I wrote an article for Litro in the UK detailing this year’s Zwarte Piet debate and why the Dutch reputation for tolerance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, in which I also briefly touch on what it means to be of Dutch-Indonesian descent in the Netherlands.
How is it possible that a country that is generally known as liberal and tolerant, and among the first countries in the world to legalise everything from gay marriage, cannabis and euthanasia, has responded so violently against a character that is evidently racist?
Ironically, the motive appears to be that very same tolerance the Dutch are famous for. It is important to understand that Dutch tolerance is rooted in financial gain. Always one to spot a good opportunity, the nation first became ‘tolerant’ when it allowed people who were not allowed to trade in other countries due to their religious beliefs to trade here.