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Proud of what exactly?



Let’s start on the positive side: Job Cohen, the laidback mayor of Amsterdam on the cover, is popular in a good way, here and abroad. But I’m shaking my head at this new magazine’s cover. I collected some opinions to make sure I wasn’t reading too much into it.

Robin Pascoe over at Dutchnews wonders if anyone at city council realises that ‘proud’ means ‘gay’, and that this magazine with Cohen looking like a dirty old man in a rain coat is not exactly the way to sell Amsterdam as a hot business location. I totally agree, and to make sure we weren’t both reading too much into it, I asked gay Amsterdam politician Laurent Chambon what he thought. He said that it means gay to him straight off, while his partner peeking over his shoulder simply said “really scary”. I also asked Dutch journalist Jeroen Mirck, and he didn’t see the problem at all, except for the dirty old man disposition, of course. Let’s remember that this is an English-language magazine aimed at foreigners, but made by Dutch people.

Besides the gay thing (the Mayor is hetero by the way) and the flasher styling, there’s another questionable layer of meaning to using the word ‘proud’ as of late. It denotes the serious rise in populism plaguing the country. Nowadays, when the Dutch media talks about being proud of being Dutch for example, it automatically excludes any kind of foreigner. There’s even a new populist if not racist political party that has the word “trots” (proud) in their name.

I just don’t get the whole idea of the name. When you’re proud, you shouldn’t have to push it, just like when you’re cool.


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  1. Branko Collin says:

    I thought “trots” meant “diarrhea”?

  2. Eric says:

    I never knew “proud” meant gay to be honets. Never to old to learn. Cohen does look like he is “ready to swaffel” so to speak.

  3. Jay Vos says:

    Well, Cohen certainly doesn’t look hot to trots on the magazine cover. I’d probably do a 180 if I ran into him on the sidewalk. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and for some of the readers of that mag, it might have been their introduction to the mayor and the city. What drugs are they on?
    Bad editorial choice.

    There’s ‘gay pride’, but I’ve never associated ‘proud’ with queer, TBH.

  4. Trashelle says:

    Why not call it “Barf™”?

  5. Neil says:

    Nice post. It’s an interesting way for an outsider like me to learn some things about the Netherlands. “Proud” has second meaning in Dutch… I’ll tell my friends who “sings in the choir”, proudly I might add.

  6. Darth Paul says:

    “When you’re proud, you shouldn’t have to push it, just like when you’re cool.”

    Too true, even if you’re gay!

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