Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Almost Dutch - Winter Olympics Pride

Photo Credit: Thera
Sometimes a realisation blind sides me. An unexpected event can arouse surprising emotions; I suddenly consciously realise what an attachment I have for my adopted country. I am suddenly fully aware of how much I love where I live and how proud I am to be able to even pretend play at being Dutch. I have a sense of national pride for a country I wasn't born in.

Such a feeling struck me over the weekend. Watching three Dutch flags rising simultaneously on Saturday to the rousing sounds of Het Wilhelmus left me feeling fiercely proud.

I'm not Dutch but I guess I'm as close to being Dutch as I can be without actually surrendering my British citizenship (never gonna happen). And watching three successful sportsmen so joyfully perched on an Olympic podium makes me realise how close to feeling Dutch I am, and how I love where I ended up living, even if it wasn't ever part of the plan.

It's not the first time a sporting achievement has left me with a hint of a tear in my eyes or made me feel sentimental about my adopted homeland. The last time was in 2010 when the Dutch football team did the country proud by reaching the World Cup. I was so surprised about how pained losing made me feel that I wrote about my experience for The Telegraph.

This time around the all orange medal podium was the cause of my sentimental attachment to the Netherlands, courtesy of the winners of the 5000m speed skating event. Sven Kramers brings the gold back to his home country, whilst countryman Jan Blokhuijsen won the silver medal and Jorrit Bergsma the bronze. An impressive sight - three Dutchmen together on an Olympic podium. Made even more impressive by the fact that it was their own king who presented them with their medals. A proud moment for the Dutch indeed.

And it won't be the last time we see such a sight. Yesterday the gold, silver and bronze medals for the 500m men's speed skating were won by....wait for it... three Dutch men: Michel Mulder, Jan Smeekens and Ronald Mulder.

Another proud moment to come then. Even for this adopted Brit who has made the Netherlands her home.


  1. Thank you for this post. It made me feel we must be doing something right if we can make a foreigner feel proud of our (and that is an inclusive 'our') country.

  2. Ilja - thank you! Your comment made me smile!!