According to Lubbers “some of the qualities for which the Dutch are known include individualism, energy, curiosity and initiative.” I don’t know where he gets that from, but it’s not a profile I recognise. It sounds extremely optimistic, or applying only to an educated elite of Dutch people.
I would have chosen “pragmatic” as the number one characteristic for Dutch people. After that it’s very hard to think of distinguishing characteristics.
But what prompted his statement? It’s a knee jerk reaction to the statement made by Princess Maxima who said “Dutch society has never been based on one single culture”. Which is true – for a start there are significant regional differences including language, rituals and traditions. There have been waves of migrants through the centuries, and now the Netherlands is host to the second biggest population of Turks outside Turkey.
But Lubbers rejects this notion, claiming that there is a single identity.