A Dutch publisher is peddling a schoolbook aimed at 10-year-olds that asks them to judge if someone is a native or non-native Dutch person. It’s true that Statistics Netherlands claims that anyone who has one or both parents born abroad is a non-native, even if they have the Dutch nationality. In other words, you’ll never be part of the club, so get used to it young.
The statements include phrases such as ‘Fatima prefers to listen to Dutch songs’, ‘Michael has rasta hair’ and ‘Jefte has a great sense of rhythm’. The publisher says the aim is to make it clear to children that the words ‘allochtoon’ (‘non-native’) and ‘autochtoon’ (‘native’) relate to the place where people were born, based on the Van Dale junior dictionary, which by the way is wrong. A child can be born in The Netherlands of foreign parents, making them an ‘allochtoon’ according to the definition. The word ‘allochtoon’ is mostly used in a pejorative way as a synonym of all kinds of unkind words for non white people. For example, I’m an ‘allochtoon’, but if I say that I am, I get a round of laughs and that it doesn’t count. Try it if you’re in a position to do so, see what happens and report back to us.
The word ‘allochtoon’ is currently being phased out by the government and the media because it stigmatises people, a step in the right direction. Sadly, the educational publisher didn’t get that memo since even reading the definition of a word in a children’s dictionary is beyond their reading skills.
Maybe teaching children about how to avoid racism and discrimination altogether would be a much more useful exercise.
Klezmer clarinettist Nathan Dillen and his brother were on a train from Amsterdam to Kampen, Overijssel when he was fined 380 euro for noise nuisance for playing the clarinet.
Unlike many other European countries, the Netherlands rarely has begging musicians in trains, and this was definitely not the case. A few passengers asked to hear the guy play his clarinet and then they checked with everyone else in that carriage if that was OK, which it was.
According to friends who posted the video below online, it was a nice happening until a ‘special investigating officer’ (‘buitengewoon opsporingsambtenaar’ or ‘BOA’) stopped the guys on the platform where they were changing trains and after which the BOA called over the police who fined the musician 380 euro for noise nuisance. And yeah, they missed their train connection and getting home was even less fun.
Music made by begging musicians, which is a rare sight here but does happen, is a no-no and maybe seen as more of a nuisance because it is imposed on people, which was not the case here. There’s also the fact that most begging musicians aren’t Dutch and often illegally in the Netherlands, which doesn’t help public perception. And if I can go out on a limb, the few times I’ve heard begging musicians, it has been clarinet and accordion players playing similar music.
So technically this was noise nuisance, but then it didn’t bother anyone. Dillen is planning to ignore the fine as well.
While 20% of pregnant women from Amsterdam were being refused access to three main hospitals in 2016 because there was not enough personnel and beds, a hospital in the neighbouring city of Amstelveen wants to declare maternity space in their hospital as ‘territory of Amsterdam’ to help them out. In 2015 only 7% of Amsterdam’s women were refused at hospitals, but that was before one major hospital shut down their maternity ward. As well, note that this is happening in a country with one of the highest percentage of home births in the world, about 30%, so imagine if more women decided to give birth in a hospital.
Besides wanting to help out women from Amsterdam with additional maternity ward space, the personnel of Amstelveen understands how much people from Amsterdam want to be able to have ‘born in Amsterdam’ on their children’s birth certificate and passports. To give you an idea, when you meet someone Dutch and ask them if they are from Amsterdam, you rarely get a nod or a ‘yeah’, you often get a ‘I was born and raised in Amsterdam!’.
In a similar vein, in 2011 the mayor of the island of Terschelling wanted to have part of a hospital in Leeuwarden declared ‘territory of Terschelling’ in order to claim more island babies, but that didn’t pan out.
In 2016, some 41 packages with police uniforms were delivered to the wrong people, possibly falling into the wrong hands as well. And Dutch police union APNV are calling this regular occurrence “the tip of the iceberg”.
A few days ago, a man who had quit the force came home to find a package on his doorstep from the police: parts of a police uniform, a package he was never supposed to have ‘received’ in the place. Received is a big word, because the package was left in front of the door in plain view.
Sloppy delivery, you say? For sure. And many of the uniforms are delivered to the neighbours instead or next to people’s dustbins.
Last November around Amsterdam there was a robbery involving criminals impersonating the police wearing actual police uniforms. Geez, I wonder how the baddies got their hands on the uniforms!
The police union wants to stop this type of unsafe delivery and get the police to pick up their uniforms at a police station, but the police claim say it’s too expensive in terms of logistics and personnel costs.
I had a casual talk with a criminologist yesterday who was worried about the police’s image in the media. I wonder if he realised how unbelievable ridiculous the police comes off in this country sometimes.
