December 1, 2011

The Polish bring billions to the Dutch economy

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:30 pm

Social Affairs Minister Henk Kamp, known for his unfounded and dare I say xenophobic arguments against Eastern Europeans, is apparently totally wrong about the burden he believes the Polish are to the Dutch economy. Kamp’s usual argument for not being a fan of the Poles, or Romanians and Bulgarians (stlightly different situation because of work permit regulations still in effect) is that unemployed Dutch people should be doing the work they do, which has more to do about his perception of the unemployed in the Netherlands.

According to financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad, the 150,000 working Polish are good for € 1,8 bln towards the Dutch economy and pay taxes to the tune of € 1,2 bln. The research also showed that these workers barely push any Dutch workers out of their jobs. In fact, Kamp reinforces their point by saying that the Dutch unemployed refuse to do this low-wage, difficult work, so of course companies will turn to people who are willing to work.

In a country that likes to see price tags of everything, I suggest Kamp stops with his tired xenophobia and does something about the exploitation of Poles and others in these low-wage jobs. The unemployed aren’t stupid: why should they run the risk of being exploited themselves when they can just get money to stay home?

It seems to me that hard working Eastern Europeans have put a mirror up to Dutch society and the Minister didn’t like what he saw in it.

(Link:, Photo of graffiti in Amsterdam that best translates as ‘F*** the police’ in Polish (with a small typo, i = j), aka HWDP.)

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January 13, 2011

‘Racist’ Dutch carnival song about the Chinese

Filed under: Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:17 pm

Dutch carnival songs are usually catchy, funny, tacky, use bad electronic keyboards and dumbed down enough so that everybody can sing along. After a lot of beer and in the right mood, it can work. However, the past few years have produced songs of a xenophobic and dare I say ‘racist’ or culturally ignorant nature.

In 2007 happy hardcore hit ‘Een bussie vol met Polen’ (‘A bus full of Poles’, a cover of ‘Een bossie rooie rozen’ (‘A bunch of red roses’), set to the tune of Edith Piaf’s ‘La vie en rose’) by Vlemmix & Roos was controversial, but this year a ‘racist’ carnival song about the Chinese community by duo Anita and Ed has taken first place in bad taste.

Dutch Chinese author Lulu Wang (who was probably asked to politely balance out the article, let’s be honest) has no qualms about lyrics like “A Chinese cannot see what’s above or below, in fact, he sees everything through a slit” and everybody wearing traditional pointy straw hats and black braids in the video. She argues that “the song reflects Dutch feelings of impotence toward the Chinese in the Netherlands, who are doing increasingly well.” I guess that’s one way to see things, and that last part is true, statistically speaking. I cannot imagine everyone shares her view, Chinese or not.

What if the song were about Moroccans or Turks? Or Antilleans? Or… Muslims? Think about it while watching Een bussie vol met Polen, paying hommage to the hard working Poles trying to build a life in the Netherlands doing jobs the Dutch won’t do.


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December 3, 2008

Speak English with Poles, don’t bother with Polish

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 11:32 am
Polish sausage

Yesterday on telly (Nova) I saw a report about how Poles were getting on in Rotterdam. Once they showed the Polish food store (ethnic groups are often automatically associated with their food), I watched the rest. What I heard was well educated, normal looking Europeans who just happen to have crappy jobs that apparently pay less than minimum wage in 40% of cases and homes that are overpriced and crowded. As well, some 50% want to stay in the Netherlands because their chances are simply better. Some politicians says this will prepare them for the next wave of Eastern Europeans (Bulgarians and Romanians) who are due to arrive soon. These people are more often than not highly educated, speak several languages and do jobs the Dutch apparently have the luxury to refuse to do. They are not illiterate housewives or too old to integrate.

Then I found this recent article that reads “Poles speak English too well”, which is some weird complaint. On telly, they said that many Poles came to the Netherlands from England and Ireland, so it is logical that they speak some English. The article, however, basically points out that setting up Polish lessons for employers (known as reverse integration and highly criticised) is a waste of time if the Poles speak English. The people setting up these courses could have known this if they 1) bothered to get information from the Polish community like the telly did and 2) looked further in Europe than their own miniscule backyard.

And remember, when the Poles do stay they are obliged to learn Dutch anyways, so communication will be even easier! It seems the municipalities and the people setting up courses could use some serious cultural communication lessons themselves. Poles often speak Polish, some Russian and/or German, English and even other languages like French. Ah but learning Polish was a way to make money which backfired big time hence the complaint.


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