Princess stresses positive side to integration
15 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Both the Dutch government and immigrants must respond more positively to integration, Argentinean-born Princess Maxima said on Monday night. Speaking on television show Nova in her first in-depth interview, Princess Maxima said the Dutch government must recognise that there is more to gain from the richness of cultural differences.
15 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Both the Dutch government and immigrants must respond more positively to integration, Argentinean-born Princess Maxima said on Monday night.
Speaking on television show Nova in her first in-depth interview, Princess Maxima said the Dutch government must recognise that there is more to gain from the richness of cultural differences.
"So much goes wrong as regards ignorance and misunderstandings. Simply, we must want to see the richness of integration," she said.
But she also said new arrivals need to be more open towards the process of integration, asserting further that immigrants should not remain on the sidelines and instead accept their responsibility, public news service NOS reported.
Princess Maxima said she understands the situation faced by immigrants. "I myself am an immigrant. But ultimately it is all about your own energy, your own will power. You must not continue to live in your own circle," she said.
Pointing out that she "took her chances", Maxima is trying to "take part" in the Netherlands. Rather than always missing their land of origin, immigrants must make a go of it in the Netherlands.
Admitting that she is not in the same position as most immigrants, Maxima stressed that her special position means she can achieve many things. "I am apolitical, so I can help to bring the parties together," she said.
Deeply interested in social cohesion, the princess envisions for herself a pivotal role in efforts to improve integration, asserting that the monarchy is a symbol of unity.
Maxima intends to focus in the future on third generation migrants: "The third generation is somewhat more troublesome because these people are a little bit in between [their ancestral culture and the Netherlands]".
Previously, she served as a member of the PaVEM Commission, which advises the government on integration issues affecting immigrant women. The commission, which was established in July 2003, will be disbanded in the summer and municipal councils will be asked to implement its findings.
Although she wants to continue working on the issue of integration, Maxima, who is pregnant, also said in the coming two years she intends to focus much of her time on daughter Princess Amalia and her second child, whose birth is due mid-summer.
Maxima has now officially completed her own integration process, having spent time with 110 Dutch institutes and companies.
And she now feels at home in the Netherlands, having first arrived here in August 1999. Maxima remembers the neatness and the amount of flowers the country displayed, while a woman on a bike, with two children and groceries also made an immediate impression.
But the princess — who married Crown Prince Willem-Alexander in Amsterdam in February 2002 — can no longer go about unnoticed in public. She is not prepared to hide though, saying that previous occasions when she tried to escape publicity were terrible. "Why should I hide? Am I doing something that should remain a secret?" she said.
[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news