On December 21, 2012, the “Long Count” calendar of the Maya people clicks over to year zero, marking the end of a 5,000-year era.
Belying their country’s rational and laid back image, thousands of Dutch people are convinced the date coincides with a world catastrophe, the Volkskrant newspaper reports.
Petra Faile and her husband have bought a life raft and other survival equipment in preparation for Armageddon.
Mrs Faile said she was concerned that immigration was pushing the Netherlands, a low lying country protected by dikes and sea walls, beneath the waves.
“They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse,” she said.
The ancient Maya civilisation, celebrated for its advanced writing, mathematics and astronomy, flourished in Mesoamerica for six centuries from AD300.
Its calendar, which fell out of use after the Spanish conquest, covers 5,126 years and then resets at year zero on December 21, 2012.
Popular books, such as Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization’s End or 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, have spawned a global movement.