Looking Back On The Past :
Exploring Where I Am From
This photo shows where Netherlands in located on a map (Brite)
I was born in Canada and for my whole life I have lived here in Orangeville with my family. Although this is not the same for my parents and grandparents who were born and grew up in Holland (Netherlands). In this blog I will explore the push and pull factors as to why they came to Canada, and well as what life is like back in Netherlands. I have found this information out through conducting an interview with my grandma and as well doing research on the internet.
My grandparents are both around 80 years old and lived in Netherlands during the First and Second World Wars. For most of their young adult lives they lived through these brutal wars. My grandma described being in “a constant fear for her life” (Mckeown, Smits). She said she could, "be killed by a land mine just while walking into town” (Mckeown, Smits). Her house had a bomb shelter and she said that she can, “remember the long nights she was crowded in the small shelter with her family” (Mckeown, Smits). She also described how her family was living off rations and how much she got “sick of eating brown beans every meal” (Mckeown, Smits). Much of this is the same for my grandpas life in Netherlands during the First and Second World Wars. After the wars my grandparents met and had three kids. Although my grandparents were still living in fear due to the start of the cold war. Tensions were high between the Soviet Union and the United States and there was a threat of nuclear war. They did not know what would happen and they feared there would be a third world war. They did not want their kids to live in fear the way they did so they decided they wanted to move. My grandpa had a brother who had moved to Canada about ten years back. He owned a trucking company and was very successful. He convinced my grandparents that Canada was a good place to live. It was a promising country and my grandparents though it would be safe country to raise kids in. They packed up everything and immigrated here on a plane on May 15 1969.
This a photo if my grandma's Canadian Immigration Identity Card (Mckeown, Smits).
They moved into a house in Orangeville and have been living there ever since.
This is a photo of my grandparents, my mom and her two brothers (Mckeown, Smits).
Although moving was not easy on them. They had to leave behind everything that was familiar to them. This includes all their relatives and family. Everything was foreign to them, the people the culture and the food. It was difficult at the start to adjust; meet people and find a job. Canada was mostly an English speaking country and my grandparents and their kids spoke solely Dutch. Luckily my mom and her two brother picked up English pretty quickly and were able to teach it to my grandparents after a couple of years. The first few years were rough on my grandparent and they considered moving back to the Netherlands, but they battled through it and eventually adjusted to their new life in Canada.
If they were to have stayed in Netherlands their lives would be a lot different and I would have been growing up there right now. Life in the Netherlands is relatively the same as life here in Canada other than a few minor differences.
Many human rights are written in The Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Chapter 1 of the Dutch Constitution states that all persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. The Dutch laws also protect LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people from discrimination and violence. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2001.This is similar to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution that states that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.
Netherlands has a good healthcare system. All hospitals are privately run and are for non profit. Health spending accounted for 11.8% of GDP in the Netherlands in 2012, making it second only to the United States which spent 16.9% of its GDP on health in 2012. Life expectancy at birth in the Netherlands is 81.2 years, one year higher than the average among developed countries of 80.2 years.
As far as education in the Netherlands is slightly different than the education system in Canada. Education is oriented toward the needs and background of the student. In elementary school all the students learn the same; to read write and do armistices. At the end of elementary school they take a test called the Cito test. From the results of this test along with the advice from their elementary school teacher advice determines what level of education the receive in secondary school. For example if they are not very smart at the maths or sciences they will be put in an education system that focus on their other skills such as the trades. While the students who are bright enter a system with the other students at their same academic level. Although this is not permanent and students can move up a level of education or get demoted if they find the workload too much.
Therefor the students is trade schools will be ready in that area and will likely get a job in the trades such as a construction worker. Whereas the students in the high level programs will get jobs like an engineer or chemist. The same sort jobs exist in the Netherlands as Canada, although the people are groomed their whole education life to the job that is suited for them. Even the unemployment rate is the same in Netherlands as Canada in 2015 at 6.9% according to CIA World Factbook.
To conclude, the Netherlands have similar rights and freedoms, healthcare, education and employment as Canada. If my grandparent hadn't moved to Canada because of the threat of another world war I would be living a different life and I am glad they made the decision to immigrate to Canada.
Smits, Astrid. Personal interview. 25 May 2016.
"The World Factbook: Netherlands." Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 2016. Web. 30 May 2016.
"Human Rights in the Netherlands." Information from the Government of The Netherlands. Web. 30 May 2016.
"2010 Human Rights Report: Netherlands." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 2011. Web. 30 May 2016.
"Netherlands." Freedom House |. Web. 30 May 2016.
"Basic Statistics of the Netherlands, 2012." OECD Economic Surveys: Netherlands OECD Economic Surveys: Netherlands 2014 (2014): 7. Web.
"Netherlands Map - Blank Political Netherlands Map with Cities." Netherlands Map - Blank Political Netherlands Map with Cities. Web. 30 May 2016.