Saturday 13 August 2022

Irish Amsterdammers puzzled by EU election letter in Gaelic

More than 1,000 Irish residents of Amsterdam have received letters written in impeccable Irish – asking them if they would like to vote in the European elections in May, the Irish Times reports.

The letters, on Amsterdam city council paper, explain that as EU citizens the recipients can vote in the Netherlands for Dutch MEPs or in their home countries.

City hall spokeswoman Jutta Ravelli told the paper the letters had ‘prompted quite a few calls from Irish people’.

‘Most were delighted they had been translated into Irish, but they also wanted to know if we had an English version – because they couldn’t understand a word of them,’ she said.


Journalist Cormac Mac Ruairi told he had been raised speaking Gaelic and was delighted to get the letter to brush up his language skills.

‘My Gaelic has gotten so bad that I frequently use words like ‘nee’ and ‘misschien’ during interviews with the national Irish language radio station,’ he said. ‘I immediately took a picture of the letter and put on Facebook, and received lots of likes and responses from other Irish people who had received the same letter.’

Letters other languages were also sent to thousands of EU citizens in the capital earlier this month, reminding them of their right to vote either in the Netherlands or back home.

However, many of them were sent out by mistake to people who are already registered to vote in Amsterdam.

‘I got a letter a week or so later to say I had been sent the letter by mistake as I already had the right to vote for Dutch candidates,’ Mac Ruairi said. ‘And even sadder…the second letter was in Dutch and ended by saying I should consider the first letter as never having being sent.’

Did you get a letter in your own language? Do let us know.


Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.