Public Management

Because it is the law

August 21, 2015

As is often the case with different cultures, Edith Hooge noticed how differently people deal with laws and regulations in the United States. What can the Netherlands learn from that?

During my trip this summer along the U.S. West Coast and through "canyon country," I noticed again just how much countries can differ in their laws and regulations. I also noticed how such laws and regulations relate to the perceptions and behavior of people. 

In the U.S., for example, you are constantly warned about danger. Sometimes this is very useful, such as the warnings, instructions, and prohibitions that are issued by the government to campers and hikers in National Parks. But I have also seen many - in my view - unnecessary warnings and guidelines, which were phrased hysterically and sometimes with comical effect. In swimming pools, for example, there were signs stating: "Do not breathe under the water," "Do not use the pool when you have diarrhea," or "Adults should not swim alone." Or, in the restroom: "Toilet water is not safe for drinking," and "Please do not step on the toilet seat. Thank you." 

Read the full blog by Edith Hooge.
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