Chinese Dutch are the Dutchest

In response to the rising xenophobia in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands, the Dutch government wants every immigrant to take an assimilation test. This test queries the student on social mores, history and political structure of the country, and practical matters such as where to pick up your driver's license.
In a TV show, TV viewers and specific ethnic or cultural groups in the studio were invited to take the test. The groups were:

  • Chinese immigrants (predominantly working in the restaurant business)
  • ex-colonials from the Netherlands Antilles (who are being blamed for a lot of urban crime)
  • people living in the rural and fairly conservative province of Zeeland (who were all dressed in folkloristic outfits)
  • Dutch celebrities (partly 'imported')
  • students
  • volunteers who organize Queen's Day celebrations in their city or town
  • people who work in refugee centers, deciding about the status of asylum seekers.

The results were embarrassing. No group in the studio passed the test. Participating TV viewers on average also flunked. The studio group that did the worst were the people from Zeeland and the Queen's Day crowd, while the best groups were the Antillians and... the Chinese. That's right, Chinese immigrants are more Dutch than native Dutch people.
I went to the test's Web site (only in Dutch, of course) and left the following comment (in Dutch):
If Dutch people flunk their own assimilation exam, the questions must be wrong. I also suspect that a Maroccan who passes this test with flying colors will still not be invited for coffee in most Dutch people's homes. Maybe it's the Dutch who need to take an exam. The one question to ask: "What used to be Holland's biggest virtue? (a) Thrift (b) Tolerance (c) Entrepeneurial spirit."

The correct answer is left as an exercise to the reader.

Posted by cronopio at 01:39 PM, December 29, 2005