Netherlands: Food and a 'we-culture'

Muslims have enriched the Netherlands with food, clothing and a 'we' feeling, says Minister of Integration Vogelaar. The thrill of life is the development of culture, says Vogelaar in an interview with De Pers.

When asked how Muslim immigrants have enriched Dutch culture, Vogelaar answered: 'Food. Just as Indian Dutch brought here the Chinese-Indian cuisine. And the first foeign workers, from Spain and Italy. And that is also intensified through going to those lands on vacation, the world has become bigger for everybody. You see it in music, in youth culture, in clothing. In Arab countries it's very common to wear pants with a dress over it. If you now look at the street scene of youth here, you'll often see jeans with a dress over it.'

Vogelaar also welcomes the 'we-culture' of immigrants. "I don't know if it has to do with Islam.. I think it has more to do with the culture from those countires, that are more 'we-cultures'. In the Netherlands in the past twenty, thirty years, through individualizing, there arose a much more 'I-culture'. There's wholly nothing wrong if we had a bit more we-culture. There are naturally two sides to it. If you look at the I-culture, there's a share of liberation in it, social relations can be pressing. It would be a nice combination: the individualism of Western society and something of the feeling of responsiblity for each other of the we-culture. An interesting experiment."

Source: De Pers (Dutch)

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