Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sayonara Netherlands, And Thanks For All The Fish

So it has all worked out in the end. I have an apartment in Germany, and a colleague will in a few days drive a van to where I am staying in the Netherlands to move me and my belongings to the new place. I have a German bank account, work at a German company, go to German doctors, am insured via the German national system and pay only taxes to the German state. I'll only be Dutch as a formality, a trivial detail in my passport and other official registrations. With three years even that can change, with me switching to a German nationality. The hold which the Netherlands had over me has been broken.

It could be that I'm just over-thinking things here, but I think that matters are more complex than portrayed above. Questioning my feelings I have to admit that the thought that I'm now well and truly leaving the Netherlands to never live there again fills me with a mixture of relief, sadness, bitterness and homesickness. Of course I'm joyful that I will not have to risk my health and sanity to Dutch physicians, psychologists or politicians for that matter, but they merely represent the institute of the Netherlands. While I'm the first to admit that the average Dutch person has a lot of flaws and that the Netherlands could become a lot more relaxed, open and tolerant, I do absolutely not think that the Dutch are somehow bad people. Far from it.

While writing my autobiography I'm confronted sometimes for the first time in decades with memories and images of things I have experienced, seen and enjoyed in the part of the Netherlands where I was born and grew up. Of course I know that the way I was treated by the Dutch medical community wasn't solely to blame for that changing, as they weren't involved in my father cheating on my mother, resulting in the divorce and endless moving around the country. Yet I am aware deep inside that if I had received immediate and proper medical help in 2005 or even sooner, things would have ended up completely differently from this. In that sense I am forced to leave the country, while otherwise I would likely have stayed.

Of course I'll miss many things and I'm not sure I'll ever feel at home in this world. Maybe that explains this bitter feeling. Me, fighting and losing against the giant that is the Dutch medical system. Being crushed and tossed aside no matter how many Dutch and German judges and physicians backed me up. I never stood a chance. It's just unfair that things had to go like this.

I'm leaving the Netherlands because I am not allowed to exist there. All the truths about me as a person are actively being denied there. And I don't know why. Nobody has ever explained to me why it was necessary for Dutch physicians to treat me like this, and for psychologists to join the lynching. I feel angry and frustrated just thinking about this. The nine years they have stolen from me and the many deep emotional scars they have left me with.

I can not just cast off the Netherlands like that. Not as a whole. The problem is not the country. Just some people in it, yet that's enough, because they are Important People, and I'm just a lowly citizen. It hurts to realize that the country I never wanted to leave to begin with is where I can never return again. Not after everything which has happened. Not while the system as-is remains intact.

Hopefully that writing this autobiography and having it published in the Netherlands and maybe internationally will help me put things in order for myself emotionally at least. While I do not think that the Netherlands will change any time soon, I do really hope that my experiences and the sharing of it with a world-wide audience will do some good.

That Germany may truly become my new home.


1 comment:

MyHowTo said...

It's terrible that you have to leave your homeland in order to be who you are. It's almost like saying you can't be there because your eyes are the wrong color. It sounds like Germany is a welcoming, progressive country though, and I'm sure you will have a very happy future there. And if you ever find yourself feeling homesick, you are close enough to make a weekend trip back. Have a safe trip Maya. You have many wonderful times ahead of you.