"Dear Little "
In the capitals of the Great Powers, Dutch diplomats school themselves to smile instead of wincing at the question which hostesses all ask sooner or later: "And how is dear little Holland?"* Proud were Dutchmen last week when dear little Holland completed with her own money, her own materials, her own engineers and labor, the largest canal lock in the world, larger than Germany's on the Kiel Canal, larger even than the stupendous U. S. locks on the Panama Canal. Seven million dollars was the cost. The work has taken ten years, forms the last gigantic link in a ship canal connecting Amsterdam with the North Sea and thereby the Atlantic. Extremely farsighted, the Dutch builders have made a lock through which ships of 100,000 tons could passthough the largest ship in the world today is of less than 60,000 tons, and the Statendam, newest and largest Dutch ship, is but a 29,000 tonner.
Ymuiden, on the North Sea, is the small site of the biggest lock. Thither rode two portly women last week from The Hague: motherly Queen Wilhelmina and womanly Crown Princess Juliana, who at 21 has the placid tastes and pious, frugal habits of a Dutch matron.
As Their Majesties alighted a sea of brightly scrubbed faces beamed, broad lips opened wide and powerful lungs roared that grand old Dutch cheer, not "Long live the Queen," but "Hold the sea! HOLD THE SEA!!"
With matronly determination Queen Wilhelmina grasped a handle attached to a long wire, gave a resolute tug. At the other end of the wire the gate mechanism tripped. Slowly open swung two doors of steel taller than the biggest Dutch wind mill. Tooo! Tooo! Tooo! screamed the whistle of a new Dutch liner, the Johan Van Barnevelt (18,000 tons) as she steamed into lock. Doors closed. Sluices opened. In twelve minutes the enormous volume of 3,000,000 cu. ft. of sea water poured into lock. Gates at the far end opened. Out to the North Sea on her maiden voyage steamed the Johan Van Barnevelt, with Royalty aboard.
* Dr. S. de Graaff, onetime Dutch Minister to the U. S., never got over wincing at "dear little." Addressing the International Law Association at Manhattan in 1924 he said with visible emotion: ". . . While I appreciate the sympathy, I take exception to the diminutive, and most strongly object to the 'dear.' At least as far as international law is concerned, I think that my country deserves a better name than 'dear little Holland.' " The area of the Netherlands is 13,208 sq. mi. (about three times the size of Connecticut). Its population: 7,625,938. The Dutch Kingdom in the East Indies is 733,642 sq. mi. (about one-fourth the size of the U. S.) in extent and has a population of 49,534,618.