One reason I was relieved to leave the Netherlands behind had to to with the stifling requirements of government-mandated sameness. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of petty Dutch rules that governed everything from what you were allowed to call your newborn to what exact color you were allowed to paint your front door (in Amsterdam's city center, you may choose any color at all, as long as it is a particular shade of dark green).
To my chagrin, I've since learned that forced conformity is the rule in a good number of municipalities in the U.S. too (to say nothing of condo boards and homeowners' associations, which appear to be the favorite refuge of wannabe tyrants everywhere). The mentality is on perfect display here:
A property manager's decision to paint a rundown rental house pink is angering some neighbors, who say the owner is trying to get back at the city. BK Management repainted the house in the New Chauncey neighborhood district after city inspectors said the dwelling needed aesthetic improvements. Chad Budreau of BK Management said the owners originally wanted to install neutral siding but chose paint because of the cost. "We were able to get the paint for a very good price, and the students living there seem to like it a lot. A lot of people have actually called and complimented us on the color," he said.
Katy Bunder, who has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years, isn't one of them. "It's the worst I've ever seen on a home," she said. Bunder says the owners "intentionally devalued" the house.
Which makes zero sense.
I wonder if Ms. Bunder would accuse the owners of these and these homes of having "devalued" them. Me, I think it's kinda nice that not every house has to be painted beige or eggshell-white; though if people like Katy Bunder had anything to do with it, no doubt that'd be the law.