Dress codes in nearly every European country, as well as in most former European colonies, require men to wear a necktie. Stylistic descendant of the now-mocked codpiece, the necktie's utter uselessness and ridiculousness go unnoticed by most because of the ornament's ubiquity. But some men are taking a stand.

On December 14, 1998, Prince Claus of The Netherlands, 73 year old husband of the country's monarch Queen Beatrix, was speaking at the opening of an African fashion show in Amsterdam when he did something totally unexpected: he removed his necktie and threw it to the ground in disgust, declaring it "a snake around (his) neck."

The Dutch loved him for it. Newscasters that evening removed their ties in support of the cause. Soon, men all across the country were proclaiming their long-suppressed hatred of the things. The only protesters of Claus' so-called "Declaration of Amsterdam" were fashion designers, who obviously had ulterior motives.

The nascent anti-tie movement, known somewhat jokingly as "Claustrophilia," became international news on December 17 of that year, when the Associated Press ran the story. It's a terrible shame the rest of the world hasn't caught on yet.

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