Did you know the religion of islam has been in the Netherlands for centuries? Read this LDO Blog Ramadaan 2022 Special about islam in the Netherlands to learn more. Especially if you’re islamic yourself, this is essential for you!
There’s historical evidence that Willem van Oranje considered converting to islam, albeit for trading purposes. The rise of right-wing, plain racist political parties in Holland has provided ground for a rewriting of Dutch history. Hence, these real historical facts about our little country get twisted. Alot.
Absolutely ironic is that both extreme right-wing leaders Geert Wilders and Baudet both visibly have Indonesian roots! Wilders is the leader of the notorious PVV party, Baudet runs the so called ‘Forum of Democracy’. Indonesia was colonized for quite some centuries by Holland, but remains the biggest islamic country regardless till this date.
Most of the countries the old Dutch colonized had a significant Muslim population.
There were parts of Indonesia the Dutch of that time couldn’t ‘conquer’ and eventually they – quite literally – got kicked out. Yes, at LDO we definitely like to keep our blog as real as our lessons. And we actually studied Dutch history at the best schools and universities in the Netherlands. So we are not feeding you any nonsense!
The truth is the Netherlands is in the process of healing and acknowledging our brutal colonial history. Slavery, theft of resources – we’ve done it all. Unfortunately, these are not topics you’ll learn about on your inburgering. Heck – we didn’t even learn about them at school here! Yet they are a crucial part of Dutch history, identity and culture. With traces all around us in Holland. In their colonizing, the old Dutch interacted with Muslims from Indonesia, India and China for example.
Thats why you can find beautiful people with roots from these countries anywhere the Dutch did their dirty business nowadays. Including the Netherlands itself.
Mosques were built for islamic people that came to study in the Netherlands; literature and art, by and about this fusion of people, faiths and cultures, were created and published. Many authors and actors still active today have roots in what was then called ‘Nederlands-Indië’ (= the Dutch Indies). Some of these writers you should definitely check out are Marion Bloem, Hella Haasse and Adriaan van Dis.
Another hidden fact of Dutch/European history is that men from the colonies were selected to fight both WWI and WWII. Yet none of these soldiers got the respect they deserved. Most of these soldiers were Muslims, Hindus and Siks. Black, brown, yellow and even red. The other people, those that weren’t able to fight Europe’s wars, were in the colonies, making weapons and bombs. Or running the factories that provided fuel and oil for the tanks and planes.
Did you know the first mosque in the Netherlands was built by an Indian man? The first translation of the Quraan (the holy book in islam) also was from a guy with Indian roots. These are historical facts you unfortunately won’t hear or read that fast anywhere else. And that is just part of the problem of racism in Holland. Only now we have a national coördinator whose sole purpose is to diminish racism and discrimination in the Netherlands. A guy that has roots in one of Holland’s previous colonies as well!
In Medieval times, Europeans learnt science and culture from Muslims. Knights married Muslim princesses. And Christian monks in France and the Netherlands spoke Arabic!
Some of those monks (and their dukes!) even considered converting to islam, seeing all the corruption from ‘true believers’ around them. The latest film depiction of Robin Hood isn’t that far fetched at all, therefore. Archery is still not a typical western sport. Yet, it has been part of islamic, Asian and orginal native American cultures for thousands of years. The colour of green, as well as the dress with the cap and a strong drive to right what’s wrong can also be found in islam. Giving to the poor especially is still a visible islamic value, carried out by British muslims like not others. If the legendary king of Sicily most probably was Muslim, who’s to say Robin Hood wasn’t?
But interaction with muslims and islam started way before this. When the whole of Europe was in its Dark Ages, things were getting out of control. There was little civilization here, which sparked a political and economical need, by the Pope at that time himself. It became clear that Africa and Muslims there and almost everywhere were not in any Dark Ages at all. They were wealthy, cultivated, educated and open-minded. They already traveled most of the world already, and had done business almost everywhere.
Did you know even the words alcohol, algebra and alchemy are from Arabic? In Dutch: alcohol, algebra and alchemie!
According to historians, the peak of European culture was Islamic Spain in fact. Yes – Spain and her culture are heavily, essentialy influenced by 700 (!) years of magical islamic and Arab dominance. While cities like London were poor and mostly rotten, jews, muslims, christians and others lived peacefully in Spain. Lanterns were burning on the streets in Seville and Cordoba. Bathing houses were all around and culture and civilization were the standard and not an anomaly in Islamic Spain.
About Islam in the Netherlands: on Vikings and Arabs
Lots of white Dutchies pride themselves on their ‘Viking’ heritage. Strong, big and free. That’s what everyone would like to be of course. But did you know there were Muslims among the Vikings as well?
So there’s no need to hide your name or stop fasting Ramadan anymore. Or to remove your hijab. True Dutchies – like we at LearnDutchOnline.nl – know the truth and are welcoming to everyone, without (hidden) conditions. That’s the Netherlands we stand for. We’re from Amsterdam after all!
Enjoyed reading this LDO Blog post? Why won’t you read a little more, about The 5 Most Popular Dutch Christmas Gifts?
Sources: ‘the House of Wisdom’, by professor Jonathan Lyons, ISBN 9781408801215.