Tiger Woods has Dutch ancestry, but do we care?



I have no idea why this happens or why this is considered news, but there’s this ‘game’ the print media plays every once in a while which I call “Find the Dutch person” (“Zoek de Nederlander”). Allow me to explain.

Way back when Britney Spears was on the straight and narrow, Dutch Daily De Gelderlander had an article that read something like “Britney Spears has Dutch blood” and went on to explain she had ‘family’ in the province of Gelderland on her father’s side and that made her one fourth Dutch. This was seen as a source of pride.

Then right after Estonia won the Eurovision Songfestival in 2001, the papers said the win was “half Dutch” because Dave Benton was born on the island of Aruba, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This came off more like envy because the Netherlands’ last win in the Songfestival dates back to 1975.

And today, popular Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that Tiger Woods has Dutch blood because he is – get ready for this – one eighth Dutch! And apparently he’s really proud of being ‘multicultural’ too. He’s about as ‘African-American’ as Barack Obama is. That was sarcasm.

What’s wrong with the Dutch people ‘we’ (you) already have? As a Canadian, I go out of my way to point out that someone is Canadian or else they will be classified as American or French. Back in 1996 De Telegraaf called actor Leslie Nielsen American and sometime around 2004 some Flemish exhibition centre boasted about the great American singer Neil Young. I couldn’t let that last one slide.

Although there are tons of great Dutch people, islands and all who are surely a source of pride, I just cannot understand this identity soul searching. Even Anne Frank was seen a source of Dutch pride although she was German, while the growing amount of populists in the Netherlands are still not sure any Dutch person with a second passport qualifies.


  1. I have absolutely noticed this same phenomenon and I was considering posting on it around the time ‘Obamamania’ struck.

    What, you didn’t know Obama is really a Dutch, not Kenyan name?


    Never let a little thing like overwhelming evidence to the contrary get in the way of national pride…

    Comment by Toby Sterling — November 17, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  2. Nooooooooo! :)

    Comment by Orangemaster — November 17, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  3. Didn’t you know Holland is the center of the world
    (and the world is flat)… ;)

    Comment by Jeroen Mirck — November 17, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  4. Oops they did it again (little joke about Britney.)

    It’s not so much a search for identity as a search for relevancy. The Dutch don’t need to claim Britney or Tiger to be relevant. Walking the walk of progressive values is relevant enough.

    Comment by Neil — November 17, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  5. Holland isn’t the center of the world, Gelderland is :-P

    Comment by Eric — November 17, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  6. This is the typical Dutch hypocrisy I have been fighting against for years now. I am also from Aruba and here in the Netherlands we are called “allochtoon” which means something like not originally Dutch, although nearly 90% of the Antilleans, Arubans and even the Surinamese have Dutch blood, and some of them more than half, still they call us here allochtoon and never refer to us having Dutch blood as well.

    Only when there is a personal gain/fame for the Netherlands like e.g. Dave Benton or someone like Francisco Elson, who is playing American professional basketball [NBA], then they will claim the Dutch origin of that person and then they are so proud, so proud.

    When there is money in between, they forget totally the difference of color and then a great grandmother will be found as far as possible, but she will be found, you can bet on that.

    While we the normal people living in the Netherlands, being also of Dutch descent, are totally ignored. I call that Hypocrisy.

    I guess that if Tiger would request the Dutch nationality on the basis of that 1/8 they would give him the Dutch passport in one day, because they are so proud.

    Comment by Bally — November 17, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  7. William Shatner is Canadian. Are you proud? :P

    Comment by Barry — November 18, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  8. He’s from Montreal, too! McGill University has a building named after him :)

    Comment by Orangemaster — November 18, 2008 @ 11:06 am

  9. Lighten up, Bally, most of Huis Oranje is allochtoon as well.

    Comment by Darth Paul — November 18, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  10. As an allochtoon living here for nine years this month (American), it’s a habit of the Dutch that I absolutely detest and sets my gag reflex in motion. “The Dutch this” “the Dutch that.” I can’t wait to leave this pothole of a county that calls itself a country. And good healthcare? Yeah, I’ve been waiting a year and a half for my brain surgery, that’s good, right?

    Comment by Immigrant — November 20, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  11. Hello everyone,

    To begin I want to state that I’m a proud Dutchman. Regardless the many flaws we do have -like being a little arrogant, rude and sometimes grumpy- I do think we have many things to be proud of. Indeed someone already stated our progressive values. Fact is that we mustn’t think of being ourselves the centre of the universe. But I don’t think we do. In fact, when getting abroad, especially when going to the US, only a few people really kno what Holland stands for. Most of the times there is even confussion about me being from Holland or the Netherlands. Experiencing this makes it that the Dutch, though proud of their origin, are quite aware of their status in the world nowadays.

    To end up I want to direct myself to Bally and Immigrant. First says it’s typically Dutch to acknowledge Dutch origin when there’s a gain. I personally disagree. Maby a lame remark but don’t we cheer for foreign athletes who are Dutch by origin? People like Bart Veldkamp, Churandy Martina (who’s from the Antillees) of Anthony Nesty. Point is that when someone like Elson decides to come out for the Netherlands you can’t blame us, it’s his choice. So before stating how hypocrit we are you first need to take a look at yourself, maybe it’s your frustration that these persons don’t represent you.
    Secondly I would like to say that when Immigrant want to leave our country he’s free to go. Why linger here when you hate it with us. I mean, I won’t shade a tear. Though it’s funny that he points out a Dutch ‘habit’ of which he and his fellow-Americans are famous for, namely to make themselves so very important in almost every conversation. By the way, how is healthcare in the US these days?

    Comment by Frank — April 25, 2009 @ 7:59 am

  12. […] you know it — Dutch. At the risk of being told by friends that I’m playing ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (“Find the Dutch person”), a friend, Maurice Sikkink told me about one of the many sites he […]

    Pingback by 24 oranges » Make polaroids out of your own pics — November 11, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  13. This thread is better and better with all the comments. My distant relatives came from around here, picture.

    Comment by Neil — November 12, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  14. picture

    Comment by Neil — November 12, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  15. Dont make me laugh! This is insulting to us Luo! Obama is a dutch name? Am Kenyan Luo and if you doubt the origin of Obama, i suggest you go to Kogelo-Kisumu, Kenya!!!! Wacheni kuandika maneno hamjui…inaudhi.

    Comment by Akinyi — December 5, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

  16. funny. i am southeast asian with a dutch boyfriend and he is always so proud of being from the netherlands… most conversations would start with… “In holland…” of course, he wraps it up with variations of “everything is better in holland.” go figure.

    Comment by gypsygirl — July 5, 2011 @ 1:24 am

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