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.
Tessa Tippersma from Velp, Gelderland sells a soap aimed at children called ‘Knetterzeep’, roughly ‘Crackling Soap’, which tingles it is used. It’s not a foam, but also not a liquid, and comes in a squeeze bottle with an apple-pear smell.
The original idea came from two students from Arnhem who developed the winning soap for a contest that Tippersma has attended. At some point the students needed to focus on their studies, so Tippersma decided to take over their idea and turn the soap into a business.
Knettersoap is sold in some 250 places and there’s interest from Belgium, Germany and even China. The soap doesn’t need water unlike another soap aimed at children, the SquidSoap, which leaves a print on children’s hand that they have to wash off to prove their hands are clean.
In a Consumer Union video, the kids were a big fan of Knetterzeep because it makes it fun to wash their hands. “The Knetterzeep was a hit, the kids loved it, but it doesn’t really clean your hands”, while showing hands with lots of dirt on them. Tippersma’s idea was to get kids to watch their hands after going to the bathroom, which of course would not be full of dirt, but I agree, soap should clean your hands. The competitor, SquidSoap has a fun stamp on it when you press on the pump to get the soap, but then children only wash the inside of their hands to remove it and not the outside like their should.
Earlier this year, having a drink at certain types of shops started as an experiment in January and February in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, after which some 40 odd smaller cities joined in. The idea is that you’re not supposed to drink somewhere that doesn’t have the proper license, but in the spirit of getting people to the shops, the rules were temporarily relaxed as a pilot project.
However, in the small city of Doetinchem, Gelderland the ‘blurring’ of the laws on alcohol has led to a questionable situation where booze is being served in a children’s clothing shop, which according to STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, claims is crossing the line.
STAP is very much against this ‘blurring’ (the actual word used by the Dutch in English), even more so in a shop meant for kids. I do get the serving a drink at the hair salon and more adult clothing stores, but yeah, I don’t see any real good in serving booze to parents in a children’s clothing store other than getting them to buy more.
Then again, the local government claims that children do not go into the shop in question when alcohol is being served, as it is about evenings for special clients when nobody under 18 years of age can get it, which starts to make more sense.
Regardless, STAP is going to start writing ‘letters on legs’ to borrow a fantastic Dutch expression that means writing serious letters with threats to sue in them.
Students at a school in Spijkenisse, South Holland got sick after their teacher gave them a lecture on street children sniffing glue in Brazil. It’s one thing to try and explain this to kids to get them to empathise, it’s another to have them sniff hazardous glue to get the point across.
After sniffing glue used to remove graffiti, which contains the same toxic substances as the glue used in Brazil, two students were sick: one had to be treated in hospital and one at a clinic, while another six were treated at the school.
The parents were informed of the incident. Why on earth did this even happen, the media doesn’t say, but it seems the teacher didn’t realise that the graffiti remover was toxic. I think the teacher was stupid and irresponsible to say the least.
In a few days Professor Renske Keizer of the University of Amsterdam, 32, will become the world’s first and only ‘Professor of Fatherhood’. Mother of three children herself, she researches the effect fathers have on children in different family configurations and opposes the ‘glorification’ of motherhood in the Netherlands, which constantly downplays the role of fathers in Dutch families regardless of their contribution.
Keizer explains that fathers of low income families play a lesser role than those of high income families and that a lack of affordable childcare, lack of paid and unpaid paternity leave and many other 1950s relics skew the balance between mothers and fathers, with fathers getting the short end of the stick. While Dutch fathers have voiced a desire to want to work part-time like most mothers do but cannot because they are expected to work full time and Dutch working mothers making less than working fathers, it’s tough to foster any change without taking a hard financial hit.
Dutch women entered the job market in the 1970s, decades later than their western counterparts, and the obstacles facing them today stem from the ingrained idea that women don’t need to work to support their families or develop themselves. “Men work to take care of their family, that’s their role. Many women see work as something that conflicts with what they do at home, clean and take care of the children. That’s Dutch culture. You’re a bad mother if you bring your children to daycare more than three times a week, but not a bad father. Society needs to make a change.”
Keize is attempting to see if being a father contributes to raising children in a unique way, but warns that maybe it does not. She explains that generally fathers speak to their children more like adults, while mothers tend to speak to their children more on their level in part because mothers tend to know their children’s capabilities better. However, fathers play a major role in increasing children’s vocabulary. The same goes with reading bedtime stories, something Keizer admits high income families do way more than low income ones: a mother reads a story as it is in the book, while dad makes stuff up as he goes along, triggering children’s creative thinking.
