Wednesday , February 21 2024

Opinion: Dutch, but not much


Letter removed on request of the author.

Opinion: A bit differently
Opinion: Financial compensation for the sufferings Caribbean ancestors


  1. Incredible and yet, not so surprising. Thank you Ms. Simmons for sharing your experience and giving us a proper example of how the new status of the BES islands translates when one of its inhabitants move to The Netherlands.

    I can only imagine how difficult it must be for young students, leaving home for the first time and just learning their way around the world and having to deal with bureaucratic red-tape that in most countries is normally reserved for foreigners. Then again, despite passports and royal decrees, people of the BES islands should realize they are nonetheless seen as such.

  2. Is this something to share with mr. Plasterk during the Royal visit to Saba on November 14?

  3. Get over yourself. It is always a pain in the ass if you move to another country. People provide you with the wrong info, they act like they dont want to help you, nobody has answers ready for you……… I moved 5 times. It took me 5 months to get registered in Bonaire and still I am not registred at the tax office, i am for some reason not in the system… Please dont make this an Antillean Burden kind of story. People from the Netherlands moving to the islands have the same experience here. Wait till you move back and the tax office (belastingdienst) will continue to annoy you. This is just the start, so be patient and double check everything.

  4. Have you ever tried to move back?
    No worries – just prepare yourself; it’s at least the same bureaucratic story – it just takes longer.

  5. René Caderius van Veen

    Hi Stacey,
    Complaining about immigration procedures is your good right, but you may have seen by some comments that those procedures are difficult everywhere. Also the IND and the Census office on Saba bring people into despair and almost always. Although I recognize your feelings because you think that with a Dutch passport it should be easy because I had worse problems settling here on Saba (and almost all people who came here whether with a Dutch or a Canadian passport etc. than you had.)
    What I did not like is that you translated your experiences as if you were a second class Dutch citizen. That is so enforcing all prejudices and creating hatred against the Dutch and the Dutch government while that is in fact unfair.
    The fact that you got that phonecall with your number before the 3 weeks were over would have been completely impossible here on Saba.
    So that is in fact more a compliment for the civil servants over there instead of something negative.
    As a whole almost nobody has negative intentions neither the civil servants on Saba nor in the Netherlands nor elsewhere.
    I had in mind to write also a comment also with background information about the huge difficulties that immigrants have here. I know quite a lot about those problems because I assisted several people not only from the Netherlands but also from Cuba, Chile, Canada and the USA. In many cases it appeared that civil servants do not have a good overview from the whole process and just give you information about the next step (and sometimes even wrong info) and definitely not about all the steps to be taken afterwards with all related consequences.
    But believe me, in principle this is an international problem. Just in some exceptional cases (studying or having accepted a job abroad) that part of the responsibilities is more simple or has been dealt with by the new employer.
    And for the BES islands it is a problem because they have chosen for the status of “Public entity” instead of for becoming a municipality. That is why many many processes still are as if people from the islands are living abroad and why we are obliged to deal with Immigration services and procedures.
    Good of you to have asked to withdraw your article at least from SabaNews. Maybe that you understood that you had made a mistake? I actually wish you had done the same with the Daily Herald in time, for now even a critical but correct reaction has been removed on request. After all it was your own responsibility to have this in public.
    Best regards,

  6. What Stacey wrote is an actual account of what took place. Take of it what you will, but it happened and I’ve also had my fair share of bureaucratic nightmares with Dutch administrations. If people don’t bring these issues to light, then there are no grounds for responsible change to occur. As well, I wouldn’t judge a retraction of the article from the website as a retraction of one’s opinion.
    Secondly, and I can attest to this, Antilleans are treated like second class citizens in The Netherlands. Discrimination is real, and the Netherlands is not in some sort of moral or privileged position of immunity. I don’t think I need say more than the Bosman proposal and Gate C at Schipol.

  7. For those of you that would like to read the letter from Mrs. Simmons in the Daily Herald, you can find the link here:
    No comment.

  8. Rene, your posts miss the point. BES island residents have Dutch passports and are supposed to be considered Dutch, or at the very least “Dutch Caribbean”. In any case, they should all be assigned BSN numbers as such. That is the root of Stacey’s post. They have not been assigned these numbers, so as a result when BES islanders travel to the continental Netherlands to live, seek work, rent an apartment, open a bank account, etc, they cannot since they don’t have this magical number and have to wait for it *like an immigrant*. BES islanders are not supposed to be considered or treated like immigrants, yet the lack of this very number helps perpetuate this and notions of being treated like a 2nd class citizen in their own country. I’m sure that the adoption and use of BSN numbers in the BES islands would make the lives of continental Dutch people moving to the BES islands easier as well.

  9. I agree that also coming from Holland to Saba it may require several months to get settled. In my case, arriving just around 10-10-10, it was almost half a year. But the story Stacey describes of course is a shameful illustration of our overregulated country.
    Whoever comes to Holland and is experiencing troubles like these, possibly also being not able to communicate fluently with civil servants, can contact me. Perhaps I can give a hand, or show the ways how to operate (or swear at someone). Mail me at

  10. I had to go to the Daily Herald to read Stacey’s story but I must say good for her voicing her opinion! In most cases we Caribbean people are afraid to open our mouths. She did not go there to be on welfare she went to make a life for herself and contribute her part. It is ridiculous that she could not just go there and start working within a week or 2 to the most.
    It is strange to read some remarks from Dutch citizens comparing the bureaucracy on Bonaire and Saba to Holland. You would think that Holland should be better now wouldn’t you?The mistake that Stacey made is generalizing her bad experience to the country as a whole and this is not fair to the millions of Dutch people who are not civil servants and have to put up with that same crap also. Good luck Stacey!

  11. So is the Netherlands still part of the EU?

    As a British national who worked in the Netherlands for 3 years I never encountered any such problem.

    I have known Ms. Simmons for 5 years in passing, the quality of her creations and her artistic integrity is without doubt (I feel I am qualified to have an opinion on this, as unlike others, art is my living not just a sea shell/drift wood hobby).

    I have witnessed Ms. Simmons teaching methods at the SCS and she is without doubt an inspirational character & tutor. That which, by the outlined response that Ms. Simmons received… I can only presume the Netherlands cares not for.

    Rembrandt would have drowned himself in the divide in Leiden back then or may rise from the grave to paint a “Day Watch” to support those with freedom of thought (which to be fair folks… from what’s landed ashore here recently seems to be the outcast minority, with the odd welcome exception that floats this way) with an original idea and, ergo: regarded as “dangerous to” or a risk to the “mental health” of all the civil servants they’re in the process of ovulating (That explains the reactive phone call RCV2).

    Best of luck Stacey, someone with your talent doesn’t need fortune, I’m sure it has given you an incredible idea for a composition.

  12. Finally, a voice of wisdom out of the wilderness.