Slice of Life

I was writing a reply today to an email from old friends who had recently emigrated to Canada. In it I wrote that, having arrived here in the Netherlands 27 years ago, and in spite of having dual Dutch and British nationalities, that I nevertheless expected to die here, and not return to the UK.

One of the reasons is that, despite my disappointment in the rise of Geert Wilders and his Christian xenophobia, there remains in Dutch society a residue of the tolerance and openness that attracted me here in the first place.

On this New Year’s Eve, for example, the main entertainment programme on TV was presented by Paul de Leeuw, an out, and married, gay man (and who always strikes me as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”). His guests were the Dutch equivalent of the Speaker of the British House of Commons, a cocaine-using Dutch Olympic gymnast (wearing a very tight T-shirt that displayed his body and arms to their best) and twins who are the oldest working prostitutes in the Netherlands. Somehow, I can’t imagine the equivalent happening in dear old Blighty…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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