I work at home and often accept packages for my neighbours who like many people are rarely home to receive their wares. People who are often at home for whatever reason end up playing post office for the entire street. Once the delivery people know you’re at home often, you’re screwed. Sure you can refuse packages, but not without having to defend yourself against pushy delivery people. You get that ‘but you’re at home doing nothing’ look from the delivery person who is ‘just trying to do their job’. In fact, you’ll end up doing their job for them. For a woman in the link below, it was so bad she turned off her doorbell and still had delivery people banging down her door, trying to deliver their packages. And that’s harassment.
I’ve unofficially turned into the package delivery point, and since I believe in getting along with my neighbours, I don’t really mind. Of course, it was terrible when I was on crutches with a broken leg in 2012 and the delivery people would ring and bang on my door, but that was par for the course. It stopped being OK a few weeks back when someone tried to deliver a huge bouquet of flowers to a sick neighbour who wasn’t home. I told the guy I wouldn’t accept it because the neighbour in question had been away for a while and that the flowers would wilt. He tried to convince me that flowers are nice and I could enjoy them until she got back. I told him that if he expected me to deliver wilted flowers to a sick woman just so he could make his delivery, that he was a bit of a dick. He told me again how nice flowers are and I told him he’d better leave before I put in a complaint.
My front door has a sign that says ‘no salespeople, no donation collectors and no religion peddlers’ (see photo), which I thought covered the scope, but apparently not. The woman who was being harassed put a ‘no packages’ sticker on her door, which sounds like a good idea, but Michiel Nieuwkerk from Zeeland went much further and turned a common problem into a business opportunity.
Annoyed at having to get his packages from the neighbours who were never home in the evenings, he set up package pick-up and delivery points with willing neighbours on ViaTim.nl, which charges people for that service. ViaTim service now has 22 points in South Holland and Zeeland and is growing fast.
In Groningen, some 112 failed asylum seekers and asylum seekers waiting on answers who are homeless will soon be housed in an old hotel ship, explains John van Tilborg, Director of the Inlia Foundation in Groningen that works with asylum seekers. They all have a right to a place to stay during the night as well as a shower and a meal according to the Dutch government, but that same government isn’t doing what’s needed to ensure they have an actual place to say, Van Tilborg explains in a recent radio interview in Amsterdam on BNR.
“The State decides whether someone can stay here or not. If someone can stay, they get a resident’s permit from the State and if they have to go, the State has to kick them out of the country or make sure they leave. If that doesn’t happen, then the city is saddled with the problem, like it is now […]. The city has to pay for a problem created by the State and the city has no influence on the situation”.
And the rest is all about cities not getting the money they need from the State to deal with these people who end up on the street. Elections are coming up in March and the outgoing Dutch government has stopped all funding to new housing projects for asylum seekers, leaving cities to figure it out for themselves.
(Links: bnr.nl, dvhn.nl, Photo of the Vluchtkerk church in Amsterdam that housed many asylum seekers)
The city of Woerden, Utrecht has made local news for having the right to open its shops on Sunday thanks to the progressive political parties in their municipal council. The religious parties who were against it and have left (bye!) still live in an imaginary world were nobody works on Sundays except the help. This is just a reminder to anyone who still thinks it’s liberal heaven over here.
It’s extremely disrespectful to claim that Sunday is a day of rest when there are tens of thousands of people working in hospitals, restaurants, shops, public transport, trains, as well as the police, fire brigade, emergency services, ambulances, carers, bars, cafés, theatres, construction and so on. If you don’t want employees to have to work more on Sundays or even weekends, we understand, but if your sole argument is that you want a day of rest and you’re not even fighting for other people’s rights not to be exploited, then don’t go to the shops and please feel to step out of as many municipal councils as you can.
And it’s a wrap: the Dutch world record of playing Game of the Goose is now 80 hours and is in Dutch hands, getting the four guys who played it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
According to Omroep Brabant, the last few hours were exhausting and not much fun any more, but once they had broken the old world record, they got a boost to finish the job. Fighting against the will to sleep was the most difficult part of what they had to do, but they did it.
Some of you probably had enough of board games during the holidays, but four Dutch friends are going to attempt to play Game of the Goose (‘Ganzenbord’ in Dutch) for 80 hours in a row, as a way to kick off the year.
Four friends from Vught, Noord-Brabant are trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records: they started playing today and plan to keep going until Friday. They do get a five minute break every hour.
The current world record of playing Game of the Goose is 62 hours. The merriment is taking place in the scouting building of Vught-Noord and you can even watch on a livestream.