Keizer is also researching LBGTI parents and is very aware of the differences between white Dutch folks and other ethnic groups, hoping that she can attract more diversity to her study.
Watch Dutch kids give their uncensored and blunt little opinions on breakfast foods from around the world. Some of the kids here have bad table manners meant to be cute, a friendly warning to anyone on the misophonia spectrum. And the amount of gel in the little boys hair is also a Dutch thing that nobody understands.
One boy thinks many types of breakfast come from the Philippines. One of the girls calls Vegemite on toast ‘a shit sandwich’ and seems to not have learnt to eat with utensils or have any kind of table manners. A few points go to the girl who enjoys Costa Rican rice and beans for breakfast.
Dutch children in this video eat chocolate sprinkles on toast for breakfast, which is junk food, so I hope their parents feed them real food otherwise, not just hair gel.
For two weeks now Amsterdam Central Station has has a beach with sand left over from the World Cup Beach Volleyball that took place on Dam Square in front of the Palace down the street.
The beach features activities for children, and today it’s about beer pong or as the Dutch put it #kiddybeerpong. The activity has elicited responses that include WTF, kids shouldn’t be encouraged to drink beer and it looks like it’s being promoted by a beer company although it’s not.
The organisers assure us that they will use 0% beer, which is still very questionable and that we should get over the beer part and see it as a game and an excuse to discuss drinking alcohol, the latter sounding like someone who doesn’t have young children.
I wouldn’t want a child chugging any kind of soft drink, juice or fake beer in the sun for a game that is meant to get practice for drinking alcohol in college. If you take away the drinking, I could be OK with it, but I feel this is in bad taste.
Three children reported a man to the police that they believed might be the escaped Mexican criminal Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The three had spotted a man with a moustache sitting in a van on a parking lot on the Paul Kruger road in Ermelo, the Netherlands, last Tuesday. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed El Chapo (Spanish for Shorty), escaped a Mexican maximum security prison earlier this month.
One of the children, 10-year-old Peter, had seen a photo of Guzmán in the newspaper and thought he recognised the trademark moustache the criminal sported at some point in his life.
After they had written down the license plate number of the van, the children biked to Peter’s house to call the police. Peter’s mother told Omroep Gelderland: “They were convinced it was him, he had the exact same moustache. They even knew he had smoked weed and that that is a drug. […] They hadn’t even realised the price on his head”
The police called back later to say they had looked into the matter, but hadn’t located El Chapo. They don’t believe it was him. Mexico has offered a reward of about 3.5 million euro for information leading to the capture of Mr. Guzmán. The US State Departement would also like a word with Mr. Guzmán and have offered a reward of up to 5 million USD for information leading to his arrest.
American broadcaster PBS visited the Netherlands to take a look at Spring Fever, a week of sex education classes for children aged 4 to 12.
Eight-year-olds learn about self-image and gender stereotypes. Eleven-year-olds discuss sexual orientation and contraceptive options. But in the Netherlands, the approach, known as ‘comprehensive sex education,’ starts as early as age 4. You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education. That’s because the goal is bigger than that.
Younger children get taught about the differences between boys and girls, where babies come from, love, and boundaries. This year was the 10th anniversary of Spring Fever Week.
The disturbingly casual Dutch terms ‘black schools’ and ‘white schools’ in the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam refer to schools with ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ and ‘kids that look Dutch’ because Dutch is code for Caucasian and everything else gets lumped into ‘black’.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, ‘black schools’ don’t do as well as ‘white schools’, and smart parents of both groups try to get their kids into ‘white schools’. Many parents will claim to want their kids to go to a ‘mixed school’, but they are only considered good schools when there’s more ‘white’ kids than ‘black’ kids.
Two schools in one neighbourhood decided to challenge this segregation by getting the ‘kids that don’t look Dutch’ to wear T-shirts that say ‘Is this white enough for you?’, so that two ‘mixed schools’ don’t close because more parents are sending their kids to ‘white schools’ in other neighbourhoods. It’s sad that small children are being taught that their skin colour is putting people off, to put it mildly.
Amsterdam is a city that proudly keeps counting how many different nationalities live together in harmony, but when it comes to schools, segregation is commonplace.