March 24, 2006

It may be difficult to comprehend but sometimes the Dutch really do get it right

They recently introduced one of the toughest and challenging citizenship application tests to make sure only people who really, really, really want to come to the Netherlands to live know what the Dutch are like, what they are into and what newcomers are expected to put up with once they have arrived.
The test, according to the Dutch Justice Ministry, requires about 250-300 hours of study - this presuming you actually and actively can speak and understand Dutch to sit the test in the first place. The first part of a test is here if you feel ready to take it now.
I scored 67%, which is actually in line with what a group of Dutch citizens got when they sat the test at a Festival. Those that failed the test were counselled by foreign embassy representatives willing to assist them as asylum seekers. All in good fun, of course.
Some have seized on the content of the accompanying DVD that embassies distribute to new migrants, showing a general and specific introduction to the Netherlands and its lifestyle. Since it contains footage of day-to-day occurences, such as topless sun bathing and male-on-male kissing, it is alleged this is to frighten off any religious fundamentalists from going there. Since a number of countries (including the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) are exempt from the test it's fair to think the DVD will do its work on people coming from less enlightened, non-western societies. But it would be a good idea to run it past any US red state citizens and Lebanese Australians who not long ago rioted against topless sunbathing on Cronulla beach.
It would be a good idea for New Zealand to adopt a similar get-to-know-us DVD for potential migrants, featuring Hero parade floats, Waiheke Island's Nudie Bay and yodelling lesbian twin sisters.
Perhaps that would have scared off such creepy undesirables as Brian Tamaki and Ian Wishart, and made them seek asylum in Howard Land.

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