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01/26/2006 06:18 PM ID: 52479 Permalink   

Learn to be Dutch


Verdonk, The Netherlands Immigration and Integration Minister, supports the introduction of a national code of conduct to highlight the Dutch identity for integration and citizenship purposes, as the non-Dutch do not know how to be a Dutch resident.

This national code will be similar to the recently introduced Rotterdam Code. The Rotterdam Code consists of seven items the residents of Rotterdam should abide by in their daily lives, including speaking the local language on streets and at home.

Verdonk indicated that the national code should also include items such as anti-discrimination and equality between men and women. The Minister will sit with experts to determine what is important and what the Dutch identity is.

    WebReporter: sylph Show Calling Card    
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  What about  
Visting the Open Hash Market?

Good, bad?
  by: jediman3     01/26/2006 06:28 PM     
  Gotta love 'em  
Haha not a totally bad idea, makes me proud to be Dutch :-D
  by: SpeedRacer   01/26/2006 08:28 PM     
You're Dutch? Oh how I envy you! Coffeeshop anyone?
  by: banshee9898     01/26/2006 09:02 PM     
  equality between men and women  
I cannot see the majority of muslims
who live in The Netherlands to like this.
  by: Gatsby   01/26/2006 09:53 PM     
what part?

just curious some friends dabble about over there and i was gonna make my way over there around june.

cant wait to eat some good space cakes and wrestlin the mis cladden' youth for a choclatey hash bar of goodness!
  by: OptIcalIllusIoN   01/26/2006 10:04 PM     
  @ optical  
You need to go to the "doors" cafe - there are 2 go to the one farthest from the town center - the guys there are great... and if you stay in a hotel choose the A4 Schiphol! and if you are going with a partner... choose the Aztec room!!! It has a jacuzzi hot tub in the center of the room!
  by: juleslady     01/26/2006 11:49 PM     
I don't think the entire country can be categorised as having two "doors" cafes, and a single town center.

As for the marihuana, it's really not that big a deal. The Dutch have the freedom to smoke it, and most choose not to. The drug policy is just one of the things Dutch people have to be proud of.

I honestly can't think of a country more deserving of the title 'Free world'. Name a liberty, and the Dutch are sure to have it.
  by: Ec5618   01/27/2006 12:16 AM     
What about..

Walking around naked, with 1 sock on the left foot, wearing a feathery hat, on a tuesday, with a full moon, eating strawberry sundaes from McDonalds?
  by: jediman3     01/27/2006 12:21 AM     
I can't think of a reason you wouldn't be allowed to do this, though it might be practically impossible to be naked while wearing a sock and hat.
  by: Ec5618   01/27/2006 12:29 AM     
Sorry, I'm Dutch but I reside in the States...
  by: SpeedRacer   01/27/2006 02:00 AM     
  there's some irony here ...  
... something about being proud of your country's liberties, then introducing a program that seems to be aimed at telling people how they should think.
  by: l´anglais     01/27/2006 07:11 AM     
  Good Idea!  
In compressing their values into 7 items, I think the Dutch may be over-simplifying their culture. However, I really like the idea of these 'cultural standards' for immigrants. I'm Canadian and we process hundreds of thousands of immigrants per year. In doing such, and in allowing everyone to maintain their own culture, we seem to be losing our own. Case in point: Merry Christmas is offensive... so Happy Holidays is what we display at work...

  by: x Mugs x   01/27/2006 08:33 AM     
  I love Holland  
I enjoy visiting friends there, i am however ashamed about going out at night watching my countrymen acting like drunken morons.

  by: koultunami     01/27/2006 10:49 AM     
  @Ec561& Mugs  

The thing is, the average Dutch person does have an issue with their country being
known for its lenient drug policy, as the country is much more than a pot smokers haven.
And they would gladly get rid of this image as quick as they can providing they can do
so without any monetary losses.

Try opening a coffee shop in any other city apart from Amsterdam, and see how liberal the reactions would be of the average Dutch person

It’s really funny to see what people consider liberal. Against any country that allows you to indulge in vices such as drugs and sex is a good thing. What about the other aspects of life?

@x Mugs x
Not a bad idea knowing themselves what it is to be dutch, but this is an extract from the interview with the person responsible for the Rotterdam code and it sort of gives you an dea of what exactly he has in mind:

“The anchorman also asked a hypothetical question which was: "If two Turkish girl's are in the metro speaking Turkish, are they in violation of the code"? Geluk stated that they would only be in violation if they were speaking hard enough for anyone around to hear them. Then everyone would have the right to approach them and ask them to speak Dutch as they were speaking too hard and are being very annoying to the public around them.”
  by: sylph   01/27/2006 01:56 PM     
I'm inclined to disagree with part of your post. Few Dutch people take issue with the Dutch drug culture, though most would prefer not to have a coffee shop next door, for obvious reasons.
Though you're right in saying that most Dutch people feel they shouldn't be known solely for their drug policy.

