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How The Dutch Became A Famously Tolerant Society

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 Jenny Che
ATHENA IMAGE © Guy Bouchet via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

The Dutch tradition of embracing other cultures can be traced back to its golden age nearly five centuries ago.

The Netherlands frequently traded with Spain and Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries, and these relationships pushed the country to be more open, Victor Halberstadt, an economics professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands, remarked earlier this year at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Speaking with Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and author of The Second Machine Age, Halberstadt described the Netherlands as the "nexus" of where the world economy began growing.

"Obviously we were not going to survive if we were not going to be very tolerant to other trading nations, if we were not going to be very tolerant of other cultures, of other religions," Halberstadt said.

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