When I left for the UK, I wanted to break free from the small country in which I was born. Ironically enough in the ten years to come, I would become more attached to my nationality. Perhaps because I see the past through rose tinted spectacles, perhaps because being on foreign grounds leads you to appreciate your roots. Who knows.
“If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” is a tongue in cheek slogan that has been used by my very cool sister and I. Awareness of one’s nationality is so subtle, so inexplicable until you feel it.
I felt it when two weeks ago The Ice skating Tour of Tours “De Elfstedentocht” (Eleven city tour, which is a tour that leads overfrozen streams past eleven cities – quelle surprise.) was hyped and then cancelled because the thaw set in. The last tour was 15 years ago and I’m sure the whole country felt disappointed.
I felt it today. It was just announced that one of the Dutch princes, Friso, who got hit by an avalanche on the Royal Family’s annual skiing trip last week, might not wake up from his coma. If he does, he will need years to recover. He’s a complete stranger of course, still there is an inexplicable sadness for his mother, the Queen, his wife and small children.
It’s another small drama really but perhaps one that is quietly felt by 16 million people.