Second Bachelor Research Award
Integrating into a Non-Existent Country. If you want to know about the status of our current identity politics, opening an integration textbook would be enough. Stereotypes and stigmatising images dominate integration education for years. Our integration education is pretty old-fashioned if you look at the mock exams. What is the use of knowing how to transfer the rent by an acceptance giro to the nowadays bankrupt Fortis Bank? And although the responsible ministries are aware of the state of affairs, they don't take steps to replace the outdated photos and videos.
The meaning of integration, according to Van Dale is 'forming one whole with something or becoming a part of a greater whole.' Although it seems more likely that the present integration course design aims to keep newcomers at a distance, deter and confuse them.
It is fundamentally wrong that we allow residence permits to depend on examinations that test questionable norms and values. Let us work towards large-scale buddy systems and practical assignments. Less ideology and more practical thinking. You do not gain the knowledge of Dutch society from books. But by seeing and doing. I am for integration, but against integration into a country that no longer exists.
Integrating in a Non-Existent Country
The pictures left are images from current integration books. The pictures right are how I want them to be.
Photos and videos from the ‘inburgeringscursus’ (Dutch integration course) have not been updated since 1970. Because stereotyping and stigmatising images are never revised we let newcomers integrate into a country that does not exist.
I believe that every system should be open to change. That’s why I have collected progressive sounds from Dutch people who, like myself, think that integration should be done ‘anders’ (differently).
The project 'Nederl-anders' is a publication from my research results and a photo expedition with members of the parliament. By giving politicians a camera I motivate the government to think practically about how civic integration can be done differently. The opinion has been influenced and photos and videos are now on the political agenda to be included in the next revision.