I'm puzzled by your next comment, in which you seem to have difficulty with the concept of liberalism. Yes, liberalism is about freedom.
Freedom to choose to have sex for example, and the freedom to abstain from same for any reason. "What about the other aspects of life?" You are free to indulge in those as well. Pursue morality, if you wish. But don't expect your government to force your moral code onto others.

Finally, yes, the person responsible for the Rotterdam code sounds like a bigotted idiot, though the impression I get is that such mentality is not altogether uncommon in politics in Rotterdam, at the moment, in response to the perception that a large number of immigrants are causing problems.
Ideally, in my opinion, all residents of the Netherlands would be taught Dutch, and would be aware of the fact that speaking loudly and/or in a foreign language is frowned upon. Failure to be able to speak the language can be sanctioned, failure to continually speak Dutch cannot.
Similarly, all residents would be aware that in the Netherlands, men and women have equal rights, and homosexuality is accepted, or atleast tolerated.
  by: Ec5618   01/27/2006 03:04 PM     
When I refer to the Dutch I'm not only talking about the people who live in the big cities (Amsterdam and such). This is an opinion I hear from the majority of the Dutch I encounter, the country folks and the city people. They do actually see it as attracting the less favourable crowd of the world. What they do with that opinion is another matter.

My comment re liberal could have been more clear. It’s in reference to persons commonly calling a country liberal because of policies on prostitution, drugs and homosexuality, esp where these issues are treated with disdain in their own countries. Fortunately, my idea of what makes a person or country liberal encompasses more areas of life than just the vices. My opinion on any of these subjects really doesn’t come into play here, as it adds nothing extra to the discussion.

No doubt, two decades ago, the country would have been considered the epitome of liberalism, but these days that’s a term I’d be careful to use for Holland without knowing the inner workings of the country.

Ahhh… bigots setting policies, which will be used nationwide sounds very promising indeed.

I’m having difficulty with the following:

“Ideally, in my opinion, all residents of the Netherlands would be taught Dutch, and would be aware of the fact that speaking loudly and/or in a foreign language is frowned upon.”

I remember the days when the Dutch called the French arrogant because they want everyone to speak French?

Does that mean we will all spend the rest of our lives correcting each other: The Dutch reprimanding the immigrant for not speaking Dutch and the immigrant reprimanding the Dutch for speaking loudly? I can picture it already a country of people walking around scowling at each other.
  by: sylph   01/27/2006 05:00 PM     
This is a delicate matter, obviously. There is no need for every immigrant to embrace all generally accepted Dutch values (with respect to drugs, women, homosexuality, agression, authority) as his own, and I do hope that was never the intent of this National Code of Conduct. Nevertheless, I feel they should be aware of certain social codes (so that they may conciously choose to break them, instead of breaking rules they were never aware of) and they should be able to carry on a conversation in Dutch, so as to allow for communication.

I don't think it's particularly arrogant to want to be able to communicate with people in your own country. Immigrants should be discouraged from building small idealised pockets of their home country in another country.
  by: Ec5618   01/27/2006 05:27 PM     
  We could use rules like that in the US...  
Like, no talking on your cell phone in elevators, while glaring at the other people in the elevator for talking.

SUV drivers are not allowed in the fast lane. You drive a midget semi, move over. Oh and if you don't have 7 kids, 3 dogs, and 2 cats, you are not allowed to own an SUV. You really don't need a giant car, for just yourself.

No driving with your cell phone. I'm tired of seeing people unable to stay in their lane, while talking on a cell phone and eatting their lunch, while reprimanding their kid in the back seat.

Oh and no more frivilous lawsuits. If you can't figure out that your hot coffee is hot, or that hair dryers don't go in the bath with you, you desirve whatever comes your way.
  by: tellgar     01/27/2006 08:29 PM     
  anti-discrimination ?  
a French couple living in Holland should start speaking Dutch to each other - great, as long as they don't have to cook the Dutch way or be humoristic and genereous the Dutch way.
What about forcing all the Dutch invaders of France in July to speak French (and not bring their food stuff in caravans that clutter the European highways)
  by: beaumarchais   01/27/2006 09:29 PM     
If i move to a country where they speak something other than English, they dress differently, they eat different foods, etc, etc, and I chose to keep the "culture" of the country I am frome, why did I move there? If I wanted everything to be like the US, why not stay there? I find the idea of immigrants coming to an other land, and then insisting that everything in their life stay the same except: the political persecution, economic stagnation, social repression - quite strange. We invite you come into our country, we are happy that you bring new cultural influences, but we are not happy that you want to create foreign "islands", or "colonies" in our land.

