Betsky, False Flat – Battle Between Man and Nature

In Betsky’s, False Flat the main detail that I kept picking up on was this sort of constant battle between man and nature for the occupation of land. Although the way he talked about the landscape and the surrounding area around him as beautiful and “serene”, the way he talks about how they got it seemed more so like a battle. Betsky talked about the history of the Netherlands and how back in the day it was a swamp area that the people had drained the land and used for farming. However, he goes on the then mention, “then in the fourteenth century nature had its revenge. A series of disastrous floods inundated large portions of the new land.” Not only this, but also when he is talking about his own him that is eighteen feet below sea level and mentions, “were it not for the the dikes and a series of unseen water pumps working away day and night, my house would have disappeared beneath the combined waters of the North Sea and the Rhine.” In this sense I feel as if Betsky talks about the man made structures (dikes, water pumps, etc.) with great pride, but at the same time provides this narrative of having to battle with nature for the land.

This differs from Nesico’s approach where he focuses on how nature is more of a calming place for the Bavink and his friends, and they are battling the changing times where most people are just focused on their jobs and not caring about nature as much. Not only do both authors talk about nature differently, they also talk about the space in Dutch life as different. Betsky is very proud of the things that the people have built, and how, “the Netherlands became a self-invented country.”, where as Nescio would talk about the city with distain saying things as having to live in streets that are way too narrow. For me, both authors provided a different narrative in the sense of how they talked about nature and the space in Dutch life.


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