If you’ve ever moved to a new country, you understand how challenging it can be. Not only do you have to learn a new language and all about a new culture, but you’ll also have to relearn how to do basic things like how to shop for groceries and get to work. But you know what’s even worse than that? Navigating all the hate, negativity, and hurdles the local people throw at you.
Yes, you read that right. The amount of hate internationals get in the Netherlands is insane. I myself get so much hate the minute I say anything bad about the Netherlands. This isn’t only online; it happens in person as well. And of course, there are plenty of Dutch people who are extremely positive when it comes to welcoming internationals, but unfortunately, many are the opposite.
Change Is Never Easy
It is hard to see your country change from being very Dutch to being filled with people that are different than you. It’s hard to see your native language spoken less and less in your own country. It is hard to see people come to your country and not even bother to learn your language or live outside of cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Change is hard. Feeling unvalued is hard. Believe me; I get it.
But the reality is, you need us. Companies like Philips, Heineken, ASML, Unilever, and many more need people to come from abroad because there aren’t enough Dutch people to fill those positions. You also need people from Eastern Europe who actually don’t mind working hard to pick your fruits and vegetables in the fields and do those hard labor jobs that you don’t want to do. You won’t be able to convince me that many Dutch people want to work in the fields all day, making 11 euros an hour or so. We both know most Dutch people want comfortable jobs that pay better.
You Would Probably Do the Same
I don’t believe for a second that if you got a fantastic job offer abroad, you would turn it down because you don’t want to fill another country with another foreigner. Plenty of Dutch people would love to work in Silicon Valley to make a shit ton of money. Wait, there are actually plenty of Dutch people working there doing exactly that! And if you fell in love with a foreigner, you may also decide to move to his/her country like I did.
How many foreigners should be let into the Netherlands will always be up for debate. And that’s fine. I get your point of view. The Netherlands is overcrowded. That’s a fact. But if you don’t like us, then vote for things to change. Don’t hate on us for helping your economy and chasing our dreams.
People That Don’t Even Make an Effort
I get your frustration beyond feeling invaded. So many internationals don’t bother learning Dutch or getting outside of their international bubble. But thousands of us actually take the time to learn your language. Thousands of us marry into Dutch families and actually learn about your culture. It’s okay for us not to understand or even like parts of each other’s culture as long as we respect each other.
It is absolutely disgusting the kinds of comments Dutch people leave on social media posts about something that someone doesn’t like about the Netherlands. We are all allowed to have an opinion, including you. But there’s a respectful way of doing it and a disrespectful way. When you say things like, “Go back to your country,” or “Go back to America if you don’t like it here,” it only makes you sound like an idiot and a bully. There are pros and cons to living in every country, no matter where you live. There’s no need to sugarcoat everything.
I asked my followers on Instagram what they wish Dutch people knew/understood better, and this is what they said:
Paracetamol can’t cure all the health problems. -kurginaa
Not all Eastern European expats are bad–the reactions I would sometimes get are sad. -martina_marinovaa
Being honest while saying their opinion, it might hurt others. -shadia_journey
Learning a different language is not easy. Almost all of them speak English and some also German. They think everyone had the same education, and it must be so easy to learn 3 languages. -yulafliomlet
Empathy. It’s a skill we can all learn. -bluecoconut_store
Asking how you are does not mean you are fake and not interested in how they actually are. -bandohan95
The importance of customer service. -dasha.dlk
Food is awesome and not only to survive. -belenelgueta
That as expats, we struggle. -michalina.sk
My Parting Words
Next time you think about hating on a foreigner because you don’t like that they live in your country or whatever, kill them with kindness. You’re allowed to have an opinion, but please be respectful about it. Use your words wisely. No one wants to hear how much you hate them. And you’re not accomplishing anything by being hateful.