Cultural Integration

We frequently watch BBC’s program called Coast, which explores Great Britain’s coastlines, along with those of other nearby countries. One episode focused on the Netherlands, but I missed that episode when it first aired and only recently tracked it down. Watching it this afternoon, I realized that although my Dutch is still limited, my cultural integration has definitely expanded.

The program featured a short piece on fierljeppen, which I’ve written about before. I recognized it immediately, and soon realized that I even recognized one of the athletes! Sure enough, I looked through my photos from the event we went to last year and found the guy in the video, Jaco van Groot. How’s that for integration! Not only did I immediately know what sport they were doing, but I even recognized the athlete.
Setting Up

In another segment of the show, there was a Dutchman used as a local guide during a visit to Scheveningen. (They mispronounced it in the voiceover, something which could have gotten you shot during WWII when the name was used by the resistance as a test to prove that the person actually was Dutch and not a Nazi infiltrator.) While at the beachside town, they enjoyed some raw herring. As I watched and listened to the local, I soon realized that I did, in fact, recognize him, as well! His name is Philip Walkate, and I recognized him from his humourous bits about the Dutch inburgeringscurse (integration course).

And, of course, there was the bit about Dutch cuisine. As they commentators discussed the popularity of Indian cuisine in Britain, I knew immediately that they were going to be talking about the popularity of Indonesian cuisine here in the Netherlands. I knew that meant one of two things, saté or the broader rijsttafel. They went with the rijsttafel, a meal that goes well with my love of a selection of lots of smaller dishes.

I was ridiculously thrilled to recognize the athlete and comedian and to realize that I was very familiar with much of the information they provided, although the story about Texel island up north during WWII was something new and fascinating. My cultural integration is moving right along.

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4 thoughts on “Cultural Integration

    • I think there are three in all. It definitely helps to know a bit of the language and a bit of the culture to get some of the jokes, but even a small bit of knowledge will get some of the humor across. Glad you enjoyed it!

  1. I saw the full programme when it was on and it was rather good to see something I too could identify with too (if you could ignore the glaring and grating pronunciation errors) The island of Texel is pronounced “Tess el” and NOT “Tex el”!!!
    I was a *little* disappointed to see only rijsttaffel promoted as a “dutch” cuisine, sure it’s popular enough, but so is Shoarma (from Egypt) and bitterballen (from Suriname) to name a few other imports.
    OMG the inburgeringscurses clip… WHAT an exaggeration about the accent, bad pronunciation etc I wasn’t quite sure if I should laugh or wince and hide LOL.

    • Yeah, the pronunciation was pretty awful. I would have thought they’d have gotten Texel right, since they were actually there and speaking to people about the place. Weird that they never picked up on how to pronounce the place names. I can see not getting Schevening completely right, but I didn’t understand why they had so much trouble with the basic “sch” sound, since it’s much the same as “school” in English. Why say it in a way that is wrong in both Dutch and English?

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