Last Tuesday, the King of The Netherlands held the annual Prinsjesdag speech inaugurating the new parliamentary year and outlining the main plans of the government for the coming 12 months. I have written a short additional address to bring our government’s message directly to you as Italian arrivals in a clear and to the point way – that’s how we (the Dutch) roll. So, on behalf of the government and with the voice of the King, here goes.

“To the Italian residents in our country. Our economy is doing better again. This will allow us to continue denying any structural faults exist and will mean a redoubled effort to criticize certain other Eurozone countries including yours. But don’t get too comfortable. In our country there are ever more existential threats that concern everyone living here. Rude and loutish behaviour and terrorists are threatening our way of life.

You, like any Western European, have been trained in a world view of personal freedom. This is where you draw your strength from, instead of calling for collective action. And We applaud you for it because this, and not the language, is what primarily will allow you to integrate successfully into Dutch society.

This government also recognizes there can sometimes be a disconnect between theory and practice of this, our liberal individualism. We understand you might sometimes face a reality in your own life that can be punishing to your hopes and desires of personal sovereignty, the idea that a strongly branded ‘io,’ as you would say, can always get exactly what it wants and needs. How many of you didn’t at some level come here to escape economic realities in Italy? Still, as you will of course understand, there is absolutely no space for paranoid rebelliousness in The Netherlands. We would therefore like to return to our starting message and advise you to be content with and grateful for the material well-being that this country provides you.”

About the Author
Mathijs van Dijk lives as a Dutchman in Brussels where he currently writes and teaches Dutch. From this Belgian home with his Italian girlfriend and two cats, he keeps tabs on Dutch goings-on and continues to learn every day about Italy.