a charity) and the amount spend on development aid is also amongst the highest in the EU.


    Dutch eat bad food

    What is served for dinner in the average family (especially among the older generations) is indeed not that tasty. Eating is seen as something that needs to be done (preferably in 30 minutes) in order to take in some calories in to keep on going and before all the other activities (sports, voluntary work) in the evening can take a start. But: like several other Nordic countries that may have a similar reputation, the cuisine is not hindered by the (by a Dutchman invented) Law of the handicap of a head start .

    So, in compliance with the principle of the law, indeed the nicest and most inventive restaurants I had dinner were always in Nordic countries and not in the Perigord where the first day you enjoy your meal and after the third day you only want to flee because all restaurants serve the same success story.


    The Dutch are sturdy; love extreme sports as well as riding the bike

    One of my colleagues says he read on the internet that since the use of bikes is so smartly encouraged, the Dutch have better health and body shape than the rest of lazy Europeans. He was not the only one mentioning the good body shape of the Dutch (which is very true of course). Another one noticed that the Dutch tend to like sports under extreme circumstances. It is true that the Dutch also take the bike when it is raining or storming and in rural areas it is completely normal that school kids ride 45 minutes back and forth to school every day.


    Super-organised control freaks.

    Yes, the Dutch tend to think that things are well-organised in their country and are rather proud of it. Especially when encountering in their eyes -poorly organised situations abroad. Being practical and efficient is appreciated.

    Funny enough, whereas being well-organised is a pride for the Dutch, I heard in a course on working in a multi-cultural environment last year that for people from southern Member States, this -perhaps Nordic- efficiency at work was the worst thing they could come up with when asked to describe something negative about another culture. It takes away all the fun


    And according to the Dutch themselves


    I also asked some Dutch colleagues how they perceive the Dutch. Presumptuous, ill-mannered and overregulated is what they said after going on to discuss whether or not a Dutchman could be proud of the Delta Works achieved by other Dutchmen. Oh, another thing: in the Netherlands, big monumental constructions like the Delta Works or the Afsluitdijk are always very functional in the first place .

    On holiday in the Netherlands a while ago, I noticed that the cycle path had two bikes painted on it. It took me some thinking to realise this was in order to indicate that the cyclists could come from two directions on this path (usually there is a cycling path on each part of the road but not here). So: overregulated? Perhaps a bit. While looking for an accompanying photo, I found there is actually a centre of expertise on bicycle policy in the Netherlands. However, whereas one of my colleagues pointed out parents are scared to death when their youngsters go off on holiday to Amsterdam; bear in mind the Netherlands is one of the Members with the lowest traffic mortality in the EU!

    Source: Writing for (y)EU (8 February 2010)


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    How similar would you say Dutch culture is to northern Germany? The Dutch seem like a conscientious people, almost like the Scottish in some regards with money. But quite honestly, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that most of the general populace would look at Amsterdam, and infer that the rest of the country is just as liberalized and decadent...
    Last edited by Adalwolf; 05-27-2011 at 02:35 AM. Reason: added a word.

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