Verdonk's code: what expats say
24 January 2006, AMSTERDAM — The recommendation residents only speak Dutch in public has, not surprisingly, generated a lot of comment from expats - in English.
24 January 2006
AMSTERDAM — The recommendation residents only speak Dutch in public has, not surprisingly, generated a lot of comment from expats - in English.
One correspondent from the US had some sympathy for the language rule championed by Immigration and Integration minister Rita Verdonk. "Please learn from our mistakes. America was very great and still is. But we are not standing up for ourselves, as you are trying here. Something has to be done. Language is key to preserve heritage".
But the compulsory flavour of Verdonk's plan did not sit well with an integrated expat from the UK. "I have lived in the Netherlands for some years due to marriage. I speak Dutch because I think I should be able to speak the language of any country I live in."
"But if some fascist minister (who appears more unhinged every time she opens her big gob) wants to tell me that I can't speak English to my British husband on the street, or that my friend can't speak French to her sister etc, then it's time to get outta here," the expat said.
Another expat, adding a comment to an opinion poll on Expatica, expressed sadness the proposal could be made in the Netherlands. "Such knee-jerk reactions are disappointing in a country that once prided itself on perhaps taking too long to come to a decision but which eventually, more often than not, came to the right conclusion."
"The next logical extension will be for the police to have the right to fine people on the street for not speaking Dutch in public. Strangely, this sounds a little like the Islamic police in Iran imposing Sharia Law. Where will it end?"
Another contributor to the poll said many minority groups in the Netherlands are not the intended targets of the proposal. "This is obviously just a battle between the Dutch and Moroccans, and the other immigrants simply get caught in between."
*sidebar1*"I think Verdonk knows/believes that the other immigrant communities will not have a problem with this because they have adapted to their new environment and are already living this code of conduct to a certain extent. I think the conservatives in government are specifically targeting one group because they believe this group is the problem, but does not want to single them out to avoid being accused of discrimination or being politically incorrect."
Most of the reactions received by Expatica have fluctuated between incredulity and indignation. "What was she smoking? It's a global world now and the Netherlands should be proud to be international. It's impossible for kikkerland (the Netherlands) to look inward. She has her head in the sand, or perhaps elsewhere where no sun shines," an expat mused.
Not everyone was so cruel. A contributor to the opinion poll made the following magnanimous suggestion: "Let's nominate Verdonk for some peace prize or something."
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news