Monday, February 23, 2009


RADIO NETHERLANDS WORLDWIDE on a new Dutch government publicity campaign for foreign residents about learning Dutch :- A non-profit commercial to be frequently aired on television [starting today] shows several foreigners trying to explain something to a Dutch national - and clearly failing to do so. The subtitled spot ends with the caption "real life comes without subtitles", followed by a call to learn Dutch.

Alejandro Pintamalli: "The Dutch government and politicians press too hard for people to learn the language, which provokes a negative response. For me it has always been extremely important to learn the language-but not in this way. This kind of commercial will only backfire."

RNW tags this story: "Dutch society, immigration, integration." I'm surprised they didn't label it "those damn foreigners." More accurate would have been: "racism" and "classism."

It's a patronising one-size-fits-all advertisement, culturally insensitive. Of course, the government wants to appear helpful, but it's their way - in their myopic eyes - of Dutching the UnDutchable. The Netherlands is still a country of white privilege.

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