Becoming Dutch – What Am I?

Becoming Dutch

Recently, a lot of people have started telling me that I have lived in Holland far too long to still be considered an expat. I find this slightly troubling. I was not aware that there was an expiration date on being an expat and hopefully I have not been breaking any Dutch laws by continuing to call myself one. However, even more troubling is the fact that (if it is true) I no longer know what I am any more. If I am not an expat then what am I? The Dutch government still has not sent me a certificate of my official new title (whatever it is going to be) so I simply don’t know. I am very confused and have even started questioning the nature of my own existence. If I am not an expat am I even real? Do I really exist?

No one has been able to provide any answers or help me with this crisis of identity… until now. A recent conversation at the office has helped me find the answers I need. I can now get on with my life because at last I know who and what I am. I can be at peace with my new identity.

“No, you’re no longer an expat. You’ve lived here far too long to call yourself that.”

“But then, what am I? People keep on telling me that I’m not an expat any more but don’t have an alternative for what I am now.”

(After a moment’s thought)
“Now you’re just a Dutchmen who speaks very bad Dutch.”

15 responses to “Becoming Dutch – What Am I?”

  1. Christine says:

    Now, there’s a compliment for you! Colleague must like you, that response is full of Dutch honesty.

  2. Joey says:

    An allochtoon, an immigrant, a foreigner TAKING OUR JOBS…

  3. Laura says:

    Or you’re an Englishman who speaks very good Dutch.

  4. Welp, looks like you need to update the blog’s tagline: “The Story of an Accident-Prone Dutchman Living in the Netherlands.” :P

  5. MikeTheRed says:

    The Dutch government already has a finite measure for an expat: 8 years. After 8 years, the 30% Ruling no longer applies. You’ve been in-country long enough that they want to tax you like a citizen :)

    • Invader_Stu says:

      I never got the 30% ruling. Does that mean I was Dutch all along?

      • PanchoT says:

        If you never had the 30% ruling, you were never an expat, but a resident alien. Since you were a resident alien with EU citizenship, nobody bothered to tell you about this. You see, the Dutch, particularly the Dutch government, care a lot more about expats and _real_ resident aliens than the shelf-life-expired backpackers who wander in from time to time from elsewhere in the EU. Unless they’re from Poland, of course. Or Rumania. Or Bulgaria. And even then the government can’t bothered too much, but Dutch plumbers can (never mind that you _still_ can’t find a good plumber, or any plumber, if you need one).
        Where this difference in solicitude stems from is not clear, but the degree of (dis-)regard of your foreign-ness can be measured quite simply: by the degree of directness you’re addressed with; the relationship is linear and very strong (r^2 > 0.9)
        I know this is all very confusing. But at least you get your polling card for the elections sent home to you. If you wander in from abroad in the UK, you can’t register on the electoral roll, even if you bring your birth certificate, as my daughter can testify.

  6. Amanda says:

    Great question and an even better answer. Almost the British sandwich approach to feedback – bottom layer of bread: You’re worthy of being called a Dutchman. Meat: your Dutch is crap. Top layer of bread: oops your colleague forgot to top it with something else nice…. A Dutch open feedback sandwich.

  7. already know who you are now?

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