Why French trains are faster than German trains
OK, it’s an eleven year old article now, but this analysis in der Spiegel is still roughly correct (the Berlin-Munich line was opened in the past year). Although not covered, the reason trains in Netherland are slow are identical: local politics have too much too say, and the country itself barely reaches a supralocal status: there should really only one high speed train station: Amsterdam. Over half of the population lives within one hour travel, and the rest is simply too rural and spread out for another stop. Geographically stops in Groningen and Maastricht (or perhaps Eindhoven) might make sense, but these cities are not on any (projected) high spead rail lines.
At least there is high speed rail southward, but reasons stated in the above article have not changed: Berlin has no plans to upgrade tracks to make a high speed connection to Amsterdam possible…