It has been quite some time since my last blog. Followers, fans and friends on Facebook have had the opportunity to keep up with what has been happening in my life in the Lowlands. However events of the last week drove me to put finger to keyboard and provide an update of events.
As many of you will know I have been struggling to learn Dutch, master the guttural tones of the “g”, known which verbs to separate and when, learn my ‘de’ from ‘het’ and which conjugation of the verb to use when. I have tried lunchtime lessons at work, evening classes at the University of Amsterdam, a week with nuns (no divine help was forthcoming) and private lessons with saint Nancy. At the same time I needed to learn about living with the Dutch and becoming a suitable member of the community. And all this before 2014.
Well, last Friday I sat for the Kortevrijstellingtoets (KVT) exam. This is a short form test of the above done via computer. The advantage of this test is that once passed that is all that is need to demonstrate that ik kan met Nederlanders wonen (I can live out the Dutch). The test comprises about 30 questions in 45min on Dutch life, culture, norms and applying for subsidies and grants. We follow the lives of Mohammed, Sarah and their children as they search for work, houses, apply for schools, converse with the neighbours, consider babies and of course have bicycles stolen – an all too common yet normal event in Amsterdam.
To give you a flavour of the exam below are a few questions and the answer options.
Mo sees to neighbours fighting outside. What does he do?
- call police
- get 2 strong friends and try break it up
- intervene himself
What does kraamhulp (home help after having a baby) do when they visit in the first week of having a new baby?
Why May 5 (Liberation Day) is celebrated?
- Nederlanders never want to forgive Germany for what they did
- Nederlanders give more importance to the freedom (I chose this)
- Nederlanders want to have a free day.
So what are the implications of not passing this exam? Well you only get one chance at achieving the required 75% pass mark. If you fail you need to sit through a combination of speaking, reading and written test plus the integration exam. These are however at an easier level of Dutch but much more time consuming.
So what was the outcome? Ik ben geslaagd, I passed. This means that I can now apply for Dutch citizenship and passport. I can finally become a legitimate citizen of the world…well Europe and a pacific Island at least.
For a little but of fun and an explanation about the land I call home enjoy this clip that explains the difference between The Netherlands, Holland and Dutch!