CLMN | Living in a Box

CLMN | Living in a Box

3 April 2017

When I moved to the Netherlands, I was really looking forward to freedom from my parents, a new culture and bad weather. What I didn’t expect, was to be put in a box.

I live in a nice student residence in Strijp‐S. But, up until last year some of my fellow international students weren’t so lucky. They were living in these concrete boxes on the side of the campus’ cycling lanes. Luckily for them, they moved on to better, bigger and less exposed places. I just find it so poetic that Dutch people are living in their own boxes. The only difference is that these boxes can’t be bulldozed as easily.

When I got here, my Dutch friends put me in a box. Not a physical one. No need to call the police. It was more of a mental one where they classified me as a ‘university friend’. And that was that, I was a friend for the weekdays. On the weekends, they would visit their other boxes and their other friends and reverse the same process on Monday mornings. They leave boxes full of people everywhere they go, and aside from students’ house parties when they need people to fill it up, the boxes stay separate.

Last month, when the ‘America first but the Netherlands second’ video came out, I could only think of the wall building that the Dutch, like Americans, do in their lives. I sound so critical right? It does get better though, once they get to know you a bit better, they might mention their other boxes and recently I’ve been introduced to a couple more. I just didn’t expect it would take that long.

So to all the Dutch people reading this article: build bridges, not walls or boxes.




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