Friday, March 17, 2006

Immigration Control - Dutch style

Hey, the horse is way out of the barn, but at least they are trying.
Is it wet or dry in the Netherlands? One of the hundred questions in the exam for migrants from outside the European Union who want to settle in the Netherlands. From now on the exam is obligatory. Newcomers have to report to the Netherlands embassy in their home country where they take the test using voice recognition computer software. If you fail, you don't get a temporary residence permit. A number of journalists from the Dutch, English, Indonesian and Spanish departments of Radio Netherlands had a go.

What is a typical feature of Dutch traffic? "Bumper-hugging," grins one of the Indonesian journalists. "No, the answer is bicycles of course," her Dutch colleague responds.

The questions are about the Dutch language, geography, history, healthcare, the political system, relations between men and women and homosexuality. Is hitting women permitted or an offence?
Depends.....oh, and some people are already trying to upset their Belgian maybe-neighbors
What is the most important law in the Netherlands? "I've no idea," sighs a journalist from Costa Rica. He checks with a colleague from the English department. "The constitution?" she wonders. "When I arrived in this country all I knew about Holland was cheese and smurfs," adds the Spanish candidate jokingly, "You know, those little blue men". He thinks would-be immigrants will find the questions pretty tough.
Don't tell Michael! He is very protective of the Belgian-ness of his "Little Blue People."

And, the video is quite cheeky, (BTW, if anyone has I copy of it, email it please).
The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal Dutch culture.

If they can't stomach it, no need to apply.
No word on the wooden shoe requirement.

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