Am I Where I Am From?

In our company it’s not unusual if you’re not French. The other obvious nationality being British, because that is, well, simply, the way it is. And so, a lot of my colleagues thought I was a Brit. By the quality of my French one can quickly assume that I am in any case not French, so, the general thought seemed to be, he must be English. And actually, people are quite suprised when I tell them I am Dutch.

To be honest, I don’t really care if people think me British, or Spanish, Italian, German or Belgian. But it made me think. Does this come from a lack of pride of my nationality, my country? I don’t go and introduce myself by saying, ‘I am dutch and my name is…’ I keep things simple and use my first name, mostly. That is what represents who I am. The rest, well, is bullocks. I strongly feel that where you are from is part of who you are, but it is never all that you are. And my ancestral lines from both sides arrived in Netherlands one and in the other case not much more than 4 generations before me. And yes, these backgrounds have partially formed me. But the do not make me more Dutch, French or Indonesian than I am.

Right now I consider myself mostly European. I have that old world culture engraved in my being. This means for me also that I feel at home in most European countries. And maybe if I could chose, I would have European as nationality. But that also wouldn’t change who I am. It would be an sign of who I am, but not a determining factor. I still wouldn’t introduce myself other than ‘hello, nice to meet you, I am…’

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