Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Last year around this time I’d discovered my Dutch nationality was about to turn five years old. There was a party with a cake. This year I am reflecting on my being Dutch again.

Obviously, by acquiring Dutch nationality I didn’t lose all the other national and ethnic characteristics I’d had before. I am never only Dutch or only Russian or only anything else. I am everything I am. All at once. And I cherish this diversity. But becoming Dutch is something I did very consciously. It was something I’d had invested time and efforts in. And unfortunately my being Dutch is the least recognised by the outside world.

Ironically, the more compliments people give me about my being well integrated into the Dutch society, the more they stress I actually do not belong there. Think about it: you never compliment a Dutch person for speaking Dutch very well, do you?

A couple of months ago I have explained a friend of mine what I do as a social media consultant. He was very enthusiastic and sent me a couple of links to social media articles and TV reports he’d come across. My friend is German and the articles were in German. “Thank you for your trust in my ability to understand German” – I told him. “Of course! You are Dutch. All Dutch understand German” – he replied.

Needless to say – I loved the remark! At first it seemed a great compliment to my language skills. Later I realised this was much more than that. This was the first time I felt my Dutch side being truly accepted. Somehow this felt very liberating. Even though this acceptance came from a German. Now isn’t THAT ironic?

Remember this one? Alanis Morissette - Ironic


  1. Vorig jaar had ik dat eens met Y., toen ik zei ik geheel onbewust 'Und jetzt' - goed Duits voor 'en nu', zonder er verder over na te denken dat ze dat niet zou herkennen voor iemand die hier niet is opgegroeid.

  2. @Maarten Ja, dat heb ik ook af en toe. Dat mensen iets in het Duits tegen mij zeggen. Dat zijn vaak dezelfde mensen die mij eerst gevraagd hebben waar ik vandaan kom. ;)


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