Where time stood still
Villages like this still exist in The Netherlands, looking like something from a movie, time stood still, the only way to know this really is the 21st century are the city lights that run on electricity - or maybe you notice the double glazing if you're a nerd.
Quiet streets, even on a Saturday, although what you can't see from this picture is that a more generic 'shopping street' is just around the corner. Shops we have in every Dutch village are there, lined one after another, it's where you get your underwear, your shoes, your deodorant, and that one shop will always find you a last-minute gift for that last-minute invitation you got for a birthday that evening.
These photos were taken only a few days before all the realities of Corona kicked in. Only days later we would all be urged to stay home, and maybe max two weeks later we would even have something like a max amount of people allowed to a shop at any given time.
Now, some shops will survive. They probably have a pretty well-known online service. But villages like these are not doing too well, economically speaking. Their shops are struggling to survive, and they live on the tourist seasons, surviving when people from Germany come to celebrate their Easter or Summer holidays, and spending money just because they can.
Each country has places like these: we tend to live in the bigger cities nowadays, and the smaller villages are left with an older generation that shops in the same old shops, but nothing more.
Which parts of the economy will survive?
I'm curious and a bit afraid to see what these places look like after the Corona Pandemic has left the earth. How many survived, and how many are gone. In the big cities new economies are easier to start - young people move in every day and they bring with them new ideas and needs and opportunities.
But the smaller places? That already were struggling before all this happened? They might not have it that easy. Widening the gap between the rich and vibrant cities and 'the rest' of the country.
I noticed one of the smaller shops in my neighbourhood, surviving on people doing workshops and enjoying a high tea once in a while, is now offering high tea packages to take home - trying to keep their shop open even if they can't receive people anymore.
Other restaurants are offering delivery even if they never were a delivery service. As long as they can prepare food and sell it they might collect enough money to pay the rent of their place - for when they are allowed to receive guests again.
But how long will they have to do this?
We don't know. For now they mention April 6th, but I suspect this date will be extended, Denmark is already extending their intervention for at least another week. The Netherlands isn't necessarily doing better.
Let's hope all works out.