We are having this debate now here in Ontario. Some Muslim/Islamic groups want that Sharia law be taken into concideration when deciding family law cases that involve Muslims. I think this is a stupid idea, if you want sharia, then move to or stay in any of a number of Islamic countries that practice it.

Saying that the Dutch are intolerant because they want to preserve the basic Dutch cultural characteristics that have made the country the haven for freedom and liberty seeking immigrants from despotic and repressive regimes it is, is both unfair and with out merit.
  by: archeon of thrace   01/28/2006 04:44 PM     
Remember, this is something different from just being on vacation in a country, these people are living here and have a permanent residency. Can't say I really condone the law, it seems a bit harsh really, but I can understand that people would want it. Though it does intrude into the private lives of people by making them adhere to all our ways and I have never been disturbed by anyone talking anything else than Dutch, some people might want it.
  by: Zygo   01/28/2006 11:21 PM     
  archeon of thrace  
I think it's cool that there are countries tolerant enough to allow someone to immigrate there and continue to live their life with their own values, free from persecution. That's what freedom really is all about -- unless a person trods on other people's freedoms, you're free to live however you want. And I don't think anybody should be forced to surrender their identity in order to not live under tyranny.
  by: l´anglais     01/29/2006 01:20 PM     
As I understand it, this isn't about forcing immigrants to become Dutch, but rather to make it easier for them to relate to Dutch culture.
I don't think simply teaching them Dutch and teaching them about Dutch values and customs qualifies as tyranny, any more than compulsory primary education is tyranny.
I'm afraid I agree with archeon of thrace's sentiment, if not with his tone. Immigrants are free to maintain a cultural identity of their own, but they should be discouraged from creating micronations. And they are already legally prohibited from, for example, subjugating or physically abusing women. I don't see how forcing them to learn the reasoning behind such laws qualifies as tyranny.

Naturally, this is a delicate matter. Creating rules to preserve freedom certainly seems counterintuitive.
  by: Ec5618   01/29/2006 01:43 PM     
I meant the tyranny immigrants flee from -- not tyranny in their new homes.
  by: l´anglais     01/29/2006 03:19 PM     
I noticed that, but somehow got the word stuck in my head. I apologise for the confusion.

There are no societies without rules. I will repeat my previous comment:
"I honestly can't think of a country more deserving of the title 'Free world'. Name a liberty, and the Dutch are sure to have it."
  by: Ec5618   01/29/2006 03:26 PM     
  I was thinking...  
In re-reading my comments I can see how they might seem harsh. Please understand that I do support individual liberties, I value cultural diversity, I myself am an immigrant from a foreign country where English is not spoken. I find it very disturbing when members of my own comunity talk about how much better life was in the "old country".

When members of my community denigrate certain qualities of the Canadian/US culture, qualities like tolerance, acceptance, understanding of other people, I am left wondering why they came here. When asked, these same people usually talk about the economic oportunities that are here but lacking in their "homeland". Now moving for economic reasons are just a valid as anyother, but it must be understood that the country you are moving too has economic opportunities because of it's nature, culture, etc. The immigrant must also be willing to understand, and learn about his new country. This can only be done by learning the language, studying the history, and having "locals" as freinds and neighbours.

There is much merit to the old adage: "When in Rome, do as the Romans." Otherwise stay in Karachi, Cairo, Berlin, Paris, Peking(Bejing), Tokyo, or Moscow.

I am however not letting the majority culture off the hook. Much of this could be avoided, if we provided more assistance to newcomers. Especially in the area of language education, history and geography of their new country, etc. I don't think anyone could object that passing a test, on the history, government, social structures, etc of ones new chosen country to earn the right to become a citizen is too much to ask.

Our society also must acknowledge that there is an underlying xenophobia. The danger is that a good idea like making newcomers, and indead all residents, aware of the culture of the land, can be subverted by elements of the right, by nationalists and neo-fascists, to further thier wishes for a "Dutch", or "German", or "American", or "Canadian", culture and society. And we know that what they mean by this is a white, western european culture. And this not what I would wish and hope for.

It must also be acknowledged that many who would promote cultural preservation, through language and custom, in a foriegn land, are also guilty of harboring xenophobic, and colonial attitudes. White western europeans did not invent intolerance, bigotry, racism, and colonialism. These are to be found in all the world's cultures. It begins when we see members of another family as "other", and makes it's way up the line through village, city, country, nation, and race. It would indeed be better if we began to see everyone as our neighbour and brother. This is however a two-way street!
  by: archeon of thrace   01/29/2006 03:59 PM     
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