Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska: Dear Dutch people!

Mark Rutte is the prime minister of everyone in the Netherlands and has a duty to defend citizens who were born elsewhere against the PVV smear campaign, writes Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska.

I am sorry to disturb you, but I do hope you won’t think I am being a nuisance by publishing this article.
After all, there is a lot trouble already being caused by Poles – drinking at overcrowded holiday parks and campsites. There are real problems, and it would be pointless to deny them. If a temporary employment agency buys a building in my neighbourhood to accommodate its employees who make noise and do not know how to behave, I would not be happy either.
The problem is that these local difficulties are not being solved. People talk about the problems that arise and let everything run its course without tackling the root causes. So it is not strange that we are witnessing an escalation of emotions. It starts at local level and then gathers pace through the media, then statements by certain politicians elevate the issue to the national level. Meanwhile, a majority of the Dutch people think negatively about “the Poles” , as evidenced by a recent survey by Motivaction. *)
Poles are increasingly in the population at large’s bad books. They are denied entrance to clubs and discos, they are not allowed to rent certain properties. A glass wall is being erected between the Dutch and the Poles in The Netherlands. This also impacts Poles who have lived here a long time and are well-integrated.
A Polish woman told me recently she had been chased by a man in Uithoorn. Last autumn, he slapped her in the face, he continually comes round to her home. Her home was burgled and her car tyres punctured. The police asked her to find out the address of this man herself. She no longer feels safe.
Many Poles are afraid to speak their mother language in public, for fear of negative reactions. That happened to me recently – for the first time in the 31 years I have lived in the Netherlands. Last year, having lunch with a Polish friend in the café in castle De Haar (Haarzuilens), the waitress suspected us of stealing a café macchiato-spoon. Prejudices are spreading rapidly.
The anti-migrant virus has already spread throughout large sections of the Dutch population. Even children are infected. Another Polish woman told me that she was recently insulted by a an eight-year-old boy (!) in a playground in Amsterdam. That boy shouted at her: “You shit!” Why? Because she spoke Polish with her son. She asked the child’s mother about the incident. The Dutch woman said it was her own fault, that she should speak Dutch. And then went on to say her child was right, Poles are stealing jobs.
Is that the society we want to live in? Prime Minister Mark Rutte has refused to give his opinion about the PVV’s website. I call on him not to allow local nuisances become national issues and to stop this smear campaign against entire groups. That is playing with fire.
Mark Rutte, you are the Prime Minister of this country, including Dutch people who were born elsewhere. And you have a duty of care for all those non-Dutch citizens who by their labour or otherwise are a benefit to Dutch society. I count on you.

Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska is editor-in-chief of, the website of the Polish community in the Netherlands. She was born in Gdansk (Poland) and has lived in the Netherlands since 1980.

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